Week 12 is upon us. There is a new #1 team in the nation as Alabama has been dethroned by Johnny football and the Texas A&M Aggies. We all crave upsets and we got the best of them last week. Is a similar fate in store for the #2 Oregon Ducks when the #13 Stanford Cardinal visit Eugene? Or will the ducks prove that an unforgiving offensive attack trumps all in college football. We’ll just have to watch and see what happens.
This week the Cougars visit Tempe Arizona to revisit a team they upset late in the season last year in pullman, the Arizona State Sun Devils. Can the Cougs “Freeze out” the red hot Sun Devils in the afternoon heat of the desert, without marquess wilson and his 3 touchdown receptions that boosted the Cougs to a comeback win last year? Or will ASU take back their pride and take down the desperate Cougars. Lets take a look and see how the Cougs need this to play out.
What Arizona State Brings:
Balance. The sun devils have shown Great Balance this year and proved that they can keep up with anyone (except Oregon) on either side of the ball. Their Offense by the ever efficient Quarterback Taylor Kelly. Kelly boasts a 65.3% completion percentage and has 2335 yards for 21 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. Taylor has also been a nightmare for defenses when he takes off on the ground racking up 374 yards. Cameron Marshall leads the Sun Devils rushing attack though. He has 426 yards and 6 Touchdowns on the year, also notable is the freshman D.J. Foster who has the highest yard per rush average at 5.2 yards per rush on 75 carries for a total of 393 yards. Another challenge WSU is going to have this week is the fact that they haven’t played well in the desert at all. The last two visits to Tempe Washington State was Shut out by Arizona State, in 2008 it was 31-0 in 2010 is was 42-0! Also I’m pretty sure you could bring this kind of stat up for anyone the Cougs have gone head to head with lately but the Sun Devils have won 3 of the last 4 meetings between these two schools.
Attack Attack and Attack. The Cougs have their back against a wall and nothing to lose so they need to play like it. the point of these last two games is to build sustainable momentum for this regime of Cougar football and that could happen with two late wins after an impressive second half from this team last week. I think we can play these guys really tight on both sides of the ball but we have to attack!
On Defense, we need to send blitzes and lots of them. We have to shut down Marshall again this year like last year but this time they have a bigger threat at Quarterback and more threats on the ground. The good news is they have shown they are human but we have to force them into mistakes. Our defense has played well lately (with the exception of utah) so we need to go out there and let these guys make plays on blitzes, mix up packages and anything that gets Travis Long in the backfield.
On Offense we need to spread the ball. We don’t have Wilson anymore so we no longer fall into the trap of being a single threat Offense, we need to turn EVERYONE into a threat. We need the short passing game working from the first drive. Protect the Quarterback and make the easy throws early so we can hopefully open up something later. We need to be continuously moving the ball and attacking these corners but most importantly we can’t be picking up the Quarterback off the ground every time he drops back. Also I know I’m getting greedy here but something besides negative yards would be great when we do decide to run the ball. Get it working Cougs.
So how do I like our chances? Well if we come out the team we were against Stanford or the team we were in the second half last week, We get a win. If we come out flat and act like we’re playing for nothing it could be another shut out in the desert. Lets not forget we’re playing for a team who is fighting for bowl eligibility. They know if they don’t get it done against us then there chances are slim as the last team they will be facing is the red hot Wildcats of Arizona on the road. So we are going to be going up against a team who is playing for everything! to avenge last years embarrassment and a team who knows this might be there best shot at that 6th win to put them in a bowl! We have to match these guys on every single level but most of all intensity. Expect to see a huge, loud and rowdy crowd in Tempe, we have to silence them. Lets see how it plays out tomorrow and as always Go Cougs!