University of California Bears @ Arizona State University Sun Devils Saturday, September 24, 2016
Frank Kush Field, Tempe, Arizona
Score: California (41), Arizona State (51)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Davis Webb, QB, RS Senior, #7: Webb may be leading NCAA FBS in passing yardage but watching this game it felt as though there were plays left on the field. Webb has the luxury of playing in an offense that affords him 40-70 pass attempts a game; this one felt as though his delivery and timing was just a bit off. Webb forced receives to have to reach for throws instead of hitting them in the numbers on numerous occasions. His spotty placement cost Cal some RAC yardage. Webb may play in the same uniform as Jared Goff, but it doesn’t appear as though he has the same handle on the offense just yet. Webb benefits from a lot of quick patterns. I did appreciate the willingness to stand in the pocket and deliver against pressure in RPO packages this past week. Still appears to be acclimating to the offense to take full advantage of play calling and style of offense. Webb’s two late interceptions were crippling for Cal.
Khalfani Muhammad, RB, Senior, #29: Muhammad is a difficult placement. He’s an undersized player that doesn’t contribute in all phases of the game. His size is a complete liability in pass protection and he’s never been more than a rotational back.
Muhammad is a pleasant change of pace back at the college level and has foot quickness and lateral agility to cut and break pursuit in order to bust off a big gain; but he does not appear to have viable pro prospects. This game did nothing to change that opinion.
Arizona State Offense
Demario Richard, RB, Junior, #4: Richard was bottled up against the Cal front; but I’m more disappointed in what I saw from a traits perspective than the actual on field result. Richard did not offer much in the way of acceleration, open field speed or suddenness. Richard’s movement skills on this night struck me as pedestrian and lackluster. On the rare occasion Richard was afforded a crease he failed to show the burst to accelerate and get into open field. As a point of confirmation, Richard has only logged 6 rushes of over 10 yards in his 90 carries to date this season.
Kevin Ballage, RB, Junior, #7: Albeit in limited reps, Ballage I thought looked like clearly the superior back. Ballage was shaken up early in the game and finished with only 6 carries and 4 receptions. There’s a smoothness to the way he runs (both with and without the football) that is impressive for a player at that size (6020, 227 lbs). And then there’s the hurdle he put on a Cal defender inside the red zone inside the last 5 minutes of the game; which was a special play to make. I look forward to another opportunity to watch Ballage as a healthy player to assess his skills further when carrying the football.
Best Players on the Field:
Darius Allensworth, CB (California); Chad Hansen, WR (California); Kevin Ballage, RB
Demario Richard, RB; Evan Goodman, OT (Arizona State);