Posted September 17, 2012 on
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(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By JOHN MARSHALL AP College Football Writer Arizona State coach Todd Graham has harped on three things almost since the day he arrived in Tempe: ball protection, discipline and special teams.
The Sun Devils failed on all three counts in a road loss to Missouri over the weekend.
After two easy wins to open the season, Arizona State had four turnovers, nearly doubled its season total of penalties and had a disastrous day on special teams in the 24-20 loss to the Tigers on Saturday.
Facing adversity for the first time under Graham, the Sun Devils need to get things straightened out quickly this week.
Up next is their Pac-12 opener at home against Utah, which lost quarterback Jordan Wynn but has a big, physical defense.
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Following the first loss of the season for Arizona State, many came away impressed with how the team continued to fight and rally in the second half. The second half charge on offense was led by starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, who was able to shake off a slow start and come close to leading the Sun Devils to an improbable comeback.
There is no question that the ASU wide receivers had an especially rough outing in the 24-20 loss to Missouri. One of the members of that group, Kevin Ozier, says that the lessons learned from that contest can certainly help the Sun Devils bounce back as they prepare for the Utah game and the beginning of Pac-12 play.
On a defense that has already showcased several playmakers this year, one of the pleasant surprises of that group has been Junior College transfer Chris Young. Coming into fall camp as a safety, it took Chris Young some time to convert to the “spur” hybrid linebacker position with the Sun Devils. Now that he has settled in at the position the results are speaking for themselves.
There is never an easy way to take a loss. Period. This game had its moments and was filled with just about every type of test a football team will see on the road. Adversity was presented to the Sun Devils from the opening kickoff and did not go away until the clock ran down. Arizona State coming into Saturday’s game had played well on all cylinders and really done so with elite execution.
CHAMPAIGN – A week after a dismal showing against Arizona State, the Illinois defense pitched a shutout against Charleston Southern.