Don Hansen

Sun Devil Stats Notebook


The “Sun Devil Stats Notebook” is a new series that will look at some key statistics throughout the 2014 season. As the season progresses, more data will become available. With more data, deeper analysis and more conclusions will be produced. For now, the results of the first four games of 2014 are examined.




After the embarassing home loss to the UCLA Bruins, Arizona State dropped completely out of the AP Poll Top 25 and the Sun Devils remain in the Coaches Poll at 24. Interesting note that the Associated Press rewarded the Bruins with a greater ranking increase, three spots, than the coaches, who only only rose UCLA by one position.

Cumulative Team Stats


The Sun Devils were a consistent 60% rushing and 40% passing team on offense after each of the first three games of the season. However, the season results changed drastically after adding in the 105 offensive plays, including 69 passes from Mike Bercovici, as the offensive playing calling is now near 50/50.


The 69 passes from Bercovici went to 11 different Sun Devil receivers. The tight ends have started to get slightly more involved in the passing game, but they are still behind previous seasons. Recall that last season, 2013, tight ends caught 13% of the passes while two seasons ago, 2012, tight ends caught 22%.


The Sun Devil defensive line has slightly increased their tackles for loss by each game, 17% to 19% to 22%. However, the 2014 results are significantly behind the 2013 numbers. The 2013 defensive line, led by Will Sutton, Davon Coleman, and Gannon Conway, contributed 39% of the total defensive tackles for loss.

Week by Week Trending Metrics

The following line graphs will become more important during Pac-12 play as they compare how the Sun Devils offense and defense did in key categories from week to week. The one key take away from the charts below is that the Arizona State average yards per rush fell below 4.0 for the UCLA game. It is critical for offensive success that the average yards per rush is above 4.0, and dominant offensive teams are closer to 5.0 average yards per rush.  Another key takeaway is that the Sun Devil defense failed to get a takeaway against the Bruins.



Historical Trending Metrics



The defense, under head coach Todd Graham in his first two seasons at Arizona State, was very consistent in the tackles breakdown between the defense line (~20%), linebackers (~45%), and secondary (~35%). This was a new system to the Sun Devils defense as the majority of players were recruiting by former head coach Dennis Erickson.

However, a major shift has taken place in the distribution of tackles throughout the defense in 2014.


The 2014 defensive line has less tackles than the two previous seasons. So, more offensive players are getting in the second level of the Sun Devil defense. This results in the 2014 secondary having a higher percentage of tackles than the previous two seasons.

Against UCLA, the Sun Devils defense missed too many tackles and gave up too many explosive plays. The writing was on the walls that a major breakdown could happen as the Colorado Buffaloes were able to put up 545 yards of total offense, including 22 plays greater than ten yards, against the Sun Devils.  In order for the defense to return to its level the past two seasons, the defensive line must step up, hustle, and make tackles.

About Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don is a 2003 graduate of Arizona State University where he spent four years sitting in the front rows of many ASU athletic events leading the rowdy student section. Now, Don co-hosts the "ASU Devils Den" podcast covering every detail of ASU football. Don works and resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful Sun Devil wife and their two beautiful daughters!

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