Arizona State Football: 5 Things We've Learned Through Week 6 Win at Utah
The No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils moved up to 5-1 on their season with a 35-14 victory over Utah on the road Saturday, keeping them atop of the Pac-12 South.
With this win, the Sun Devils are poised for two things.
One, they are going to certainly move up some spots in the polls, and potentially could be in the 15-20 range when the initial BCS rankings come out.
The second is that the Pac-12 South is theirs to lose.
The Sun Devils are currently leading the Pac-12 South at 3-0, with USC behind at just 2-1. The Trojans can't make the championship game due to infractions, so unless the Sun Devils face a total meltdown, they should find themselves representing the South in the inaugural championship game.
After the handling of Utah in Week 6, this is what we have learned about the Sun Devils through half of the season...
Brock Osweiler Is the Real Deal
Brock Osweiler proved once again that he was the real deal in the Sun Devils' win against Utah.
Osweiler completed 25-of-41 passes for 325 yards and three passing touchdowns. After four turnovers in Week 5, Osweiler didn't turn the ball over once all game.
Not only was he effective through the air, Osweiler also gained 34 yards on the ground on seven carries. One of those runs was for 25 yards, which set up for an ASU touchdown.
On the season so far, Osweiler has completed 13 passing touchdowns for 1677 yards (280 yards/game). Osweiler does have six turnovers on the season, but it hasn't slowed the Sun Devils down to a 5-1 start.
Osweiler has been effective, leading the Sun Devils to a 3-0 Pac-12 start, but he will seal his legitimacy with a win over Oregon in Week 7.
Cameron Marshall Is the Man and the Sun Devils Could Be 6-0 Right Now
In Week 3, the Sun Devils lost to Illinois 17-14. That game has stood to be their only loss on the season thus far.
Against Illinois, the Sun Devils were short of leading running back Cameron Marshall. Marshall did play the game, but he was slowed by injuries.
If Marshall wasn't hurt in Week 3, the Sun Devils quite possibly could be 6-0 at this point in the season.
Since the Illinois game, Marshall has six touchdowns in three games, including 261 total yards.
Marshall only had 47 yards against Utah, being his most ineffective game within the stretch. I wouldn't let that worry Sun Devil fans, as Arizona State was just able to expose the Utes secondary with an incredible passing attack.
Upon Marshall's return, the Sun Devils have been able to open up their attack from beyond the passing game. Watch for them to keep up the balanced pass/rush attack.
The Sun Devils' Defense Is Dangerous
The Arizona State defense has been nothing short of spectacular as of late.
In their last three games, the Sun Devils defense has forced the other team turn the ball over 14 times.
Five of those turnovers came against Utah.
The Sun Devils defense has been all over the field this season, with a total of 18 turnovers in their six games this season.
They also have been extremely efficient on third down, holding the Utes to 4-for-13 on Saturday.
The Sun Devils held USC to just 1-of-9, but the big test is still No. 9 Oregon in Week 7.
Oregon is averaging 50.7 points per game, which is staggering. Their offense will be in question though due to a big loss to their team in running back LaMichael James.
With the loss of James, expect the Sun Devils to keep their level of defense up, as they should continue to force even more turnovers.
Dennis Erickson Has Bought Himself Another Year, At Least
With the Sun Devils at a 5-1 start, the questionable status of Coach Dennis Erickson has been solidified for at least another year.
Many fans were beginning to get fed up with Erickson and his coaching style, but with the things rolling for the Sun Devils, it seems that Erickson's job is safe as long as the Sun Devils don't have a major melt down.
Penalties seem to now be an issue of the past, and finally the defense is looking like what a Sun Devil defense has been known to be.
The offense has also been effective, giving the Sun Devils a nice cushion in essentially blowing out their last three opponents in the final score.
Dennis Erickson looks to be taking this Sun Devils team to its highest point in his tenure thus far.
The Sun Devils Can Not Only Beat Oregon, but They Can Compete with the Best
The Utah Utes are not that good, but the Sun Devils handed them a pretty nice defeat on the road.
The Sun Devils were extremely effective on defense, only allowing the Utes to score on their first drives of each half. Besides for those scores, it was three and outs or turnovers.
The defense has been effective against USC, Oregon State and Utah, so expect them to carry this into Week 7 at Oregon and beyond.
The Sun Devils are averaging 35.4 points per game, proving that they can come in and light up the board week in and week out.
If the Sun Devils can beat Oregon, which presents itself as less of a challenge with LaMichael James out, they should be moving up nicely in the rankings.
The rest of the schedule doesn't pose any threats, as after Week 7, the ASU only faces Cal, Arizona, Colorado, Washington State and UCLA.
As they should finish those games out, the Sun Devils will be likely matched up to play Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game.
Stanford will be the Sun Devils' biggest test thus far, but they have proven game after game that they can handle the most pressured situations.
With a win over Stanford or whoever represents the Pac-12 North, the Devils will get a chance at a BCS game. If they make it that far, don't be surprised as these Sun Devils are ready to win now.