By Zach Walker
(15) Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Duke Blue Devils
Saturday – December 27 – 1:00 pm
Sun Bowl – El Paso
A look back at their seasons:
#15 Arizona State Sun Devils (9-3, 6-3 in PAC-12)
The Sun Devils went 4-2 against Top 25 opponents, beating Stanford, Utah in overtime, Notre Dame, and with some Sun Devil magic, beat the Trojans with a sick “Hail Mary” finisher at USC. The in-state rivalry between #13 ASU and #11 Arizona would end with ASU turning the ball over on downs with a little more than a minute to go in the game.
Duke Blue Devils (9-3, 5-3 in ACC)
Duke lost their conference opener at Miami, before winning four straight ACC games. The Blue Devils lost a one-point game at home against Virginia Tech, followed up with a huge 25 point home loss to North Carolina.
Players to watch out for:
#15 Arizona State Sun Devils
DL Marcus Hardison – Hardison has the size and numbers to possibly have a go at the NFL draft. Six foot five inches, 298 pounds, with comparable numbers. 14 tackles for loss, ten sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. That’s massive output, from a massive player.
S Damarious Randall – Leads the team in tackles (101) and has nine and a half tackles for loss, and has three picks taking one back to the house.
WR Jaelen Strong – Strong is going into the NFL draft following this game, and is projected to be a first round wide receiver. Six foot four inch, 205 pounds, he has the size mismatch going for him. Averaging nearly 100 yards receiving per game, and has ten touchdowns.
RB D.J. Foster – The team’s second best receiver, with 59 catches, 646 yards, and three touchdowns. As the top back for the Sun Devils, Foster has a five and a half yards per carry average, with nine touchdowns, and eclipsed the 1000 yard mark rushing for the season.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils’ defense: The Duke defense is a strong unit, allowing only 20.6 points per game and have 11 interceptions and have only allowed 12 touchdowns thrown. Three players on the Duke defense have over 100 tackles on the season. The leader, linebacker David Helton has 125 tackles and five for loss. Safety DeVon Edwards has four forced fumbles, 119 tackles, and ten passes defended. The second safety, Jeremy Cash, has 10 and a half tackles for loss, five and a half sacks, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles.
WR Jamison Crowder – Crowder is a lightning bug, at five foot nine inches, 175 pound and is usually on the receiving end of Boone passes. Crowder makes serious threats to break the game with every time he touches the rock, averaging ten yards per punt return, and has 942 yards on the season.
QB Anthony Boone – Boone needs to be much better than he’s played recently, to beat the Sun Devils. He has 17 touchdowns, to only seven interceptions, but is far south of the 60 percent completion mark with 56.9%. Boone does have the size to be a big run threat, and has five ground touchdowns.
Prediction: Arizona State 30 – Duke 21
The “Devil” bowl should be a very solid matchup, with both teams finding the endzone early, but the defenses bolting down late in the game.