Arizona State (3-1) at California (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 4:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (61,500) -- Berkeley, California.
Television: FX. Home Record: ASU 3-0, California 1-1 Away Record: ASU 0-1,
California 0-2. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, California 0-0. Conference
Record: ASU 1-0, California 0-1. Series Record: California leads 17-14.
GAME NOTES: In the second week of Pac-12 conference play the Arizona State Sun
Devils take a trip north to Berkeley to tangle with the California Golden
Arizona State won its conference opener with relative ease last weekend as the
Sun Devils dropped Utah 37-7 at Sun Devil Stadium. It was the third home game
in four total contests this season for the Sun Devils. The team's only loss
this season came on the road, a problem for Arizona State, which is just 3-9
away from Tempe over the last three years.
The beginning to California's season has not been a strong one with the Golden
Bears currently 1-3 after a 27-9 loss to USC in the conference opener.
California's only win did come at Memorial Stadium when the offense erupted in
a 50-31 victory over FCS opponent Southern Utah. The Golden Bears are now 9-5
at home over the last three seasons although that includes the 2011 campaign
when California played home contests at AT&T Park, while Memorial Stadium was
These conference foes have met 31 times previously and it is California that
holds the all-time series lead at 17-14. The Golden Bears won last season's
matchup 47-38, but the Sun Devils won the last game in Berkeley with a 50-17
victory in 2010.
Under first-year head coach Todd Graham, Arizona State has formed a new
offensive identity. The Sun Devils are scoring an impressive 41.2 points per
game (second in the Pac-12), while piling up a sizable 1,872 yards of total
offense (fourth in the Pac-12 at 468 yards per outing).
Arizona State has been lethal on both sides of the ball in the first and
fourth quarters. The Sun Devils have outscored opponents by an 89-10 margin in
those two frames, including a 40-0 edge in the fourth.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly has been an efficient signal caller this season with
an rating of 182.2 and a 72.5 percent completion percentage. Kelly has also
thrown for six touchdowns, while ranking second on the team in rushing
Kelly has been especially fond of throwing the ball to tight end Chris Coyle
who has had some impressive numbers this season. His 10-catch performance in
week one against Illinois tied Zach Miller for the most by a tight end in Sun
Devil history. Overall the junior has caught a team-high 22 passes for 301
yards and a pair of scores.
A stable of running backs has carried the team's rushing attack which has
accumulated 750 yards this season. D.J. Foster has been the primary back with
196 yards on 32 carries. Cameron Marshall (32 carries, 95 yards), Marion Grice
(26 carries, 159 yards) and Michael Eubank (27 carries, 71 yards) have all
been significant contributors.
Graham's squad has also done a solid job defensively this season with the team
ranking first in the conference in points (12.8) and yards (274.0) allowed
per game. The Sun Devils have been effective thanks to the unit's ability to
capitalize on opponents' mistakes with a conference-leading eight
Arizona State has also been a strong team when it comes to bringing pressure
with a total of 14 sacks, while Chris Young (8.5 tackles for loss), Will
Sutton (6.0) and Carl Bradford (6.0) have all been adept at disrupting plays
in the backfield.
The nine points California scored against USC was a season-low and was also
the worst total in a game by the Golden Bears since also being held to nine
points in a 30-9 loss to USC last year. The offense ranks seventh in the
Pac-12 in scoring (27.8 ppg) and total offense (411.0 ypg). The team's low
scoring totals have been a direct result of the team's performance in the red
zone, where the Golden Bears have scored only six touchdowns on 15 trips.
Keenan Allen has finally begun to look like the receiver that caught 98 passes
last season. The wideout caught nine passes for 93 yards against USC and is
now second in the conference in receptions (29) while amassing 309 yards
Quarterback Zach Maynard has a efficiency rating of 130.95 this season but has
not looked particularly consistent. Maynard has completed a solid 63.4 percent
of his passes for 927 yards but has also thrown as many touchdowns as
Isi Sofele (53 carries, 239 yards) has been the workhorse in the running game
while Brendan Bigelow (10 carries, 206 yards 2 TDs) has shown some explosive
Part of the reason California has been unable to put together more wins is
that the squad is often playing from behind. The Golden Bears have been
outscored 37-7 in the first quarter this season. In all, California is the
second worst scoring defense (31.0 ppg) in the Pac-12, while ranking 10th
(430.3 ypg) in total defense. Getting pressure and forcing turnovers have not
been real strengths, with the team posting eight sacks and seven total
Josh Hill (32) and Robert Mullins (31) have each eclipsed the 30-tackle
plateau early this season and Steve Williams, who leads the team in solo
tackles with 21, is just one behind.
Although California is returning to the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium,
the Golden Bears have quite a task ahead of them. The offense has the skill,
especially in Allen, to keep up with Arizona State, but to do so Maynard needs
to cut down on the mistakes. That will be easier said than done against an
Arizona State defense that has feasted on errant throws this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 31, California 27
09/26 10:48:45 ET
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