1 Throw to the running backs. It’s no secret that ASU likes to blitz, a lot. One way QB Luke Falk can ease that pressure is by making quick passes to his running backs outside of the rush and letting them create plays with their feet. Jamal Morrow has been effective in the passing game this season, averaging 7.1 yards per reception and gaining more yards through the air (401) than on the ground (309).
2 Stack the tackle box. WSU has fared pretty well against the run with a rushing defense that ranks No. 5 in the Pac-12. The Cougars should double down on that success and do what they can to take running back D.J. Foster and QB Taylor Kelly’s running abilities out of the game.
3 Don’t be fooled by last week’s rushing stats. Oregon State ran over, around and through the Sun Devils last week, piling up 247 yards on the ground on just 37 attempts. But it would be unwise to assume that the Sun Devils are susceptible against any and all rushing offenses. Over the last four games prior to the OSU game ASU had allowed just 3.6 yards per rush against Notre Dame, Utah, Washington and Stanford, four teams with solid ground games.
4 Use tempo as a weapon. The Sun Devils no longer have Will Sutton or Caro Bradford to terrorize Pac-12 offensive linemen, but they do have a stable of talented players that can bring just as much heat on opposing offenses. What makes ASU especially effective is the ability to constantly rotate in talented players on the defensive line and wear the other team down. The Cougars can make it hard for ASU to get fresh lungs on the field by playing at a fast tempo, and going from one play to the next before the Sun Devils have an opportunity to substitute.
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