UCLA is better than ASU.
Before there’s any focus on what happened Thursday night, that fact must be accepted. Everything said about the game must be brought through the filter of ASU is simply not as good. It shouldn’t be sugar-coated just because ASU made so many mistakes. UCLA forced those mistakes.
Three T’s: Turnovers, tackling and temperature.
I think we both know you didn’t need the exclusive perception of the sideline reporter to give you that detail on the first two. Those two issues were atrocious. Coach Todd Graham looked at me after the game and said, “That was embarrassing,” as soon as he walked to his office.
You can win with Mike Bercovici, but your margin of error is much smaller. Receivers have to fight for the ball. Defenders have to tackle. Opposing quarterbacks have to be sacked. Kickoff returners must be kept on their half of the field. The ball must be protected. Basically, others have to step up and no one did (please don’t read the over-blown stats thinking someone did have a good game).
Turnovers can happen with a quarterback long on smarts and low on experience. Bad tackling can happen with a young defense against a good team. What is impossible to explain is affect the heat had on the game.
Why did the heat completely drain the energy from the Devils offense but not UCLA? Was it cooler on their sideline? UCLA cornerbacks were ready for the snap before Jaelen Strong could get himself ready. The ASU offense couldn’t run at all near its fast pace as it waited for players to gather themselves. This cannot be justified. A team from the heavenly weather of Southern California should never be able to handle Arizona’s heat better than the State school of Arizona.
This loss did not eliminate ASU from the Pac-12 South Championship. Unfortunately, a loss next week at USC would.