Season recap: Arizona State


Record: 6-6, 4-5 Pac-12

Arizona State had two seasons. The good one and the bad one. The bad one, however, is the one that counts because it got coach Dennis Erickson fired.

The good one was a 6-2 start that featured quality wins over Missouri and USC and had the fan base energized. The offense was high-powered with quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Cameron Marshall and the defense was fast and opportunistic.

Then the Sun Devils collapsed. They not only lost four in a row, they lost four in a row to teams they should have beaten. The biggest problem was an implosion from the defense and a sudden inability to play well in the fourth quarter.

There's more bad news. While the fan base is more focused on a meandering coaching search, the Sun Devils are getting ready to play in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against an outstanding Boise State team, one that feasts on the mental cramps of more physically talented AQ conference teams. If ASU doesn't show up, it's going to get embarrassed.

Offensive MVP: QB Brock Osweiler played better early in the season than late, but he certainly wasn't why things went haywire. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,641 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 128 yards and three scores.

Defensive MVP: On a defense that lacked consistency, LB Colin Parker was consistent. He had 67 tackles with six tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Turning point: How might have things gone for the Sun Devils if UCLA hadn't converted that third-and-29 play late in the fourth quarter? You don't like to reduce a season to one play, but that 33-yard pass play from one of the nation's worst passing offenses is like a big, blinking red light.

What's next: Well, for one, the Sun Devils need to hire a new coach, and it's fair to call their coaching search thus far uneven. That new coach will inherit a team with some nice young talent, most obviously Osweiler, but one that loses a number of seniors who played major roles. The trajectory of the program is impossible to measure because there are so many variables. But it is safe to say things are worse than they appeared on Oct. 29, when the Sun Devils seemed like certain South Division champions.