Arizona State didn’t win against that team from South Bend, but they still have ample opportunity to win the Pac-12 South.
That’s the game plan as the Sun Devils (3-2, 1-1) transition from playing Notre Dame to lowly Colorado (2-2, 0-2), which has lost 10 straight conference games.
"There is great parity in this league," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "The danger is not taking a team seriously. What happens in a game like this is you go out there and slop around. It ends up beating you down the road or it can beat you then. Then panic sets in."
The Buffaloes last two conference losses have been lopsided: 44-14 to Oregon State on Sept. 28 and 57-16 to No. 2 Oregon last week after leading for most of the first quarter.
“We definitely need to get a `W' and keep going," said first year head coach Mike MacIntyre.
Colorado has decided to stick with QB Connor Wood despite the junior's struggles the past two games (completing 25 of 67 passes for 351 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions). In fact, Wood has thrown two interceptions in three straight games and has completed only 37 percent of his passes since the Pac-12 season started.
Somehow, junior receiver Paul Richardson has been such a big-play threat that he still ranks second nationally with 155.3 yards receiving per game.
On defense, Colorado struggled stopping Oregon's speed and up-tempo style of play. Granted, the ASU offense doesn’t quite operate like the Ducks, but the Devils play an up-tempo style and rank 16th nationally in scoring at 42.2 points per game, 22nd in total offense at 489.4 yards and quarterback Taylor Kelly is fourth in total offense at 372.2 yards per game. Colorado is 115th of 123 FBS teams on defense, allowing 482.5 yards per game.
Thing is, the ASU defense ranks 86th nationally in stopping the run and 84th in scoring defense. In addition, Graham continues to lament alignment mistakes, missed tackles and various mental errors by the ASU defense.
A loss against Colorado at Sun Devil Stadium is a mistake the Devils cannot afford.
After four straight games against teams with plus-size offensive lines and some of the best power-running games in the nation (Wisconsin, USC, Stanford and Notre Dame), the Sun Devils close the season with seven straight games against Pac-12 opponents.
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