Arizona State is a team that many people picked to finish near the bottom of the conference this season. That still may be the case, but through four weeks, the Sun Devils have shown glimpses of greatness.
After two relatively easy wins over Portland State (54-9) and Northern Arizona (41-20), ASU traveled to Wisconsin where they hung with the 11th-ranked Badgers. Arizona State trailed by three at halftime and could have tied the game in the fourth quarter if it wasn't for a blocked extra point. ASU lost 20-19.
2007 Lou Groza Award Winner Thomas Weber has struggled for the Sun Devils this season. He missed that extra point against Wisconsin, and missed a field goal against Oregon this weekend.
Speaking of the Oregon game-- ASU also gave them a run for their money. Junior quarterback Steven Threet has been a huge asset for Dennis Erickson's team this year, but has gotten into trouble by throwing interceptions. Aganst the Ducks, he threw for 387 yards and three touchdowns, but threw four picks in the process. He had 232 of those yards by halftime, where ASU trailed 28-24.
Arizona State has proven they can compete in the Pac-10. They've been playing like a focused group that has a chip on their shoulder, but they haven't done enough to break through in their two marquee matchups with top-15 teams.
Erickson has been utilizing a new offensive scheme in which he places two running backs alongside Threet in shotgun. One of the backs goes in motion before the snap, a move that the ASU staff hope stretches the opposing linebackers. With Dwight Roberson potentially out with an injury this week, that could mean trouble for an Oregon State defense that is already struggling. Plus, Threet is a mobile quarterback who has proven he can make plays on the run.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM on Saturday.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)