The good, the bad & the unknown: Arizona State

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to reflect on the yearly October dismantling in Arizona.

The Good

The very beginning - It's hard to pull anything out of this, but don't forget that the opening minutes of the game were actually very encouraging. The Husky defense was getting pressure on Taylor Kelly, forcing three-and-outs and the Husky offense rolled on one drive, after that though...

The Bad

I am going to limit bullets here to three even though I could list about 100 bad things from the game, but overall it was an unmitigated disaster and a game that really reminded of the 2011 embarrassment at USC and the inexplicable 2012 disaster in October at Arizona.

Offensive line - It was maybe the worst performance I have ever witnessed by a Husky offensive line. They couldn't pass protect for a split second and couldn't make up for it with even a tiny bit of effective run blocking, mustering up an embarrassing -5 yards rushing. To produce that number against an equal Pac-12 opponent that was known for its weak run defense in the modern day of college football offenses is mystifying.

Keith Price & usage - Price is playing while very banged up and everyone appreciates that, and he is under intense metaphorical and physical pressure but if he is going to be out there, the Huskies are going to need to get more from him if they hope to beat decent teams. Even early in the game, before the offensive line became a sieve, Price missed wide open guys and it drew the attention of the Sun Devil defense as they realized that they could blitz Price and sell out to the run and not worry about him burning them. For the third-straight season, it appears that teams have decided that they aren't scared of Price beating them with accuracy or his feet at all and that allows them to simply attack the Husky backfield and it's very hard to succeed on offense when teams do that to you.

On a side note, Price was in the game very late when the game was out of hand and while I somewhat understand trying to keep his (and the offense's) confidence up by keeping him in there and scoring some points, it's a dangerous game that may have burned the Huskies with Price going down with even more injuries. It's an especially strange game, when you have young quarterbacks who are desperate need of experience and confidence building so they are ready if/when Price goes down.

Missed tackles - Like they have so many times in the past couple of seasons in tough situations, the Husky defense actually stood strong for a while before the offense hung them out to dry for about the sixth time in a row and the hinges came off. Then, all hell broke loose. Saturday, hell looked like defenders abandoning their fundamentals and over pursuing fakes and then missing tackles when they didn't. It was almost comical at one point when you would see Husky defenders rush at Marion Grice, or another Sun Devil player, and then watch them repeatedly fail to make the tackle. The defensive unit can play well in spurts, but when it starts to head south, they seem to fall apart.

The Unknown

Game plan - For the second straight week, I was really confused by one of the overall game plans for the Huskies, this time on offense. Obviously I'm not a coach, but it seemed like the Huskies came out on offense trying to set up the run with the pass and horribly backfired as instead, they simply put up a billboard early on that advertised that Price wasn't sharp and they couldn't pass block. It was like blood in the water and as soon as Arizona State started attacking the front with no abandon, it was too late to start trying to run with Sankey who only ended up with 13 carries. It's easy to play Wednesday Morning Quarterback now, but clearly the strategy backfired in a big way.

Health - Price was banged up coming into the game and left even further banged. Dexter Charles didn't play and clearly it didn't help up front and John Timu was carted off the field. Sarkisian already pointed to unclear statuses for all of them in regards to if they will play in the Cal game, but the good news is that it doesn't sound like any will be out for longer than the bye week or the Colorado game. However, with how bad the Huskies played last week, and with the apparent lack of confidence in Miles, you have to wonder if they might need these guys this week against Cal.

Sarkisian - It's like déjà vu all over again - the Huskies have lost three straight, including a blowout to Oregon and an absolute blasting by a Pac-12 foe that was supposed to be of equal strength. It looks as if Sarkisian has once again lost the fanbase, and will need to lead them to a major turnaround through the rest of the season to get things back to good. I think it is possible, but I am really dreading the possibility of another 7-6, which is very possible, considering the rest of the schedule.

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