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Arizona State Sun Devils

ESPN analyst: Sun Devils must prove they can win on the road

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly hits the turf after he was was sacked by Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Notre Dame won 37-34. (AP Photo/LM Otero

One of the interesting parts about Arizona State's 5-2 start to the season is that the Sun Devils have yet to win a game away from home.

Their losses came at Stanford and in a neutral site game against Notre Dame, so really the team has yet to prove it can enter a hostile environment and leave with a victory.

Until the Sun Devils prove they can do that, ESPN NCAA Football analyst Tom Luginbill says it's tough to know just how good the team is.

"I think you're for real if you can win on the road," he told Doug and Wolf Thursday. "And that's, I think, a trait that championship-caliber teams generally have, and I think it's something that remains to be seen with ASU."

Todd Graham's squad will get another chance to prove itself Thursday as they head to Pullman, Washington to battle the Washington State Cougars. Though Mike Leach's team is near the bottom of the Pac-12 North standings, Luginbill sees the improved team as a stiff challenge for Devils.

"You can't take Washington State lightly because they can put up points," he said. "It's not a great place to play -- not because of the crowd, not because of the effect, but because of getting there."

Luginbill talked about the trip to Martin Stadium being one of the most taxing in the country, adding that you cannot underestimate how that wears on visiting players.

The last time Arizona State made this trip was in 2011, when the 6-3 Sun Devils lost to a 3-6 Cougars by a score of 37-27. Connor Halliday, then a freshman and still the team's starting quarterback, threw for 494 yards and four touchdowns on the evening.

The Sun Devils are once again favored to win this game, but history has proven that does not mean much.

"I think this is a football team that is talented but has some things to prove when it comes to being able to deal with success," Luginbill said of ASU. "That's as much, to me, about growing a program is dealing with adversity or when things don't go your way.

"But when people are telling you you're pretty good or expecting you to be pretty good, then going out and being pretty good. I think that's the next step for ASU."

About the Author

School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.


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