Upsets ran rampant in the opening weekend of college football with eight FCS teams beating FBS schools. Arizona State football head coach Todd Graham is well aware of this as his team prepares to face FCS opponent Sacramento State on Thursday.
On Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday morning, Graham was asked if he was worried his team might be susceptible to an upset themselves in their first game of the season. While Graham is confident in the Sun Devils’ preparation, he acknowledged that any team is susceptible to a loss if they don’t execute on game day.
“It’s because teams beat themselves [with] turnovers, breakdowns in the kicking game,” Graham said. “I’ve watched several of those games, you can feel the panic as it gets late in the fourth quarter. You don’t want to put yourselves in that position. You want to respect your opponent because if you don’t you’re going to be humbled.”
Graham has plenty of respect for Sacramento State, even after its loss against San Jose State last Thursday. He believes the offense is their strength, despite being held scoreless in that game.
“They had the ball inside the five twice, turned the ball over both times which is very uncharacteristic of them,” Graham said. “They do a great job with their scheme offense. They’re going to spread the field. They’re a no-huddle [offense] so they move at a pretty good pace.”
Graham can relate to Sacramento State, as he was in the same spot in 2010 when his Tulsa team went into South Bend and beat Notre Dame 28-27.
“We were going into Notre Dame and that was the biggest win in the history of our school,” Graham said. “It makes a season for those teams. They’re hungry and there’s something to be said for that.”
He added that as long as his team can cut down on turnovers, a recurring theme from Graham all preseason, and avoid miscues in the kicking game they should be able to ward off the upset.