Impact: Sun Devil offense shows promise but the defense falls short in week three

ASU football fails to complete comeback attempt, needs defensive improvement if they want to win again

ASU football left Lubbock, Texas with its second straight loss. This time around it was the Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0) that dealt the crushing blow to the Sun Devils (1-2) in the 45-52 loss. Despite a near resurgence late in the game, ASU fell short in its attempt to stop the pass.

Red Raiders’ senior quarterback Nic Shimonek looked like an All-American gunslinger throwing for 543 yards and six touchdowns. 

Shimonek's numbers are partially due to ASU's best pass rusher in senior devil backer Koron Crump leaving the game in the first quarter with a leg injury. He was seen on the sideline in street clothes, using crutches during the game.

This is the third straight week the Sun Devils’ defense has made an opposing player look like a true Heisman candidate. Throughout three games ASU’s inexperienced defensive backfield has given up 1,014 pass yards and 10 touchdowns. 

On top of that, ASU has yet to face a Pac-12 quarterback.

There were struggles for the Sun Devils on the offensive side of the ball, but as a unit it was an impressive outing against the Red Raiders.

Redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins continues to prove doubters wrong as he is completing 68.3 percent of his passes and has thrown seven touchdowns. His wide outs are really hitting their stride as of late — sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry was an absolute all-star in the loss to TTU, grabbing 13 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. 

As a team the Sun Devils showed promise, they just give up too many game-changing plays on defense. With conference play approaching, the No. 24 Oregon Ducks (3-0) come to town on Saturday, Sept. 23. 

ASU has to make drastic defensive improvements if they want a chance to win. Otherwise a Ducks' offense that has scored 168 points in three games could embarrass ASU at home.

There is a new king of the jungle

Apparently this week was the week of the Tigers. The Memphis Tigers (2-0) upset the UCLA Bruins (2-1), the No. 2 Clemson Tigers (3-0) beat the No. 19 Louisville Cardinals (2-1) in commanding fashion and the No. 15 Auburn Tigers (2-1) secured a victory against the Mercer Bears (1-2). 

The trio combined for 119 points and 1,683 total yards.

Memphis’ 48-45 unexpected victory was considered the best game of the day. Both teams exchanged touchdown after touchdown in a seemingly endless battle of scoring.

The Clemson game featured two ranked teams looking to prove their dominance in a competitive top-25 matchup, but it was Clemson that came out on top 47-21 over Louisville. 

Finally, the Auburn game was not expected to be all that great and it was not, at least for Mercer fans. 

Auburn’s junior running back Kamryn Pettway took over as he rushed for 128 yards and three scores on 34 carries. 

A seven-leaf clover

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1) cruised past their rival the Boston College Eagles (1-2) in a 49-20 win.

When a team puts up 49 points it is expected that they threw at least one touchdown.

However, the Fighting Irish did it a little differently — they rushed for seven touchdowns. Four of the scores came from junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush. 

Wimbush ended the day with four touchdowns, and he also ran for 207 yards. 

Although Wimbush had a remarkable game, the same can be said about junior running back Josh Adams, who rushed for 229 yards. 

When a team wins fans would expect the team’s quarterback to at least complete 50 percent of his passes, but Wimbush clearly decided he wasn’t going by the norm. 

He completed 11 passes, had one interception, a quarterback rating of 65.7 and threw for less than 100 yards. Yet, in some weird way he managed to be Notre Dame’s most valuable player.

Stay tuned

ASU football returns home to take on the No. 24 Oregon Ducks (3-0) in what will likely be another shootout on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Sun Devils (1-2) will look to start off strong in what is anticipated to be a brutal stretch of conference play. 

*All statistics were retrieved from cfbstats.com and espn.com


Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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