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First look at the Arizona State Sun Devils

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The season finally comes to an end on Saturday night

Arizona State v San Diego State Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats head to Tempe for their annual showdown with the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Wildcats find themselves riding a six-game losing streak entering the Territorial Cup.

The season finale is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST on ESPN. Here’s a quick look at the Sun Devils, who have won two straight in this series.

2019 Record: 6-5 (3-5 Pac-12)

Key Games:

  • Week 3 win at Michigan State (10-7)
  • Week 4 loss vs Colorado (34-31)
  • Week 8 loss at Utah (21-3)
  • Week 11 loss vs USC (31-26)
  • Week 13 win vs Oregon (31-28)

Key Offensive Players: Jayden Daniels (QB), Eno Benjamin (RB), Brandon Aiyuk (WR), Cohl Cabral (Center)

Key Defensive Players: Darien Butler (LB), Merlin Robertson (LB), Khaylan Kearse-Thomas (LB), Chase Lucas (CB)

The Sun Devils are coming off a big upset over the Oregon Ducks. This victory not only gave Herm Edwards the best win of his tenure but it also ended a four-game losing streak.

This is a team that started the year perfect through conference play. Their defense really led the way through those first three games. However, their offense has picked up since that time.

True freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels has done a great job as a game manager. He has shown high IQ and an ability to quickly adapt to the FBS speed.

He has recorded 2,644 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. This touchdown-to-interception is probably most impressive. He has also recorded 257 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

His favorite target has been Brandon Aiyuk, who leads the team in receptions (60) and receiving yards (1,125). He also tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with eight. The speedy Aiyuk is second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards, despite being eighth in receptions, showing his big-play ability. Some project Aiyuk as a first-round NFL draft pick.

All-American running back Eno Benjamin has had a solid year, rushing for 915 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also found the end zone twice in the receiving game on 39 catches and 333 yards.

He’s not quite on his 1,642 rushing-yard pace from last year. This is large part due to the struggles on the offensive line. Things seemed to stabilize once Cohl Cabral moved to center.

However, there have still been a few struggles since that time. ASU is tied 95thin the FBS in sacks allowed (27).

The strong suit of this team has been the defense. They rank 61st in total defense (387.3 yards per game) and 44th in scoring defense (23.9 points per game).

The key group is easily the linebackers. You might be hard pressed to find a stronger group than Darien Butler, Merlin Robertson and Khaylan Kearse-Thomas.

This is just about always a coin-flip game. In years past, we’ve seen really bad UA teams beat ASU. Frankly, probably worse teams than the current 4-7 team. With that said, I just can’t see it happening.

What we’ve seen over the last six games tells us that there is something fatally wrong with this team. The two-quarterback system has been an absolute disaster. The defense hasn’t completely bottomed out but it’s as close as you can get without officially doing so.

This should be a slam dunk for ASU but we’ve seen this before and it’s gone in UA’s favor. Hope for the best but expect the worst, right?