Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:42 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Maaco Bowl
Boise State secondary versus Arizona State's passing game
Some numbers can lie. Boise State's 25th-ranked pass defense is one of them. If you caught any of their loss to TCU, you'll know why: the Broncos are young and can be picked on with speedy receivers going down field. Guess what Arizona State has? Experienced wide receivers who know how to run routes and get behind defenses.
Gerell Robinson is averaging over 18 yards a catch and has topped the 100 yard mark five times this season for the Sun Devils. Aaron Pflugrad gets close to 15 per grab and though he slowed down after a great start to the year, is a veteran who can slip behind a corner and find holes in zone defenses. Jamal Miles is a multipurpose threat and has to be contained in the return game as well. A sore point in past years, the ASU offensive line was much improved this year and has given quarterback Brock Osweiler some time to throw. Outside of their game against Cal to end the year, this has been a pretty pass-heavy offense at the end of the year.
The Broncos secondary did well with time to prepare against Georgia earlier in the year but was torched by TCU (473 yards, five touchdowns) and San Diego State (350 yards, three touchdowns). Osweiler has thrown for over 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year and is tall enough (he's 6-foot-8 if you haven't heard) to see open receivers down the field.
Boise State safety George Iloka was moved to cornerback at the end of the year and the secondary improved so it will be interesting to see how ASU attacks the new-look unit. Things are also interesting considering Sun Devils offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has moved on to the UCLA coaching staff. Very intriguing match up that should determine whether this game is close or a blow out.
You can read our complete Maaco Bowl preview here.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:36 am
Edited on: September 10, 2011 2:48 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
ARIZONA STATE WON. It was a wild one in Tempe, with Arizona State picking up a 37-30 win in overtime over No. 21 Missouri. QB Brock Osweiler was a revelation for Arizona State, going 24-32 for 353 yards, three TDs, and no picks. Osweiler also made some big plays with his feet, finishing with five rushes for 34 yards and another score. The big quarterback's target of choice was wideout Aaron Pflugrad (seen at right in Osweiler's embrace), who ended up with eight catches for 160 yards and two scores.
WHY ARIZONA STATE WON: It's hard to pin the outcome of a game on one last-minute string of inadvisable coaching decisions when A) the outcome of the alternative is unknown, and B) the other 59 minutes of regulation gameplay featured 60 points scored. And yet, with 21 seconds left in the game and Missouri lining up for a go-ahead 48-yard field goal, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel called time out. Then after the teams had gotten set again, Pinkel called time out again, icing his own kicker twice. Kicker Grant Ressel would push the field goal wide, sending the game into overtime, and Missouri's comeback would fail thereafter.
WHEN ARIZONA STATE WON: When Missouri QB James Franklin's desperation heave on 4th and 5 fell harmlessly to the turf. ASU looked ready to put the game away early in the 4th quarter after taking its largest lead of the game at 30-16 and forcing a quick punt by Missouri, but PR Jamal Miles muffed that punt and Missouri recovered, sparking the 14-point comeback over the rest of the quarter. ASU was fortunate to get to overtime, but once there, the Sun Devils squashed the Tigers.
WHAT ARIZONA STATE WON: This was a significant enough win for Arizona State that some fans stormed the field afterwards, and really, who can blame them? Missouri isn't exactly a Top-5 team, but the Tigers were still ranked No. 21, and the game featured enough emotional highs and lows that whichever team prevailed was going to have an enormous boost of confidence both in the locker room and in the stands.
WHAT MISSOURI LOST: This was a tough pill for Missouri to swallow, no doubt about it, and what makes it especially rough on Tiger fans is the fact that the game was nearly in hand. Missouri was on the edge of field goal range with a little under a minute left and two TOs in its pocket when Pinkel went conservative with the playcalling, keeping the ball on the ground and making no attempt at the sidelines, then saving the time outs for after Ressel lined up to kick. If anything, Missouri fans lost some confidence in Pinkel's endgame coaching acumen, though it's not terribly likely the players themselves share that sentiment. Still, better teams than Mizzou have gone on to lose their resolve and turn in a subpar season after a backbreaker of a loss like this, so it'll be key for Pinkel to make sure his players stay focused on the games in front of them.
THAT WAS CRAZY: The penalties. The penalties. The penalties. The two teams combined for 23 flags for 224 yards, and that's just the penalties that weren't declined. Defensive penalties routinely kept drives alive, and offensive penalties killed scoring chances. If only icing one's kicker were a penalty, though. Maybe then Pinkel would have thought twice. Still, this was one hell of a game, and it's too bad the last drive and overtime didn't reflect the quality of the rest of the game.
BONUS THAT WAS CRAZY: Ressel also had a 54-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. Like the game-winning attempt, this one also failed. It did, however, connect with the face of one unfortunate photographer (GIF via @HuskerLocker):