Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (neutral site)
Notes: Arizona State beat four of six Top 25 teams in 2014.
Arizona State will have to fill the void left by starting quarterback Taylor Kelly (59.4 % 22 TD’s 4 INT’s). Senior quarterback Mike Bercovici filled in for Kelly last season and performed very well in games against USC and Stanford. Bercovici finished the 2014 season completing 61.8% of his passes for 1,445 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. During a five game winning streak last year against USC, Stanford, Washington, Utah and Notre Dame (opponents combined record 42-24 .636 %) the Sun Devils averaged 407 total yards per game. During that span the Sun Devils defense stepped up and forced 10 turnovers against their opponents. On the year, ASU finished +14 in turnover margin and played very well on the road or on a neutral field site with a +9 margin. The Sun Devils were 5-2 on the road or on a neutral field site and outscored their opponents 256 to 199. ASU’s weak link was the offensive line which allowed 39 sacks (ranked 109th in the nation) during the 2014 season.
Texas A&M wore down late in the season in dropping five of seven games down the stretch. During a three game losing streak to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama-the Aggies were outscored 142 to 51 and committed a total of 7 turnovers. On the year, the Aggies finished -7 in turnover margin and had issues at home with ball security finishing the 2014 season with a -7 turnover margin at home. Texas A&M had a combined 5-2 record on the road or on a neutral field site last year and finished with an overall 3-3 record at home. The Aggies averaged 32.6 points per game at home last year and averaged 37.4 points per game on the road or on a neutral field site. During the last four games of the regular season in November, the Aggies averaged 26.5 points per game and averaged 316 total yards per game (138 yards less than their season average of 454 total yards per game). More importantly, the Aggies were outscored 61 to 30 in the second half of those four games. On the year, Texas A&M finished with 36 team sacks which was the 22nd best sack total in the nation.
Stats courtesy of ESPN, NCAA and CFBstats.com
Listen to Joe live on Yahoo Sports Radio every Saturday 10-11am EST.
Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America), Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com. He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson (www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: