Thursday night started the season for Head Coach Herm Edwards and the Arizona State Sun Devils, coming into a new campaign with high expectations with a tune-up like game versus the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds are coming off a 45 to 14 beat down at the hands of San Jose State less than a week ago, so the finals score of this game had to be close to that or better.
ASU came out probably a little too amped up, as they came in the night a little undisciplined from a penalty standpoint.
Devils tallied quickly 8 penalties in the first quarter, with one of those resulting in a disqualification of DL Tyler Johnson.
The Sun Devils defense has a core of key seniors and the return of key players and comes in with high expectations on that side of the ball.
They did not disappoint in stopping the Thunderbirds attack all night with the exception of two scoring drives.
Devils defense smothered the Thunderbirds all night, to the tune of four takeaways and two sacks, holding the Birds to 224 total yards on offense.
The star of the defense was Linebacker Darien Butler number 20, who recorded two interceptions and four solo tackles, along with the experience DB room senior Deandre Peirce had the 3rd of the Devils int’s.
Senior DB Chase Lucas didn’t have a ball thrown to his side all night, but he was able to assist in the tackle game recording 4 tackles.
The next part of the Devils opener that was successful was the spectacular running game, featuring the tandem of Rachaad White and Deamonte Trayanum.
These two backs combined for 13 carries and 110 yards, helping in the run game quarterback Jayden Daniels chipped in with 40 yards.
Sun Devils run total was 222 yards on 40 carries, with that they wore out the Southern Utah defense all night.
The air attack of the Devils was not spectacular but then again they didn’t need to be, the run game was the offense tonight, Daniels threw for only 132 yards on 10 of 12 attempts.
Daniels late in the 3rd quarter left the game with cramps, as he did a lot of scrambling and running around and fatigue set in, he was helped off the field by trainers and shortly returned and stayed on ht e sideline for the rest of the game.
At one point Daniels put his helmet back on, then dropped his head because it appeared he had been told he wasn’t going back in.
The bad in this game was pretty bad, as the Devils had 13 penalties for 135 yards.
To add to that the special teams unit struggled in the kicking game, missing an extra point along with a kick out of bounds on the opening kick off.
Lots to clean up after tonight’s game, helping that they came away with a 41-14 win and didn’t get close to their potential.
This was a tune-up game, so let’s hope the Devils ironed out the kinks and fine-tuned some things leading into next week’s game with the UNLV Rebels.