Bowl Game Prep: Arizona State Defense

Will Sutton (Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

GoMids.com continues its analysis of Arizona State. There will be a look at the keys to the game nearer the time, but before then we are going to find the strengths, and weaknesses, of their offense, defense, and special teams. We have already covered the offense so now it is the turn of the Sun Devils defense.

Pass Defense – A

It is a little ironic that Arizona State will be bringing one of the best pass defenses in the country to a Bowl Game which features a Navy team who really don't want to throw the ball at all if they can help it. The Sun Devils rank 12th nationally against the pass giving up under 180 yards a contest. What is more Arizona State are very opportunistic defensively when the ball is in the air and their 20 interceptions on the season ranks 4th in the FBS. Add in the fact that they have only given up 21 touchdowns on the season and you have a unit which can legitimately claim to be in the top tier.

Rush Defense - C

Thankfully for Navy they will be attacking the area of the ASU defense which is not as strong. The rush defense of the Sun Devils is only ranked 76th in the country and they give up 176 yards per game. When you add in the fact that these yards were given up against Pac-12 schools that are not exactly known for running the ball and you have an avenue for Navy to exploit.

Arizona State was especially bad against teams with winning records. In those five games they allowed an average of 258 yards on the ground at over 5 yards a carry and gave up 10 touchdowns.

Points Allowed - B

Ranking 41st in the country in points allowed is pretty solid under any circumstances. When you are ranking that highly, and only allowing 24 points per game, in points happy league like the Pac-12, then your defense is playing at a pretty high level. They even managed to keep Oregon under 50 which was not any easy accomplishment in 2012.

Final Thoughts

One player Navy will really have to be aware of on game day in junior defensive tackle Will Sutton. Sutton is that rare tackle who is solid in the run game but excels rushing the passer. He has 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks on the season and was voted the best defensive lineman in the Pac-12 by the offensive linemen in the league.

If Navy can keep him under control you would have to say that overall the matchup on this side of the ball is one that favors the Mids. ASU can certainly be run on and they have not faced an option attack all year. If Navy can get rolling this defense will give up big chunks of yardage in a hurry.

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