Sun Devils shake off the rust in win over Southern Utah

As expected, the No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils opened their season in dominating fashion by dispatching Southern Utah 41-14 at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday. 

After a rough, pandemic riddled season, fans were welcomed back to stadium and the student section was filled to the brim. 

They were treated to a high-scoring tuneup against an FCS opponent. The Thunderbirds were the perfect opponent to shake the rust off, and there seemed to be plenty of rust.

“It was sloppy football tonight,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said. “I told the team the Sun Devils actually played the Sun Devils tonight.”

Special teams and penalties warranted the most concern. The Sun Devils committed 13 penalties for 135 yards, 11 of which came in the first half.

“Tonight was bad football,” Edwards said. “Some of the penalties were emotional and some of them were just ‘why?’ Why would you do that?”

“I just told them we gotta clean this up,” ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels said. “We’re a better team than Southern Utah but at the end of the day if we Play Washington or USC those things can hurt us.”

As for special teams, the game started with a kick out of bounds. The extra point kick after the first touchdown was blocked. The first punt return resulted in a roughing the punter penalty. 

Overall, graduate kicker Logan Tyler was 3-of-5 in PAT kicks. Of the two misses, one was blocked and the other went off the crossbar. 

The best special teams play from the Sun Devils came in the first quarter when one of Eddie Czaplicki’s two punts pinned Southern Utah to the 1 yard line. 

By the end of the first half the Sun Devils had the game under control. 

Not much was required from Daniels, who completed 10-of-12 pass for 132 yards and rushed for 47 yards. He left the game in the third quarter due to a cramp but was fine after the game.

“I told him that’s what happens when you try to run,” Edwards said.

The Sun Devils scored all of their touchdowns through the ground. Rachaad White led the way with 64 yards and two touchdowns. DeaMonte Trayanum also scored two touchdowns and Ricky Pearsall and Daniyel Ngata each reached the end zone in the second half to round out the scoring.  

The ASU defense committed four turnovers and kept Southern Utah at bay. Two of the three interceptions came from senior linebacker Darien Butler.

“I’m happy for him, watching him mature from where he was to where he is right now, it’s satisfying to see,” Edwards said.

Defensive lineman B.J. Green, a freshman walk-on, recorded a sack in his first play as a college football player. 

“It’s good to see him go out there on his fist college play to get a sack,” Butler said of Green. “He doesn’t care that he’s a walk on, he just goes out there and works hard every day.”

The early season tuneup continues next Saturday when the Sun Devils host UNLV, who lost to Eastern Washington in double-overtime. 

About: Tony Capobianco

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Sports Kave senior writer and podcast host

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