Game day: California at Arizona State - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Game day: California at Arizona State

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Posted: Saturday, October 31, 2009 12:16 am | Updated: 12:43 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

What a difference a week makes. And for Arizona State, that’s not a good thing. The Sun Devils were full of confidence and optimism heading into last Saturday’s game against Stanford but were beaten soundly in all phases of the game. Now comes a brutal five-game stretch that includes California, Oregon, USC and Arizona. The Sun Devils still need a pair of wins to become eligible for the postseason, and at this point that challenge seems imposing. Cal and ASU both have two losses in Pac-10 play, but Cal’s have come against conference giants Oregon and USC. The Golden Bears have won three straight games overall and come in averaging 35 points per game. The Sun Devils have slid to ninth in the Pac-10 in total offense after another marginal display last week. Quarterback Danny Sullivan (knee) and running back Dimitri Nance (shoulder) both missed time at the end of the Stanford game, although both have been practicing this week and should be available for the game. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler is again supposed to get some time, although how much has not been determined.

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sun Devil Stadium

TV/Radio: ABC/KTAR (620 AM)

Records: Arizona State 4-3, 2-2 Pac-10; California 5-2, 2-2 Pac-10

Three things to watch

• Jahvid Best: The California running back’s name was floated about in Heisman Trophy talk in the beginning of the season. While his production has dropped off slightly since then, he is still arguably the best running back in the Pac-10. Best averages 110.7 yards per game and has scored 11 touchdowns. The Arizona State defense allowed Stanford’s Toby Gerhart to run for more than 100 yards last week, the first time an opposing tailback had topped the century mark. If Best gets that many yards, it doesn’t bode well for ASU’s chances.

• The ASU wide receivers: Kyle Williams and Kerry Taylor have both been battling hamstring injuries lately, and Chris McGaha has been battling the flu, so the wide receiver rotation has been in flux for weeks. If all three play, it will be interesting to see how the playing time is divvied up with the emergence of Gerell Robinson, T.J. Simpson and Jamal Miles in their absence.

• The backfield: Despite fan objections, seniors Danny Sullivan and Dimitri Nance have started all year. If Cal gets out to a lead early, will a change finally be made? There’s a delicate balance between playing to win this year and grooming the younger players, but if the offense continues to struggle, coach Dennis Erickson might not have much of a choice.

The starting lineups

Arizona State offense

WR — Gerell Robinson

LT  — Shawn Lauvao

LG — Jon Hargis

C — Garth Gerhart

RG — Brenton Good

RT  —  Tom Njunge

TE  —  Dan Knapp

WR — Kyle Williams

QB — Danny Sullivan

RB — Dimitri Nance

WR — Chris McGaha

Arizona State defense

DE — James Brooks

DT — Lawrence Guy

DT — Saia Falahola

DE — Dexter Davis

OLB — Travis Goethel

MLB — Vontaze Burfict

OLB — Mike Nixon

CB — Terell Carr

FS — Jarrell Holman

SS — Ryan McFoy

CB — Pierre Singfield

California offense

WR — Marvin Jones

LT — Mike Tepper

LG — Matt Summers-Gavin

C — Chris Guarnero

RG — Justin Cheadle

RT — Mitchell Schwartz

TE — Anthony Miller

QB — Kevin Riley

RB — Jahvid Best

FB — Brian Holley

WR — Jeremy Ross

California defense

DE — Tyson Alualu

NG — Derrick Hill

DE — Cameron Jordan

OLB — Eddie Young

ILB — Devin Bishop

ILB — Mike Mohamed

OLB — D.J. Holt

CB — Syd’Quan Thompson

FS — Marcus Ezeff

SS — Brett Johnson

RC — Darian Hagan

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