We've gone through what should be two games that will help Gary Andersen evaluate exactly what he has on this team in a game setting and we're predicting a 2-0 start to the season. Yesterday it was an easy win over Tennessee Tech predicted.
However, week three of the season brings on a bigger challenge, a MUCH bigger challenge as Wisconsin travels to Arizona State. Forget the struggles of Big Ten teams in general when they travel to Pac-12 teams, Wisconsin knows about these struggles all to well, just ask anyone that was on the field for that whole 10-7 debacle at Oregon State last year.
So, with this game in Tempe, who's up for an awesome road trip in September to the land of sun and fun? Think of ASU as the west coast version of the UW. No, seriously, we'd love to put a trip together for this one!! Anyway, it's time to take a look at what the Sun Devils will bring to the table on Sept. 14th.
Arizona State Info:
2012 Record: 8-5, 5-4 Pac-12
Head Coach: Todd Graham, 2nd season at ASU in 2013
2012 Billingsley Ranking: No. 36
2012 Team Stats:
|Scoring Offense||38.4||Scoring Defense||24.3|
|Rushing Offense||205.3yds||Rushing Defense||182.8yds|
|Passing Offense||259.2yds (33TD's/12INT's)||Passing Defense||167.9yds (23TD's/21INT's)|
2012 Crazy Stat: This is more 2013 related, but count us shocked that Graham is actually going to be on the sidelines for a 2nd straight season with a team for the first time in what seems like forever. But seriously, the crazy stat from 2012 for this team?
What Does 2012 Tell Us About Arizona State: There is some talent in the desert to say the least. Taylor Kelly is a heck of a QB to run Graham's system and he was one of the more efficient QB's in the Pac-12 last year, ranking 2nd in conference and 9th nationally. We also saw a team that struggled running the football at times in Graham's system. However, a year under their belt and recruiting class to bring in should help change some of that.
What we learned from 2012 is that Graham is a good football coach who took a team that was pretty young overall, starting 16 players that will return in 2013. Graham laid a solid foundation and now it's about building off of that. The secondary was simply amazing last season, nearly scoring more INT's than TD's allowed - that's exactly what Graham wants from his defenses - to attack and be aggressive with the turnover game.
Luckily for Wisconsin they aren't exactly a throwing heavy team and as good as ASU was against the pass, they were equally bad against the run, ranking 81st nationally. This team will improve against the run, especially with Will Sutton returning, but there needs to be more of an emphasis against the run game or this team will never get over that 7-8 win hump.
Series History: 1-2 - last meeting was a 20-19 Wisconsin win in 2010.
ASU Key Loses: Cameron Marshall, RB (582yds -2nd on team, 9TD's); Rashad Ross, WR (37 rec, 610yds, 6TD's); Jamal Miles, WR (37 rec, 373yds); Bryce Schwab, RT; Brandon Magee, WILL (113 tackles, 12.5tfl's, 6.5 sacks); Keelan Johnson, FS (88 tackles, 5INT's); Deveron Carr, FC (8 passes broken up, 9 passes defensed)
ASU Key Returners: Taylor Kelly, QB (67.1%, 3.040yds, 29TD/9INT); Will Sutton, DT (23.5tfl's, 13 sacks, consensus 1st team all-American); Marion Grice, TB (679yds rushing, 11TD's, 41 rec, 425yds, 8TD's); Chris Young, SPUR (82 tackles, 14tfl's); Carl Bradford, DEVIL (81 tackles, 20tfl's, 11.5 sacks)
WAY too Early Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Arizona State 20 - I hesitate to pick the Badgers knowing the history of teams out west, but Gary Andersen could be an x-factor with his knowledge of how to handle time zone differences, having traveled to the Midwest and southeast without any problems. Additionally, there's the fact that Wisconsin is going to be very, VERY deep next season on the defensive line and at linebacker. I like Wisconsin's defense better and that wins the day in this one.
For more of our coverage of all things Badgers make sure you follow us on Twitter @MTBadgers and 'Like' us on Facebook.