More college football ... Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

Week 4 - Arizona State at Stanford
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 18, 2013


Week 4 Fearless Predictions - Arizona State at Stanford

Arizona State at Stanford
Utah at BYU
Pac-12, Part 1. Utah St-USC & More
Pac-12, Part 2, Idaho-Wazzu & More

Arizona State at Stanford
Utah at BYU
Pac-12, Part 1. Utah St-USC & More
Pac-12, Part 2, Idaho-Wazzu & More

Arizona State (2-0) at Stanford (2-0) Sept. 21, 7:00, Fox

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The first really big game of the Pac-12 season pits No. 23 Arizona State against No. 5 Stanford.

There are a handful of league games that will separate the contenders from the pretenders this season. This is one of them. The Cardinal returns home after making a rare trip to the East Coast, beating Army, 34-20. Stanford didn’t accumulate many style points in its first two wins, but then again, flash and showmanship never were a part of this program’s agenda. If the Cardinal truly is the next best thing to Oregon in the Pac-12, it’ll begin to show it on Saturday evening.

The Sun Devils won a critical game late last weekend, defeating Wisconsin, but it was a controversial ending that wound up making all of the headlines. Yeah, the officials blundered, preventing the Badgers from attempting the game-winning field goal, but ASU made a statement nonetheless. It can make an even louder declaration by handing Stanford its first blemish of the year.

Why Arizona State Might Win: The Cardinal offense didn’t locate its rhythm against San Jose State or Army. Things only get tougher with the Sun Devils coming to town. Arizona State plays with the defensive speed and range that’ll cause problems for Stanford. Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and Jaxon Hood all get off the snap quickly, while the linebackers and defensive backs will keep the Cardinal playmakers from getting to the edge. Stanford will have some success pounding between the tackles, but it’ll work for every point it scores on Saturday night.

Why Stanford Might Win: ASU is fast, but Stanford is physical. Sun Devil QB Taylor Kelly posted big numbers against the Badgers, but he didn’t play all that well. He and his linemen will have their hands full trying to keep one of the nation’s best front sevens out of the backfield. Blocking has long been an ASU shortcoming, and that’s an issue since DE Ben Gardner and linebackers Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov are rarely far from scrimmage. The Devils bowed to the Wisconsin ground game a week ago. Now, they’ll try to slow down Stanford’s north-south duo of 215-pound Anthony Wilkerson and 226-pound Tyler Gaffney.

Who To Watch Out For: The evolution of Stanford QB Kevin Hogan as a complete player continues this weekend. The sophomore has been sharp in the early going, but Arizona State presents very different challenges than the last two opponents.

- It could be a very rugged night for Kelly. He’s more of a dinker-and-dunker, not the kind of passer that often succeeds versus Stanford. Cardinal safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards will jump routes if Kelly’s throws don’t have enough zip on them.

- Does Stanford defensive coordinator employ any blitzes this weekend? The Sun Devil receivers aren’t so threatening that they can’t be handled in man coverage, which could allow the Cardinal to turn loose a linebacker or safety on a well-timed blitz.

- The Sun Devils are going to need a monster night out of RB Marion Grice. The senior is one of the Pac-12’s premier runners, but nobody runs on Stanford.

What Will Happen: Substance beats style in a matchup of contrasting approaches and personalities. Arizona State is about to hit a defensive wall, a Stanford D that yields little. The Sun Devils lack the blockers up front to move the line of scrimmage, which allows Kelly and Grice to play to their potential. The Cardinal will grind out its first key win of 2013, controlling the tempo on the ground and forcing Kelly into costly turnovers. ASU is good, but it remains a solid rung below Stanford on the Pac-12 ladder.
Prediction: Stanford 28 … Arizona State 17
Line: Stanford -7.5 o/u: 52.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Presidents’ Gatekeepers - 1 Million Second Quiz) … 4