Edit: The game is actually a home game for San Diego State, contrary to what we first reported. The changes have been made to reflect this.
Life comes at San Diego State real fast in the form a trip to Tempe to play the 23rd ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. The shortest version I can give you is that the Aztecs face a strong challenge in what is a completely revamped Sun Devil team under first year head coach Herm Edwards. Here is what to expect from both sides of the ball as they kick off Saturday night at 7:30 at SDCCU Stadium.
From Arizona State:
ASU has started 2018 with wins at home vs UT San Antonio and a ranked Michigan St. so they are thus far proving to be a completely rebuilt and re tooled football culture. Part of that culture includes a pair of former Aztec coaches including last year’s defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales so this matchup seems to have intrigue that extends past the field and on to the sidelines.
On the offensive side Manny Wilkins has already thrown for 619 yards and 5 touchdowns this season with the 6’4’’ 215 lb. N’Keal Harry being his favorite target. I mention the size because he presents a similar skill set to that of JJ Arcega-Whiteside from Stanford, who was a major problem for the Aztec secondary in the season opener. They had limited rushing success last week vs Michigan State so I would focus on most of the potential concern coming in being carved up by the passing game.
ASU is currently the nations best run defense, allowing only 32.5 yards per game this season. With a strong nose tackle and versatile linebackers the Sun Devil front seven is quickly shaping up to be one of the premier in the country and that will mean problems for Aztecs in establishing the physical control of the line of scrimmage that allows them to run the ball so well. You should also expect for Gonzales to bring a heavy dose of pressure early in the game so he can prevent Ryan Agnew from getting comfortable in his first start at quarterback.
From San Diego State:
On the offense Juwan Washington is the real deal, and his 156 yards and three scores last week should be seen as a sign on things to come. This week it wouldn’t surprise me if he sees 40 plus carries in an attempt to control the clock and take some of the pressure off of Ryan Agnew in hist first start for the injured Christian Chapman. Agnew looked raw last week but showed flashes of being able to bring a little more range to the SDSU offense with his speed and arm. The big question will be how early the team trusts him to try and make some big pays through the air after Washington pounds the line and gets ASU to crowd the box.
On the defensive side its going to be all about disrupting the QB Many Wilkins and not letting him consistently have time to connect with his big man N’Keal Harry. If the Aztecs can limit Harry’s production they should have a decent shot at keeping the game close.
Arizona State wins 28 - 21
The Aztecs have their work cut out for them trying to go up against the best run defense in college football.