There will be no shortage of emotion for the ASU football team when it charges out of Pat Tillman Tunnel for Friday’s game against UCLA.
With a chance to send their seniors out with a win in their last home game and an opportunity to remain bowl-eligible heading into a Dec. 6 tilt with rival UA, motivation shouldn’t be hard for the Sun Devils to find.
They key for ASU (4-6, 3-4 Pac-10) will be to harness the energy created by senior day and turn it into an early lead against the Bruins (4-6, 3-4).
In its last game against Washington State, ASU scored the contest’s initial points for the first time since its Sept. 13 loss to UNLV.
“If you can get some momentum at home, it gets the crowd going and gets everything going in the right direction,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “Hopefully we can do that. We haven’t done it enough.”
The Sun Devils have been outscored a combined 47-22 in the first quarter the season, but have tallied more total points than the opposition in every other frame.
“A lot of things happen in this game because of momentum,” junior wide receiver Kyle Williams said. “If we come out and get on top first, then their momentum breaks down; their morale breaks down and we can take advantage of that.”
The Sun Devils are coming off of their third by week of the season and Erickson said his players are antsy to get back on the field.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve played, so we’re anxious to get going,” Erickson said. “It’s nice coming off a win, so we’re excited to get back out on the football field.”
One senior who has already played his last game at Sun Devil Stadium is defensive tackle David Smith. He is continuing to suffer from a neck stinger and will not play in Friday’s home finale.
Starting in Smith’s place will be senior Paul ‘Unga.
Returning to the field for ASU will be freshman safety Clint Floyd, who has missed the last four games after suffering a lacerated kidney against USC on Oct. 11.
“Clint is going to play, how much I’m not sure,” Erickson said. “He’ll be involved in special teams for sure.”
Redshirt freshman linebacker Colin Parker (knee) will not play Friday.
Turkey Day plans
ASU will practice on Wednesday before taking up residence in the team hotel on Thursday.
Following a series of team meetings, there will be a Thanksgiving dinner for the players and staff, though not everyone is excited about the food plans.
“It will probably be good but it won’t be my mom’s food so [it] will be subpar,” Williams said.
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