Sun Devils Gameday: Northwestern vs. Arizona State - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Sun Devils Gameday: Northwestern vs. Arizona State

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Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2005 1:32 am | Updated: 8:23 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Sun Devil Stadium

TV/Announcers: None

Radio: KTAR (620 AM); ESPN (860 AM)

Records: Northwestern 2-0, ASU 1-1

Rankings: Northwestern unranked; ASU No. 18

Associated Press/No. 22 USA Today (coaches)

Series: ASU leads 1-0

Last meeting: Sept. 11, 2004 — ASU 30, Northwestern 21

Line: Sun Devils by 141⁄2

Tickets: Available at the Sun Devil Stadium ticket

office, by calling (480) 965-2381 or (888) 786-3857

or online at www.thesundevils.com

SUN DEVILS KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Stop the run:

Northwestern is sure to give the Sun

Devils a healthy dose of running back

Tyrell Sutton and quarterback Brett

Basanez carrying the ball. If the

Wildcats can run, they

will score — and as the

underdog, a shootout

helps their chances

the most.

2. Read and recognize:

The Wildcats’ defense tries to

create confusion with a

movement-heavy 3-5-3 formation, so

ASU quarterback Sam Keller’s reads and

checks, the offensive line blocking

schemes and the backfield blitz pickups

will need to be executed effectively.

3. Be kicking-game sound:

Those special-teams screw-ups

from last week’s game against

Louisiana State — particularly the

field-goal protection — need to be

shored up.

INJURY REPORT

Northwestern

OUT: LB Chris Jeske (back); OT Alex Rucks (knee)

DOUBTFUL: RB Terrell Jordan (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE:

WR Kim Thompson (finger); DE Carey Wootton (neck)

PROBABLE: S Herschel Henderson (hamstring); LB Tim

McGarigle (calf); LB Nick Roach (hernia)

Arizona State

DOUBTFUL: DE Kyle Caldwell (quadriceps); CB Chad

Green (undisclosed); RB Randy Hill (ankle); RB Preston

Jones (undisclosed); TE Zach Miller (ankle); WR Terry

Richardson (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE: CB R.J. Oliver

(quadriceps) PROBABLE: RB Rudy Burgess (back); RB

Cornell Canidate (hamstring)

AT STAKE

For the Sun Devils, it is a chance to put the awful taste

of the LSU loss behind them and tune up for the start

of Pac-10 play next week. A return to the top 20 in both

polls is likely with a victory. Northwestern opened up

with home games against Mid-American Conference

teams, so this is its chance-to-make-a-statement

intersectional game.

WHEN ASU HAS THE BALL

It should be more of the same from the first two games.

Northwestern is not as stiff against the run as

Louisiana State, so Sun Devils quarterback Sam Keller

will likely not have to throw 56 passes. With ASU minus

one of its starting wideouts and its first-string tight end,

a parade of receivers will likely be used. If freshman

tailback Keegan Herring can get some extended work,

that would be a bonus.

Key matchup: ASU WR Derek Hagan vs.

Northwestern CB Marquice Cole — The

Wildcats’ defense often lines up with

eight men up front, meaning their

cornerbacks are on an island. That is

music to the ears of Hagan, but he

could still be tested by Cole, a smaller

player who possesses great speed and

leaping ability.

WHEN NORTHWESTERN HAS THE BALL

While a lot of teams that use the spread offense look

to pass first and strike quickly, the Wildcats employ it

to free up the run and chew up time. Quarterback

Brett Basanez, who will make his 31st straight start

today, is a threat to run or pass, and his read and

recognition skills have improved since ASU last

played Northwestern. Freshman running back

Tyrell Sutton, he of the 214 yards and four

touchdowns last week, is sure to get his carries. The

receiving corps has been steady, but not spectacular.

Key matchup: Northwestern QB Brett Basanez

vs. ASU MLB Dale Robinson — Basanez

figures to collide often with Robinson,

physically and mentally. Robinson will

line up in a variety of positions and show

blitz at times, so Basanez must be

constantly aware of where he is — and, if

need be, audible the Wildcats into a safer

play.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS

Today’s college freshmen are almost too young to

remember when Northwestern football was a joke. The

Wildcats have won or shared three Big Ten titles in the

past 10 years, second only to Michigan. However, with

just one bowl appearance the last four seasons, there

has been a lull. Coach Randy Walker, who preaches

hard work and discipline, could get the team back to the

postseason in 2005 if the defense holds up.

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