(Photo: ASU Athletics)
The Devils will be in the City of Angels on Saturday to earn the Pac-12 South title. The offensive line is going to contribute a lot to the successes of quarterback Taylor Kelly against UCLA’s pass rush. The Bruin’s defense includes arguably one of the best pass rushers in the Pac-12: Senior linebacker Anthony Barr. Barr has posted seven sacks this season (No. 5 in the Pac-12) for 45-yards lost, two against Oregon.
“I think he’s [Anthony Barr] a great pass rusher and great player. We have to know where he is but at the same time we have to do things that are going to make them adjust to us,” redshirt junior right tackle Jamil Douglas said. “We can’t be worried about where he’s at all the time. We’re just going to play our game.”
Arizona State’s offensive line has allowed 27 sacks so far this season, eight in the last two games against Utah and Oregon State. The line hasn’t gone a single game without allowing a sack.
“I think it’s going to be a hostile environment; the crowd’s going to be loud,” Douglas said. “I just think we need to communicate so we’re all on the same page.”
The past two games, Kelly was 41 for 68 with two interceptions for 327 yards and only one passing touchdown. For Kelly, those aren’t exactly the numbers people expect and it’s not going to allow for a Sun Devil win against UCLA.
“He’s our quarterback,” Douglas said. “We take pride in protecting them and letting him do the things he’s able to do.”
That’s exactly what the offensive line needs to remember going into Saturday. They have not allowed more than three sacks in any game except for Notre Dame and Utah where they allowed six. However, Jamil Douglas and company are aware of their goals ahead of them: Pac-12 South champions and eventually Pac-12 champions.
“We’ve come so far and we’ve put in so much work,” Douglas said. “It’s what we’ve been talking about since everyone got here. I know the guys are ready and we expect to win and it’s just going to mean the world to us when we do.”