Sun Devil football is excited for Thursday's primetime battle with Stanford

The Sun Devils host the Cardinal this Thursday in a Pac-12 contest

All eyes will be fixed to Tempe this Thursday, as the Stanford Cardinal (4-2) take on ASU football (3-3) to kick off week 8 of the NCAA football season.  

After a bye week full of uncertainty and angst after a loss to Colorado and the departure of several players, the Sun Devils look to reassert themselves on the national stage. 

“It’s a big game for us,” head coach Herm Edwards said. “Thursday night, ESPN game, I think players like playing under the spotlight of national attention. Especially good players, they enjoy the spotlight, they don’t run to the shade. They actually love the lights.” 

ASU will be counting on full-team production as the path toward a Pac-12 championship begins to narrow. A win against Stanford throws the Sun Devils right back in the thick of the title game conversation, but a loss could all but squander any chance of Pac-12 glory.

Read More: Nick's Picks: Pac-12 predictions for week 8 of the college football season

The gravity of the situation is lost on no one, and the Sun Devils' greatest contributors know there is no greater time than the present to take their game to the next level. 

“We have to find a way to score two more touchdowns a game,” redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins said. “I’m excited, I think that we have a really good game-plan, and any time you have some extra moments for yourself to watch some more film and you have a couple extra days here and there, it’s really beneficial, especially going against a team like Stanford.”

Stanford possesses one of the most complete teams in the Pac-12, with wins over the San Diego State Aztecs, the USC Trojans and the No. 12 Oregon Ducks.

Stanford's only losses have come in the past two weeks, against the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Utah Utes. Both losses have come with an either hobbled or completely sidelined senior running back Bryce Love

As a 2017 Heisman trophy finalist, Love has found similar success this season, remaining the driving force behind the Stanford offense.

Love is complemented by junior quarterback K.J. Costello and the talented group of wide receivers and tight ends. The team’s overwhelming emphasis on height has created an intimidating group of pass-catchers, highlighted by 6-foot-5-inch junior tight end Kaden Smith,  6-foot-3-inch senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside and 6-foot-7-inch sophomore tight end Colby Parkinson.

“They’re big across the board,” ASU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said. “Both their tight ends are 6’5'' or taller ... They run straight ahead really well, and Costello does a great job of throwing the ball higher than the defensive back can jump most of the time." 

The stage is set for another thrilling installment of Pac-12 After Dark as both ASU and Stanford look to get back in the win column. 


 Reach the reporter at Jrosenfa@asu.edu or follow @jacobrosenfarb on Twitter. 

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