USC will head to Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday for their first road game of the season. Arizona State is coming off a devastating 17-14 upset loss to Illinois on the road, a game in which it repeatedly beat itself with untimely penalties and inopportune turnovers.
This week’s opponent stat to watch is 11 — the Sun Devils’ national rank for penalties incurred through the first three games of the season. Arizona State has been flagged 24 times (eight per game) for a ghastly total of 241 yards, good the seventh highest total nationally.
These penalties, in part, ultimately cost the ‘Devils their third win of the season and a Top 25 ranking in Champaign, Ill.. A week after amassing 110 penalty yards on 12 different flags and still managing to pull out a victory against Missouri, ASU’s 8 penalties against the Illini proved too much to overcome. Add those eight flags to the three costly turnovers committed by the Devils’ offense and you have 11 miscues that could have been avoided.
Arizona State, one of the most penalized teams in the nation a year ago, must cut down on its mistakes if it hopes to score a victory in its first Pac-12 contest. USC will come into Tempe riding an 11 game win streak against Arizona State, and the Sun Devils would love nothing more than put that run to bed and save coach Dennis Erickson’s job in the process.