Analysis: Arizona State 55, Notre Dame 31

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello Follow me … @RichCirminiello  Some young teams never recover from an old-fashioned, early-season beatdown. Arizona State, on the

    November 8, 2014

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello 
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello 

    Some young teams never recover from an old-fashioned, early-season beatdown. Arizona State, on the other hand, used its 62-27 loss to UCLA back Sept. 25 as a turning point in its season. And the fact that the Sun Devils haven’t lost since, despite being without their quarterback for a time, is testament to the quality of the coaching staff. 

    That ASU leads the Pac-12 South and is still in the hunt for a playoff berth has everything to do with the coaches, from head coach Todd Graham to offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. These guys knew they’d be leading an inexperienced team in 2014, especially on defense, which somewhat explains the slow start. 

    But they never deviated from the playbook or the philosophy, which call for an attacking mentality on both sides of the ball. And that confidence in the system—as well as the ability to teach—really paid dividends this afternoon against Notre Dame. 

    Everett Golson was awful in Tempe. Buh-bye-Heisman contention awful. But his five turnovers had everything to do with the incessant pressure dialed up by Patterson, whose youthful defense is growing up with all of the suddenness of a time-lapse video. 

    Arizona State earned its signature win today in Tempe, buckling in the second half, but eventually exposing the Irish as a playoff pretender. Now, things get really interesting for the Sun Devils, who’ve got three regular season games and a possible Dec. 5 date with Oregon at Levi’s Stadium to prove that they’re one of the four best teams in America. 

    By Phil Harrison

    There were signs of trouble in South Bend all year. There was the impressive loss where the Irish outplayed Florida State, but other than that, there were inconsistencies on defense and too many mistakes on offense. Then, last week, Navy nearly came all the way back to ruin the party for the Golden Domers.

    Up until today, the team made enough plays when it counted to keep the conversation going for inclusion in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

    Not anymore.

    A team built too much around the play of its quarterback is destined to struggle when its signal caller doesn’t have it. That’s exactly what happened to the Irish today. Everett Golson threw four picks — two returned for touchdowns — and despite over 400 yards through the air, it was all too one dimensional. The hole was too big, and the run was never established at the start to keep the ASU defense off balance. 

    This game was big in regards to the national landscape, and with it, another team is likely out of the equation. With two losses, it’ll take the equivalent of college football Armageddon for for the Irish to get back in it. On the other sideline, Arizona State is still alive and kicking, and if it can win out has the schedule to get to the big dance.

    It’s should be a fun ride in the Pac-12 the rest of the way.

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