Tonight from the Alamodome: ASU Football is Looking for Win #3
James Romo
By ,
September 16, 2016 1:44 PM

In last Saturday’s victory, Arizona State changed many diehard fan’s outlook for the 2016 season with a headlining offensive performance. 

Tonight’s matchup with the University of Texas, San Antonio on ESPN 2 could be the proverbial “trap game” for the Sun Devils. But don’t count on it.

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The 68-55 victory in Game 2 was overshadowed by RB Kalen Ballage’s historic 8-TD night. However, a calm, cool and collected QB, Many Wilkins, showed clear confidence as he managed this offense. With efficiency, Wilkins distributed the ball to a host of playmakers and sustained drives to keep the Tech offense on the sidelines.

He had a near perfect performance.

OC Chip Lindsey

We saw what new Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey is capable of in drawing up a very balanced and effective game plan. His play calling from up in the booth looked flawless, and it even featured a trick play that resulted in a 39-yard touchdown.

Trick plays have never been Coach Todd Graham’s style. However, that early double-reverse flee flicker was a surge of momentum that the Devils maintained throughout the game.

The “Special Teams” Side of the Ball

Special Teams pinned the Red Raiders inside their own ten-yard line multiple times, and it was largely overlooked in the conversation about ASU’s victory.

Up front on Offense

A reshuffling on the offensive line turned into a dominant, physically imposing performance. This is a positive development for ASU and its prospects against tougher opponents in coming weeks.

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Forks Up

Forks Up

The “Other” Guy

Workhorse RB Demario Richard fought for Devil Yards (yards after contact) all game and set the stage for Kalen Ballage to tie the single-game touchdown record in College Football History on just 15 touches.

A Different Look

ASU’s offense ran out of the Pistol formation (QB in the shotgun with a RB behind him) for the first time in the Graham era. We saw Ballage take snaps in goal line situations out of the “Sparky” (wildcat) formation, another new (and welcomed) development.

A Hard-to-Defend Defense

On the other side of the ball, the defense missed open field tackles which led to big-play touchdowns. This continues to be a problem along with some glaringly blown coverages by ASU’s defensive backs. This is clearly the team’s weakness which must be ironed out before matching up with several explosive Pac-12 teams.

What should give the Sun Devil faithful a touch of hope was the fact that this recalibrated defensive staff implemented major in-game adjustments that did just enough to slow the opposing offense. In fact, they generated two interceptions as a result which sealed the game.

ASU also got back to dialing up several blitz packages and looked much more like a Coach Todd Graham defensive front.

We say the smart money is on ASU covering.

UTSA will run a very traditional offense tonight, and frankly, ASU will likely put this game away early to build on last week’s success.

Friday Night Lights… Indoors

Tonight in San Antonio’s Alamodome is ASU’s opportunity to get more reps for young players. OC Chip Linsey may show a more varied game plan that the vanilla plan he drew up against NAU. Ultimately, his play calls will have the intention of keeping the Cal Bears defensive staff busy for the next several days as they’ll travel to Tempe to take on ASU in Game 4.

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The Alamodome, Home to the UTSA Roadrunners

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A Friday night game against a lesser opponent will give the Sun Devil squad the opportunity to build more synergy throughout its position groups and test a few new things on both sides of the ball.

Entering next week healthy and ready for conference play is an important goal, though a distant second to ASU securing a third victory in as many games.

Oddsmakers are giving UTSA 19.5 points. We say the smart money is on ASU covering.

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The Alamodome, Home to the UTSA Roadrunners

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