“It was fun but at the same time the result didn’t come out the way I wanted it to be but at the same time it was fun,” Sullivan commented about Saturday’s game. “It’s a new week, got to move on.”
This disheartening loss comes when the Sun Devils should have had the most momentum, coming off the thrilling win over the Washington Huskies last Saturday in Tempe. The team, hoping to ride the wave and secure another win in Palo Alto, was greatly disappointed.
“Stuff that happened the week before doesn’t matter,” Sullivan admitted. “Especially in this conference every week is a grind. You can be a good team the first week and completely change the next week just on who you’re playing and how they try to exploit you.”
The Sun Devils came out against Stanford unable to get past a very physical and experienced defense. Although there were many opportunities for the unit to score, they consistently came up short.
“We knew they were going to have a different mentality after the last two weeks,” Sullivan said. “Coach Harbaugh does a great job of that and their senior leadership is pretty good on that team and they came out with a good game plan. They kept trying to double our outside guys and they kept putting Michael Thomas, number three, trying to wall off Chris inside and he did a good job of it. They covered our guys a lot.
“They didn’t blitz as much as we probably thought they were going to. Like I said, the doubling of the outside guys was kind of new, they hadn’t really done that and we came out in the second half and exploited it and took advantage and then they made those adjustments.”
The absence of wide receiver, Kyle Williams forced Coach Erickson to adjust his offensive squad, which may have affected the success of the group.
“A little bit just because we had to shuffle around personnel,” the senior stated. “And going with four-wide sets its kind of different not having him in there but at the same time Jamal was in there trying to step up and make plays, so it was a little bit but not too much.”
Not only did the Arizona State offense struggle, for the first time this season the Sun Devils faced an opponent that challenged their defense which gave up over nearly 300 yards in only 30 minutes.
“It was tough, especially because they were getting frustrated also,” the signal caller stated. “Especially when Stanford ate up the clock, it was about thirty-seven and a half minutes, that’s tough, especially when they’re on the field for that long. They are trying to make plays, trying to stop them on third down but they just couldn’t do it. It’s hard to see them fight so hard but come up so short.”
The next opponent the Sun Devils will face is the California Golden Bears on Halloween day. The team will need to put the loss behind them and execute throughout the five remaining games, beginning Saturday.
“If you dwell on the week before you’re going to be in trouble,” Sullivan commented. “You just have to forget about the past and don’t worry about it and look forward to the next opponent. This week it’s Cal, its Homecoming, we have a 12:30 start, that’s all I’m worried about. We will be ready to go.”
Sullivan and the offensive group will prepare this week for an experienced California defense.
“They are very fast, they’re tough, and they’re experienced,” the quarterback noted. “The Oregon game doesn’t really show much, they are much better than what they showed in that game. Of course they have two good corners outside especially with Syd’Quan Thompson. He has been around and they are going to start riding that wave to get back to the top and get themselves recognition. They broke the rankings again and I’m sure they’re looking forward to keep going.”
Although the next five weeks will be nothing short of a challenge for Coach Erickson and his squad, the resiliency of his team is something that Sullivan believes they can depend on.
“I think we’ve had some tough times already this year but we’ve fought through them.” Sullivan said. “I expect the same coming off a tough loss last week; I expect us to come out fired up and ready to go.”