Posted by Bryan Fischer
ARIZONA STATE WON. By forcing USC (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) to beat themselves. The nasty Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0) defense forced four turnovers and broke the Trojans' back every time they had momentum. The offense picked up key third downs and kept the ball moving down the field without turning the ball over themselves. Every phase of the game contributed to the win as well, with three touchdowns coming on the ground, two through the air and one on defense.
HOW ARIZONA STATE WON: Solid play on offense and a turnover-producing defense. ASU still allowed nearly 400 yards of offense to the Trojans but just when it seemed like momentum was shifting, hard-hitting linebacker Vontaze Burfict or another defender made big play. Anytime you're +4 in the turnover category, chances are there's a 'W' next to your team's name in the box score at the end.
WHEN ARIZONA STATE WON: After USC had put together back-to-back touchdown drives, Arizona State scored 22 unanswered points to put the game away. The key turning point came when Greg Smith sacked Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley and forced a fumble which the defense recovered. After that, Cameron Marshall punched it into the end zone for two scores and Tempe started to rock in the desert heat.
WHAT ARIZONA STATE WON: The path to the Pac-12 championship game is clear of perhaps the biggest obstacle on the schedule in the South division. USC already had a win over Utah and with UCLA, Colorado and rival Arizona all looking shaky so far early in the season, it looks like the Sun Devils are living up to preseason expectations.
WHAT USC LOST: The faint hope of claiming the Pac-12 South title. Ineligible for the post-season and the first ever division title, there were hope among some in the USC locker room that the Trojans would be able to prove doubters wrong and show what they could do with their backs against the wall. With that likely not an option (depending on what ASU does), Lane Kiffin will have to retool and refocus his team as they push further into conference play.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Dennis Erickson was 1-8 against USC at three different schools coming into the night while Arizona State had lost 11 straight to USC.
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