Game Of The Week: ASU at Oregon
Arizona State (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) at Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
Oregon players to watch:
John Boyett (Junior, free safety)
The team's leading tackler is the QB of the secondary. Boyett makes up for his lack of size with excellent football instincts, quickness and innate toughness.
Michael Clay (Junior, linebacker)
Another of Oregon's undersized defenders who play with a lot of heart. The 225-pounder uses his quickness to slip blockers and find the football consistently. Shows the burst to rundown outside plays as well.
Lavasier Tuinei (Senior, wide receiver)
The 6-foot-5 red zone threat has four TDs on the year and has made several impressive catches to keep drives moving. He is difficult to cover in one on one situations as his hands and catching range are both very impressive.
Terrell Turner (Senior, defensive end)
Having posted only 1.5 sacks so far this season, Saturday would be a good time for the explosive Turner to break out with a big game in front of the home fans. Has been close several times, just needs to finish stronger.
Arizona State players to watch:
Alden Darby (Sophomore, safety)
With both speed and range in the pass game, Darby has pulled down 3 INTs so far this season. The former high school QB has impressive awareness and the ability to go get the football on every passing down.
Vontaze Burfict (Junior, linebacker)
The explosive Burfict has big play ability as he leads the Sun Devils with 4 sacks and 1 interception. He needs to improve his run angles as he gets hung up on blockers more than he should. However, the 250-pounder is a vicious hitter who delivers a blow on contact.
Mike Willie (Senior, wide receiver)
The size/speed receiver had his first two TDs of the season last week vs. Utah. Look for the 6-foot-4 leaper to be a big part of the game plan vs. the explosive Ducks.
Jamal Miles (Junior, wide receiver)
The big play threat has been a factor in every game this season, with both PT and KO return TDs as well as a receiving score. The elusive Arizona native could very well be the difference in the game Saturday.
The nationally televised ESPN showcase game should not disappoint. These are two of the Pac-12's two hottest teams and two of the most explosive offenses in the entire country. Oregon is averaging 50 PPG and has won 19 straight at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. This includes 77 consecutive sellouts, which is a big factor in Oregon's success. It gets extremely loud so the Sun Devil offense led by QB Brock Osweiler will have to score early in an effort to silence the crowd. Arizona State has an underrated defense with an active secondary but it is very difficult to stop Oregon's high powered option offense. Even if star runner LaMichael James is not ready to go due to his elbow injury, the fast freshman De'Anthony Thomas is a more than capable fill in. I love the job Dennis Erickson is doing in Tempe, but Oregon right now is a huge challenge for any team. You can't stop them so scoring a lot of points is the only way to win. The problem with that is the Ducks defense is underrated and more athletic than anyone really knows until you play them. This is basically the same defense that held Auburn and Cam Newton to only 22 points in last season's BCS National Title game. The reason Oregon is so good right now is they are a complete team and can be dominant on both sides of the ball.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).