The Arizona State Sun Devils kicked off the season with a home game against Kent State on a mucky hot Thursday night in Tempe Arizona. This game was the tune up game coming off training camp, and also a game to measure how the new look Devils will look in 2019.
There is no secrete that this game was not anticipated because of the opponent, but because of the start of a true freshman at quarterback Jayden Daniel. The game got off to a slow start as the Devils were able to muster up a 10 point lead on the freshman quarterback Daniels first touchdown pass to running back Eno Benjamin.
It was very apparent that Kent State’s game plan was to stop the power running of Benjamin as they stacked the box and held him to 25 yards on 8 carries in quarter number one. Held the potential Heisman candidate to a tough earned 102 yards on 22 carries, and 3 receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. It was very weird to look out there and see the new faces replace the old familiar ones in key positions, like at wide receiver and quarterback.
Coming in along with the anticipation of seeing a freshman start at quarterback was the same for the wide receiver position, in which guys were going to standout and step into the shoes of the great one before them in N’keal Harry. Brandon Aiyuk stepped up and showed out that he is the next guy to hold down the number one receiver reins for this team, as he looked electric all night. Catching a 76 yard touchdown in the third quarter to open the game up to a blowout as was expected, ending his night with 4 receptions for 140 yards and that big touchdown.
The nights focus was the play of the new number 5 at quarterback, as the freshman Daniels look very composed and held his own in his first start coming fresh out of high school. Daniels said after the game “I was nervous but then I settled down and it felt just like football that I have always played in high school” the freshman had his moments of look like a dear in headlights but not for long as the coaching staff and head coach Herm Edwards throughout the game kept him settled and encouraged.
Devils get the win 30 -7, and it was the 17 point third quarter that put the game away.
Daniels finished 15/24 284 yards and accounted for 3 touchdowns. That’s not to bad for a first time start at the next level, as the Devils get ready for next Friday nights matchup to another lessor opponent in Sacramento State.
These tune ups are vital for the young freshman to gain his confidence and gain the trust from his teammates and coaches, going into week three is where he will get a real taste of NCAA football with a match up with Michigan State on the road.
Overall, the Devils are off to a good start with much to work on, as their offensive line has to protect and run block better.
Chase Lucas and the secondary were awesome all night keeping Kent St under 100 yards passing and helping to force two of the five fumbles on the night.
The night the pac 12 struggled against supposed lesser talent, the Sun Devils can get a jump on the conference coming out the gate.