Q&A with ASU: Behind enemy lines

first_imgRedshirt sophomore receiver Tyler Vaughns scored two touchdowns against ASU last year on Oct. 28. (Daily Trojan file photo)With Saturday’s face-off quickly approaching, the Daily Trojan got an inside look at ASU’s tactics through a conversation with State Press football beat writer Jacob Rosenfarb.Daily Trojan: Do you think that Arizona State’s 4-3 record is an accurate reflection of their performance thus far?Jacob Rosenfarb: While a 3-4 record isn’t ideal after seven games, it’s relatively indicative of the Sun Devils’ performance. If a few plays go different in each of Arizona State’s four one-score losses, they are looking at a very different season, but overall this is a pretty average football team. DT: Who are the players on each side of the ball for the Sun Devils that USC fans should look out for?JR: On the offensive side, Arizona State possesses a high-caliber group of wide receivers highlighted by junior N’Keal Harry. Standing at 6-foot-4 with breakaway speed, Harry is one of the more electric players in the conference and will likely see his name called in the first round of this year’s upcoming NFL Draft. Defensively, the Sun Devils feature a number of intriguing starters, one of whom is true freshman linebacker Merlin Robertson. Thrown in the fire since week one, Robertson has played with a poise typically reserved for players three years his senior. Look for him to make an impact up the middle in the run game, then shift to the edge come third down to rush the passer. DT: The Sun Devils are winless on the road. What makes road games such a struggle for them, and do you expect this loss streak to continue against the Trojans?JR: Arizona State’s 0-3 record on the road is disappointing, but much of that has to do with the opponent rather than the Sun Devils’ performance. Washington, Colorado and San Diego State are all at worst equal in talent level to Arizona State, and in the Huskies’ and Buffs’ cases, significantly more talented.While crucial mistakes cost the Sun Devils chances in each of their road losses this season, it’s still a stretch to imagine they pull all three out. DT: All of ASU’s losses have come by 7 points, and they are 1-4 in one-possession games. Why do the Sun Devils have issues in close contests?JR: I don’t believe Arizona State has problems in close games per say, they are just the type of team to play in a lot of them. Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins is one of the least turnover-prone quarterbacks in the country, only throwing two interceptions to his 11 touchdowns. But, the defense has struggled at taking away the ball, only registering seven turnovers all season. Almost every game the Sun Devils have played this season have come down to ball control and time of possession, and that’s how they find themselves at 3-4. DT: Which team will walk away with the win?JR: As concerning as the Trojans’ quarterback situation currently looks, I don’t believe the Sun Devils have the ability to capitalize, so I’m picking a USC victory. Like all of Arizona State’s games this season, I anticipate another close matchup but ultimately I believe the Trojans will come away with the victory, 28-21.last_img

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