I would be doing the Sun Devil football program a disservice if I said they haven’t dominated Big Ten opponents at Sun Devil Stadium over the years, because they have, improving to 8-0 after Saturday’s 45-14 destruction of Illinois.
Here’s some numbers that you might already know, and if you haven’t heard them, you’re about to: Arizona State is 0-5 all-time versus teams from the SEC, which their next opponent – the Missouri Tigers – are now a part of.
Sun Devil fans I’m sure vividly remember “The Blackout” last September in Tempe, Ariz., as Arizona State sent Missouri back to Columbia, Mo., with a 37-30 overtime defeat.
That was a special night for the program, but the Tigers are out for revenge this coming Saturday, as they are the ones who take the turn as host for the Sun Devils, who look to go 3-0 on the season with a victory.
1990 was the last time Arizona State traveled to Columbia, Mo., and they came away losers, by a 30-9 count. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 21 at the time.
Head coach Todd Graham knows two of the basic fundamentals – ball security and discipline – will be essential if Arizona State expects to fly home as victors after the game.
Graham says its evident by the three turnovers against Illinois, that the team isn’t being conscious with the ball, which he says can prove to be fatal if they do it again on Saturday night.
“If we do that this week, if we turn the ball over one time, we’re putting ourselves in jeopardy to come out on the short end of the stick,” Graham said.
Graham says the team has to maintain its discipline, especially playing in an SEC environment, with SEC referees, which can add to the already hostile situation they’ll be facing.
“You better make sure you’re very, very disciplined about what you’re doing,” Graham said.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly echoed his head coach’s sentiments, also adding that he and his teammates need to block out any and all distractions that the road presents.
“Our guys gotta stay focused, have a great week of practice and once we get down there, just continue to keep that focus in the hotel and also on the field,” Kelly said.
Kelly is well aware of how loud it will be at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field which will pose a challenge for the offensive linemen to avoid penalties and stay together as a group.
“They gotta hold their water and stay focused with that,” Kelly said.
One young man who loves to play on the road is linebacker Brandon Magee.
If you’ve ever met or been around Magee, you know that there’s not many things he doesn’t like.
Magee says he welcomes the opposing crowds and all that comes along with them.
“I get fired up,” Magee said. “I like going on road games. I love when they [opposing crowds] talk mess to me, it makes me want to hit them even harder. Here they’re so nice, like ‘Go Brandon,’ over there they’re like ‘I hate you,’ so I like that, I want them to talk smack.”