Arizona State’s first real test of the 2013 season will come this Saturday as No. 20 Wisconsin makes a visit to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
The reigning Big Ten champs bring a 2-0 record to town after wins over Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech, having outscored their opponents 93-0 in those games.
“You look at Wisconsin, can Arizona State stop the run,” ESPN NCAA analyst Mark May told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday.
That was a problem at times for the Sun Devils last season, but it’s one they’ll have to correct by Saturday. The Badgers have three players who have already amassed more than 250 yards on the ground, paced by Melvin Gordon’s 284.
The sophomore is averaging 12.9 yards per tote, while senior James White is averaging 7.6 yards and freshman Corey Clement is picking up 8.6 yards per carry.
But just because the Devils need to stop the run does not mean they will, and for what it’s worth, May believes ASU will struggle to slow Wisconsin’s offense and handle their physical style of play.
“The best thing they could hope for,” he said of the Devils, “is it’s about 112 on Saturday.”
Of course, Saturday’s tilt is just the first in what is one of the toughest scheduling stretches any team will face, as ASU will then face No. 5 Stanford, USC and No. 21 Notre Dame. How they handle this quartet of games may very well determine how their season is remembered.
“I think it’s a major test for this program, to find out exactly where they are nationally, and I think it’s the first step,” May said. “They’re going to find out the next couple of weeks, but this is their first step for finding out how good they are.
“And if they do win this game, they’ll get a lot of national attention.”