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What's Your Deal, Arizona State?

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It's been a roller-coaster season for Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet and the Sun Devils.
It's been a roller-coaster season for Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet and the Sun Devils.
Wherein I profile some of Arizona State's key players in the week leading up to Saturday's game.

What's Steven Threet's deal?

The junior has the type of numbers (17 touchdown, 15 interceptions) you might expect from the quarterback of a 4-5 team. While leading the nation's 16th-ranked passing offense, Threet, who started his collegiate career at Michigan, has had some great performances (26-for-32, 300 yards, 3 TDs against Washington State) and some abysmal games (8-for-16, 125 yards, 2 interceptions against Cal). Threet was his typical inconsistent self in last week's 34-33 loss at USC, throwing for three touchdowns and two interceptions. "Too much up and down," Threet said during this week's conference with the media. "There have even been some good first half, bad second half, bad first half, good second half. Just too much up and down. I just need to play more consistent and help the team more." Yep, that about covers it.

What's Deantre Lewis's deal?

The true freshman is from Norco, Calif., where he played at the same high school that produced Toby Gerhart. Todd Gerhart, Toby's father, was Lewis's head coach. At 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, Lewis isn't built in the same mold as Gerhart. His breakaway speed, not his ability to flatten would-be tacklers, is his best asset. Running behind an offensive line that features Garth Gerhart, Toby's brother, Lewis leads the Sun Devils with  516 yards rushing and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Earlier this season, Lewis rushed for at least 100-yards in three consecutive games, becoming the first Sun Devil to accomplish that feat since 2003. The performances earned him a reference as Deantre the Century-on in ASU's game notes.

What's Vontaze Burfict's deal?

The linebacker was named Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2009 after finishing second on the team in total tackles with 69, and has already matched that total this season. Burfict has established a reputation as a dirty player and the Sun Devil who opposing teams' fans love to hate. Head coach Dennis Erickson benched Burfict after he headbutted Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz in a 31-28 loss to the Beavers, while Oregon fans took issue with Burfict apparently faking injury as a tactic to slow Chip Kelly's offense during the Ducks' come-from-behind win in Tempe. Burfict was flagged for a personal foul against USC last week, but Erickson has no intentions of benching him against the Cardinal. "He just hit a guy late," Erickson said. "They both came and hit each other and they threw the flag. It wasn’t like he went looking for somebody to hit. It’s just part of the game and we had four penalties in that football game. We haven’t had anything like that in a long time." In part because of Burfict's occasional lapses in judgment, the Sun Devils rank 107th in penalty yards this season.

What's Thomas Weber's deal?

It's been a brutal year for Weber and Arizona State's special teams. In September, the Sun Devils scored a touchdown late in fourth quarter at Wisconsin, but Weber's extra point attempt was blocked. The Badgers survived, 20-19. The day before the USC game, ASU punter Trevor Hankins was charged with suspicion of driving while impaired to the slightest degree. Hankins was suspended for Saturday's game, leaving the punting duties to Weber. The senior struggled in his expanded role, averaging only 36 yards per punt. The Trojans blocked an extra point attempt and returned it for a two-point conversion, and Weber later missed the potential game-winning field goal. Weber, who made 24 of his 25 field goal attempts as a freshman, is 10-for-17 in his final season. Hankins will return against Stanford.