Everyone involved with the Arizona State football program is pretty fired up after their win over USC, especially their Los Angeles personnel.
After back-to-back losses, the Arizona State football program got back in the win column on Saturday with a 38-35 win over USC. With their most recent losses both coming by just one score, it was good to see the Sun Devils come out on the right side of a close game. N’Keal Harry was great, surely putting himself back into everyone’s NFL Mock Drafts, as was senior quarterback Manny Wilkins and sophomore running back Eno Benjamin. And while they’ll get all the headlines and chatter, Arizona State’s defense also deserves a lot of credit for their performance on the road.
Two guys who stuck out on Arizona State’s defense just happened to be true freshman — Merlin Robertson and Darien Butler. Oh, and by the way, they’re both LA kids who got a chance to shine at one of the area’s most prestigious venues.
Butler had a team-high eight tackles and added a fumble recovery that led to an ASU touchdown. As usual, Robertson played great and recorded his fifth sack of the season, four tackles, and one for a loss.
Leading up to the game, the homecoming angle was played up by Arizona State, and not just for Robertson and Butler. Linebacker’s coach Antonio Pierce is also from the area and was the guy who personally recruited Robertson to Tempe.
After the game, Pierce let the world know how excited the hometown boys were by tweeting out a picture of the three “Cali Devils” with a “Bang BANG BANG” caption. Both Robertson and Butler, along with a ton of other ASU supporters, passed along the message on their personal accounts.
Not too long after, he referred to the “Cali Devils” again in response to a tweet from ASU Assistant Jon Ray Simon Jr.
Perhaps the best part about this storyline is the fact that Butler wasn’t extended a scholarship offer from USC despite being a hometown recruit. Following the win, Rivals reporter Ralph Amsden revealed on Twitter that the true freshman has not forgotten USC’s slight.
It should be noted that Merlin Robertson did have an offer from USC, according to Rivals.
As a whole, the defense did bend at times but stood strong when it counted. Not only did they hold USC to just two conversions on third down but they opened the door for their offense in the second half by stopping the Trojans on five consecutive drives.
Next week, they’ll host a ranked Utah team at home. Hopefully, they can find bulletin board material against the Utes like they did before the USC game.