They say everything’s bigger in Texas.
After watching the mistake-filled film from Saturday night’s 37-34 loss to Notre Dame (4-2), Arizona State likely will agree. The errors will certainly be magnified.
ASU (3-2, 1-1) was their own worst enemy on both sides of the ball most of the night.
Here’s five things we learned from the game.
1. There was no “luck of the Irish” at AT&T Stadium…the Sun Devils simply got whipped up front. Todd Graham compared Notre Dame’s front to Stanford earlier in the week. Not the fastest groups but physical and strong. Taylor Kelly was sacked six times while Tommy Rees was barely hit and never sacked. The Devils defensive front didn’t do their secondary many favors but both shoulder equal blame in the loss.
2. Damarious Randall was everywhere. The Mesa Community College transfer was in on 17 tackles (1.5 for loss). It’s easy to see why Graham and his staff are so high on the Pensacola, Florida native. Despite a strong all-around game at safety he did drop an easy interception on a horrible throw by Rees. The Irish would go on to score a touchdown on the drive.
3. Paging Will Sutton. The All-American was held in check nearly the entire game registering only three tackles. In fairness, he was getting double teamed but whispers of his weight gain seem to be hindering his play at times. It’s obvious he lacks some of the explosiveness from his breakout junior season. With Jaxon Hood still ailing it was disappointing to rarely hear Sutton’s name called and he have such a minimal impact on the game.
4. The special teams were again far from it. Freshman kicker Zane Gonzalez tied his career high with a 40-yard field goal and was perfect on the night but ASU was again victimized by short punts and poor kick coverage. The Irish capitalized on the opportunity flipping field position and setting their offense up near midfield on several occasions. It’s this kind of lack of attention to detail which drives Graham and his staff crazy.
5. The ASU offense had the Irish on the ropes early but couldn’t finish drives in the red zone. After a scoreless opening quarter the Devils marched down the field twice but settled for field goals. Notre Dame tied it at six on Ben Koyack’s 19-yard pass from Rees and the Irish never trailed again after Kyle Brindza’s successful PAT. What a difference a week makes for the Sun Devils who feasted on the USC defense early and often at Sun Devil Stadium.