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Edwards: ASU run defense falters against SDSU, must improve in Pac-12

San Diego State running back Juwan Washington, right, runs with the ball as Arizona State safety Jalen Harvey (43), and defensive back Kobe Williams (5) defend during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


The San Diego State Aztecs chewed up more than 16 minutes of clock on three scoring drives in the second half to down the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday in San Diego.

They only attempted five passes after halftime, but ASU head coach Herm Edwards said they should have seen that coming.

“They came in there last year and beat them. I think they understood who they were playing against. It’s just a matter of understanding that they were going to keep running the football and if you’re wrong with your gap responsibilities, it becomes a hard day,” Edwards told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

In slowing down the run game, safety Jalen Harvey led the team with 13 total tackles while defensive tackle Renell Wren contributed with six total tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss. But SDSU still ran wild as running backs Juwan Washington and Chase Jasmin racked up a combined 250 yards rushing on 46 carries.

“It was bloody, especially in the second half,” Edwards said. “They do a nice job of running the power. They can block down on your inside people and kick out, your corners and safeties have to tackle. They got some good runners and they stick to their plan.”

Stopping the run game was crucial in the upset win against Michigan State a week prior when ASU held Spartan running back L.J. Scott to just 19 yards on seven carries.

ASU will face a similar challenge against the Washington Huskies Saturday as the Sun Devils take on running back Myles Gaskin, who led the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns last season with 21.

The Huskies, ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, average 156 rushing yards per game through three games this season and are yet another team that relies on a power running game.

So how do you slow down a power running team? Score early and score often.

“What you want to do is score enough points to get them out of their comfort zone,” Edwards said.

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