Don Hansen

Sun Devil Study Hall – Weber State

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Several days have passed since the Sun Devils defeated the Weber State Wildcats 45-14 to open the 2014 football season. Immediately following the game, there were mixed reviews:

Maybe Chris Karpman simply tweeted it best:

The Sun Devils won.

As some time has passed and the game is watched again in the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), here are some things that stood out:

  • The Sun Devils led 31-0 at the half before quarterback Taylor Kelly was removed from the game. Kelly went 18-27 for 238 yards and one touchdown. In seven offensive drives, Kelly led the Sun Devils to four touchdowns and one field goal. However, Kelly did over throw some wide receivers, and as Todd Graham stated several times, Kelly missed two wide open post routes down the middle.
  • DJ Foster and Jaelen Strong. Wow!
  • The Sun Devils started nine new defenders in their 2014 opener. Only Salamo Fiso and Damarious Randall started the 2013 Pac-12 Conference Title game against Stanford.
  • True Freshmen who made their first Sun Devil Appearance
    • Tashon Smallwood
    • DJ Calhoun
    • Christian Sam
    • Chad Adams
    • Demario Richard
    • Kalen Ballage
    • Armand Perry
    • Brendan Landman
  • Redshirt Freshmen who made their first Sun Devil Appearance
    • Chans Cox
    • James Johnson
    • Ellis Jefferson
    • Marcus Ball
    • Grant Martinez
    • Corey Smith
    • Jack Powers
    • Ronald Lewis
  • Even with so many new players getting time, the Sun Devils only committed four penalties.
    • Tashon Smallwood offsides
    • Solomon Means personal foul face mask (not Moeakiola as announced, found on DVR)
    • Corey Smith offsides
    • Jack Powers false start
  • Ballage, Chambers, and Jefferson all scored their first collegiate touchdowns.
  • Gary Chambers and Cameron Smith had a nice start to their season opposite Strong. Chambers had his first two career catches for 46 yards and his first career touchdown. Smith had a 13 yard reception and a nice 14 yard rush.
  • The Sun Devil defense only record two sacks and the Sun Devils failed to force a turnover. This stopped the streak of 29 consecutive games with a forced turnover.
  • Weber State averaged 22.0 yards per punt return and 19.0 yards per kickoff return. Numbers that are much too high for a Big Sky opponent.

So what did we learn from our time in Study Hall? Was the game “disappointing” or sloppy? Well, it depends on your expectations. This game was nowhere near the dominant victory of 2013 over Sacramento State, but this isn’t the 2013 Sun Devils.

The 2014 Sun Devils are NOT the 2013 Sun Devils.

The 2014 Sun Devils won a game they should have won. The offense was rusty at first, but the Sun Devils finished strong with a very vanilla playbook. The new defensive unit has a strong foundation to build upon, yet there are issues to be worked in practice. Sadly, special teams coverage still needs a lot of work.

Most importantly, the 2014 Sun Devils are moving on on to play at New Mexico.

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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