My STP compatriots can attest to my general sense of negativity in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. It really had the feeling that ASU had taken control of the game and that they were going to win. The second to last defensive stop really turned the game as it was tied at 45 at that point and up until that point in the second half, the Sun Devils were able to move the ball and score points.
– 109 –
Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard combined for 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns (three total rushing TDs for the team) last night. Last season, these two combined for nearly 250 and seven touchdowns. The Tech defense was able to cut the rushing production in half from 2016 to 2017. 3.8 yards per carry compared to 5.7. This kind of improvement, if sustained, should help Tech win games this year.
– +3 –
After two games, Tech remains +3 in turnover margin. Remaining on the plus side of this measure will ensure your offense is having more opportunities to score than your opponent. Tech forced two fumbles last night and recovered one, while committing its first turnover of the season on Nisby’s fumble. Regardless if he crossed the plane with the ball before fumbling or not, that was a Juco mistake that he’s going to have to clean up. I feel pretty confident in saying that he would have been able to score on that play had he kept churning his legs and falling forward. If not, that was second down and he would have had at least one more opportunity to score.
– 92 –
Your main two running backs racked up 92 yards on the ground. I would have liked to have seen Nisby carry the ball more than he did as well as fewer carries for Stockton. I’m not sure if it was a mental thing after the fumble but Nisby was held out for a while when I would have liked to see him come right back in and reestablish himself. We can beat the dead horse of Stockton running a stretch play on 4th and 1 instead of heading upfield, or running Nisby, but I really doubt Stockton is able to establish himself as the featured back with this offense.
– 18 –
Tech was able to run out to an 18-point lead and was able to maintain it through the first half. As a team looking to improve their record (and bring winning back to the program), this team has to learn how to put teams away. This may be on Kingsbury on game management issues as a growing head coach, but we saw Tech give up a 17-point lead twice to Oklahoma State at home twice a couple of years ago and the resounding sentiment then was that Kingsbury would learn from it. If this is any indication of his growth as a game manager, he hasn’t improved.
– 45, 494 –
Points and yards given up last night by the defense. It’s difficult to try to point to defensive improvement in a game where you give up those totals, but it is a slight improvement. Again, comparing to last season in this game, Tech gave up 68 points and 650+ yards. Even modest improvement can help this team make it back to bowl season and retain this coaching staff one more season.