We take a look at Arizona St.'s surprisingly effective and balanced offense.
Arizona St. not only lost it's coaching staff in the offseason, they also lost their quarterback in Brock Osweiler who has moved on to the NFL. Osweiler was a big loss- literally and figuratively, but ASU's offense has performed well thus far. As discussed in Part 1 of the preview, ASU is averaging about 37 ppg this year with a balanced attack that is gaining 168 ypg through the air and 188 ypg on the ground.
Taylor Kelly (6'1 202 So.) won the starting job in the offseason, and he's played well this season. He's completing 66.7% of his passes and has tallied 1693 yards with 15 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. He also has 252 rushing yards and leads the team with rushing attempts, and has lost approximately 115 yards due to sacks.
Highly touted Michael Eubank (6'6 233 RS-FR) backs up Kelly and has seen action in every game. On the season, he's completed 26/40 passes for 270 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but his size and running ability make him a very dangerous playmaker. While most of his passing statistics came in mop up duty against Oregon, he's carried the ball a few times in each game and has season totals of 39 times for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Cameron Marshall (5'11 223 Sr.) starts and leads ASU in carries out of the backfield with 69, but Arizona St. spreads the ball around a lot on the ground. On the season, Marshall has 288 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Behind Marshall, ASU has two very capable backs in D.J. Foster (5'11 183 Fr.) and JUCO transfer Marion Grice (6'0 199 Jr.). Foster leads the team with 310 rushing yards on 54 carries and has scored twice, while Grice has carried the ball 45 times for 254 yards and 5 touchdowns. Foster and Grice are both very good receivers out of the backfield as well; Foster has 22 catches for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns while Grice has 16 receptions for 219 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Deantre Lewis, who was great two seasons ago as a freshmen firecracker redshirted last season year after suffering a gun shot wound, has only 4 carries this year but is an explosive player.
ASU lost Gerell Robinson, Mike Willie, and Aaron Pﬂugrad to graduation, and most of their production in the passing game has been made up by running backs and tight ends. Starting in their place at wide receiver are last year's back-ups, Kevin Ozier (6'0 201 So.), and Rashad Ross (6'0 164 Sr.), and Jamal Miles (5'10 184 Sr.), who played last year at F in Mazzone's offense. Ozier has 16 catches for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Ross has 17 catches for 258 yards and 1 touchdown. Miles has only 14 catches for 179 yards and has yet to score. He touched the ball 89 times last year, and he really hasn't gotten on track this season.
The Sun Devils have converted Chris Coyle (6'3 235 Jr.) to tight end from wide receiver, and he leads the team in receptions with 35 and yardage with 442. Marcus Washington (6'0 221 So.) is the listed backup, but he has not touched the ball this season.
ASU started seniors at 4 of the 5 starting positions last year, and this year is a bit of a rebuilding project for the Sun Devil offensive line. Despite the changes, the offensive line has performed pretty well. The unit has given up 19 sacks and 49 tackles for loss, which is roughly same pace the senior laden offensive gave them up last season. They've also led ASU to roughly 188 ypg on the ground, and it's pretty clear that the offensive line is outperforming the preseason expectations.
The lone returning starter on the line is RG Andrew Sampson (6'3 300 Sr.). Jamil Douglas (6-4 284 So.) starts at the LG spot, and Kody Koebensky (6-4 300 Jr.) will start at C. On the outside, ASU starts Evan Finkenberg (6'4 290 Jr.) at LT and Brice Schwab (6'7 302 Sr.) at RT. None of these players stand out individually, but they have performed well this year.
That concludes Part 2 of the Arizona St. Sun Devil Preview. Fire away with any additional comments and observations, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for Part 3 of the Preview, where we'll take a look at the Sun Devil defense and special teams.