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Territorial Cup 2016: Getting to know the ASU Sun Devils from House of Sparky

Let’s learn more about ASU from someone who’s watched them all year

California v Arizona State Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

With the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils set to square off on Friday night in Tucson, we needed to know a little more about ASU.

So we turned to House of Sparky managing editor Connor Pelton to give us his inside scoop on the Sun Devils. Connor also asked me Arizona questions, and you can find my answers here.

Jason: How do ASU fans view this season after getting out to such a hot start?

Connor: The majority of the fans aren't incredibly pleased, but I think a good portion of them realize that with the backloaded schedule and pile of injuries, a skid like this wasn't out of the realm of possibility. There will always be the small portion of the fanbase that expects 9-10 win seasons on a yearly basis, and those are the ones calling for Todd Graham's job right now. But that group of fans is still in the minority at the moment.

JB: Kalen Ballage scored more than half of his 14 touchdowns in one game. What has led to his dip in production?

CP: The answer is two-fold. That seven-touchdown game was largely the result of the team debuting its "Sparky" (wildcat) package, which caught Texas Tech by surprise so much so that the Red Raiders had no answer for it. Opponents now know how to stop - or at least contain - Ballage out of these looks, and he hasn't exactly gotten a ton of help from his young offensive line throughout the season.

With that being said, he has looked a bit like his old self in the past month or so. Ballage has four touchdowns in his last four games and still has the potential to be a focal point in Arizona State's offense.

JB: What is the Sun Devil defense's biggest weakness this year?

CP: Stopping opposing offenses from scoring. A lot.

JB: What's the general feeling about Todd Graham among the ASU faithful right now?

CP: I touched on this a little above, but the general feeling is that while Graham might get a pass for this season, there needs to be some significant improvement in 2017. I think some key staff changes need to be made in the offseason, and if the team doesn't make a decent bowl game after that, he could be gone.

At the moment though, I'd say most of the fanbase is still behind him. But after saying he expected a national title last year only to finish with a losing record, grouped with 2016's late-season woes, things are getting interesting.

JB: Give us your prediction for Territorial Cup 2016:

CP: God is this game going to be drunk. Ultimately I think we will see a fairly high scoring game similar to last year's, where Arizona eventually gets desperate and a costly turnover seals it. Give me the Sun Devils, 41-31.


Thanks to Connor for answering our questions. Be sure to check out House of Sparky for your ASU needs, and follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorPelton28