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Opponent Preview - Arizona State Sun Devils (11/19)

Arizona State could really use a stabilizing no nonsense type season

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NCAA Football: Arizona State at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Head Coach: Herm Edwards (5th Season)
  • 2021 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in Pac-12)
  • Last Meeting: 11/20/2021 - Oregon State 24, Arizona State 10
  • Key Returners: S - Daniel Scott, LT - Ben Coleman & C - Matthew Cindric

What to Know:

Herm Edwards wasn’t a popular hiring at ASU and was widely mocked, but for the most part he’s done an okay job. Last year ended in disaster but ASU still won eight games. They’ve gone 25-18 under Herm. But since the end of last season they’ve lost the following key players to the transfer portal: Jayden Daniels (LSU), Eric Gentry (USC), Jermayne Lole (Louisville), Ricky Pearsall (Florida) and LV Bunkley-Shelton (Oklahoma).

There’s a big cloud hanging over Tempe as they await an NCAA punishment for recruiting violations. Herm Edwards had to replace five assistant coaches (including both coordinators) due to their involvement in the violations. One Pac-12 Assistant Coach told The Athletic “We’re all wondering what the NCAA’s going to do,” a conference assistant coach said. “If they’re breaking rules and don’t get penalized, what’s that tell everybody else?”

On offense the Sun Devils brought in Florida transfer Emory Jones to lead a revamped offensive unit. Jones is quite talented and can get a bunch of yards with his legs if opposing defenses aren’t careful. Jones won’t have a lot of returning production returning production to lean on. Daniyel Ngata and Wyoming transfer Xazavian Valladay will be the top two running backs. Valladay is a tough-nosed runner and could have a big year with Emory Jones also drawing defensive attention.

Arizona State expect big things from Elijhah Badger at WR. Bryan Thompson is the most experienced receiver returning this season. Last season ASU averaged less than 200 passing yards per game and teams were able to really load up on Rachaad White and the running game. The Sun Devils hope to balance the offense a bit more this season, but I’m just not sure they have the personnel to do it successfully.

On defense ASU should be okay, especially their front seven. Despite a few key losses they’ve got a lot of talent up front. Their secondary has some question marks though. The Sun Devils have really improved defensively under Herm Edwards and they just don’t give up big plays anymore. Special teams and penalties on the other-hand? Last year it was a struggle and special teams cost ASU more than any other conference team.

With the pending recruiting violations, new assistants and loads of transfers there’s just a lot going on in Tempe. None of that will matter too much if Arizona State has a big season. ASU’s first three Pac-12 games are against Utah, USC & Washington. Then they take their ‘bye’ week in the middle of October. That’s a tough stretch and I can’t help but wonder if Herm Edwards is still the Sun Devils head coach if they lose all three of those games.

Player To Watch

Emory Jones - Quarterback

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl - UCF v Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Emory Jones is extremely athletic and Oregon State has historically had trouble containing and keeping athletic quarterbacks in the pocket. In some ways Jones might be the perfect QB for an Arizona State squad that is relying on unproven receivers. It’s not a shocking prediction, but I think ASU will end the year with more rushing yards than passing yards.


I don’t think Arizona State will get to a bowl game this season. Oregon State’s stability and identity shine through on the road as they get the win, 31-21.

Game Info

  • Date: November 19th
  • Time: TBD
  • Location: Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Arizona)

2022 Opponent Previews