ASU football has turned things around with an ever-improving defense

The ASU defense and its secondary has hit its stride as of late

ASU football broke its curse of losing by seven points four games in a row. Now, they’re on a new kind of streak that was kicked into gear and is being continued by an ever-improving defense. 

“We kind of had a hunch on our backs like we’ve got to get this done,” sophomore defensive back Chase Lucas said. “We’re done losing by seven points. That just means we’re not doing our jobs enough for our offense to get on the field. I feel like it’s just a mindset. I think we’ve got a lot of things to prove. We’re really young in the defense. I think we can compete with the best defenses in the country. That’s how I think we feel.”

The defense hit its stride with the team’s fourth seven-point loss to Stanford on Oct. 18. Junior defensive back Kobe Williams and freshman safety Aashari Crosswell had season highs in tackles with eight and five, respectively.  

Lucas also had an impressive game against Stanford despite the loss. He had a total of six tackles, which is only two below his season high of eight against San Diego State. 

“We’re just making plays, finally,” Crosswell said. “When we had the opportunity to make plays, we made plays and when we make plays, we change the game.”

The Sun Devils have certainly changed what was becoming their modus operandi of losing by a touchdown after beating Utah last week by a score of 38-20 and USC the week before 38-35. 

A major part of this breakthrough was the natural progression of practice that ASU has been working toward all season. 

“At the end of practice, we do … a repetition of all the plays we messed up on just to focus on the missed errors we messed up in practice, and just to capitalize on it so we don’t make the same errors in the game,” Williams said. “That happens a lot just so we can see the things we messed up on, repeat it, and in the game, it will be easy.”

ASU's schedule is not getting any easier with UCLA coming up this week and two challenging road games against Oregon and UA to follow. Now, practice for the Sun Devils is having more highs than lows. 

That is what the team has been working toward all season so they can have success as the season starts to gear up.

“It’s a piece of artwork when you start seeing that stuff, when you start seeing how focused everybody is,” Lucas said. “And start seeing the play calls and everybody shutting everything down. We could really win this thing, and I think that’s how everybody feels at this point.”

The team’s confidence is growing and with the defense working at a high capacity, it opens up room for both the offense and special teams to perform as well. That is why the team totaled 79 points over the last two games while they only had 34 points in the two games prior to those. 

The team feels like it is in control, and now it has the ability to fully trust the process as head coach Herm Edwards noted earlier in the season.

“When Coach Herm told us if we win these next few games…that we’re going to be looking at controlling our own destiny, going to the Pac-12 Championship and going to the Rose Bowl,” Lucas said. “I think when that struck and when we beat Utah this last week, it was just like 'okay, now this is making sense.' Now we really just got to trust the process, trust the program, and I think everybody has bought in.”

The Sun Devils and their defense plan to stay in charge of their own destiny this Saturday in their final home game of the season against UCLA at noon MST. 


Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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