Instant Recap: No. 25 ASU Coasts 41 14 Versus Southern Utah In Season Opener

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

TEMPE — For many Power 5 schools, season openers against FCS or low-level FBS opponents offer several opportunities: the team has a chance to effectively warm up, get some game-speed reps to build confidence, and add an easy win to the resume.

For No. 25 Arizona State, as sophomore quarterback

Jayden Daniels

highlighted months ago, Thursday’s home opener against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, which ended in a 41-14 ASU victory, presented something much more: a chance to take out the swelling frustration that has developed as the team has been subjected to an NCAA review into possible recruitment violations.

“Keep the main thing the main thing,” Daniels said at Pac-12 Media Day in July. “That’s the football season. That’s working hard. That’s getting to the season so we can showcase what we’ve been through this past year and just let all the pain and the anger that everybody has built up, and just let it out once Sept. 2 comes.”

When Sept. 2 came, the Sun Devils not only delivered a thrashing, but did so with a forceful performance on the ground, totaling 222 yards and six touchdowns there. Junior running back

Rachaad White

and freshman running back

DeaMonte Trayanum

each delivered two scores, while freshman running back

Daniyel Ngata

and sophomore wide receiver

Ricky Pearsall

both reached paydirt, as well.

However, whatever pent-up frustration they had acquired also seemed to devolve into outright recklessness on too many occasions, as ASU had seven penalties for 85 yards in the first quarter alone, including a roughing the kicker infraction and a targeting foul by junior defensive end

Tyler Johnson, for which he was disqualified. By the end of the game, the Sun Devils had amassed 135 penalty yards, their most in a game since 2007.

In spite of those issues with discipline, ASU was clearly the stronger team throughout, as it took a two-touchdown lead in the first 6:18 of the game and led by at least that much for the last 41 minutes.

Daniels had an efficient day through the air, completing 10 of 12 passes for 132 yards, but ASU’s aerial attack was not prolific. No Sun Devil receiver eclipsed three catches on the day, and they did not approach the goal of passing on 55 percent of downs that offensive coordinator

Zak Hill

set in the offseason.

However, Daniels was also productive on the ground, managing 40 rushing yards on six attempts before he was replaced by freshman

Trenton Bourguet late in the third quarter as he appeared to be experiencing cramps in both legs.

The Sun Devils also excelled in the turnover margin, as they did frequently over the previous two seasons, in which they forced over twice as many turnovers as they committed. Against Southern Utah, ASU had just two turnovers to four takeaways, which they turned into 13 points.

Junior linebacker

Darien Butler

contributed significantly in that effort, as he caught his first two career interceptions, both over the middle of the field.

In special teams, freshman

DJ Taylor

and White also excelled, as they combined to average 30.8 yards per punt return. However, ASU’s kicking, which was seen as one of the team’s bigger questions entering the season, was shaky, as senior

Logan Tyler

converted just three of five extra-point attempts.

Following its victory, ASU will continue non-conference play as overwhelming favorites again at home versus UNLV next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Here is more on how ASU’s win over Southern Utah unfolded.


8:11 left 4Q, ASU 41 ASU SUU 14: ASU freshman running back

Daniyel Ngata

scored an easy 9-yard rushing touchdown to the left thanks to strong blocking by the offensive line, concluding a seven-play, 34-yard drive. Ngata carried the load on the series, with five attempts for 28 yards. Tyler converted the extra-point attempt, improving to 3-5 on the day.

FINAL: ASU defeats Southern Utah 41-14, improving to 1-0 on the season.


1:22 left 3Q, ASU 34 SUU 14: Southern Utah freshman running back David Moore III scored on a 21-yard touchdown run, completing a four-play, 40-yard drive. Junior kicker Carson Reed converted the subsequent extra-point attempt.

3:20 left 3Q, ASU 34 SUU 7: Wilson fumbled immediately following a reception at midfield, which was recovered by junior safety Justin Brown.

4:40 left 3Q, ASU 34 SUU 7: Daniels left the game with apparent cramps on both legs and was helped off the field by two staffers. Freshman quarterback

Trenton Bourguet replaced him.

11:03 left 3Q, ASU 34 SUU 7: Pearsall scored on a 26-yard reverse run as he tip-toed along the right sideline, concluding a seven-play, 61-yard drive and marking ASU's fifth rushing touchdown of the day. Tyler missed his extra-point try off the right goalpost, dropping to 2-4 on the day.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: ASU leads Southern Utah 34-14, having scored five rushing touchdowns and managed 176 yards on the ground.


0:16 left 2Q, ASU 28 SUU 7: Butler earned his second interception of the game on ASU's 17-yard line on an errant throw by Miller, forcing Southern Utah's fourth turnover of the half.

5:15 left 2Q, ASU 28 SUU 7: Trayanum scored on a 20-yard counter run around the left edge, giving him two rushing touchdowns and ASU four on the day. Tyler converted the subsequent extra-point attempt, improving to 2-3 on the day.

11:09 left 2Q, ASU 21 SUU 7: White scored a 1-yard touchdown run, his second of the game, to conclude a four-play, 34-yard drive. Senior tight end

Curtis Hodges

jogged into the end zone for the two-point conversion off of a bubble screen from Daniels. Just two plays prior to the touchdown, Pearsall completed a 29-yard pass to Hodges on a double pass trick-play.

END OF SECOND QUARTER: ASU leads Southern Utah 28-7 on the back of four rushing touchdowns, split evenly among White and Trayanum, and four takeaways. However, ASU's penalty issues have remained, as they have accrued 11 penalties for 120 yards, and Southern Utah has possessed the ball for more than two-thirds of the game.


3:41 left 1Q, ASU 13 SUU 7: ASU junior linebacker

Darien Butler

intercepted another Miller pass at ASU's 30-yard line on second-and-8, effectively anticipating and jumping a crossing route.

4:25 left IQ, ASU 13 SUU 7: Southern Utah recovered its own kickoff at ASU's 33-yard line on what appeared to be a long onside kick attempt. ASU freshman linebacker 

Will Shaffer

was charged with a fumble.

4:26 left IQ, ASU 13 SUU 7: Southern Utah senior wide receiver Judd Crockett scored on a 3-yard sweep run, concluding a seven-play, 69-yard drive. Junior defensive end Tyler Johnson was disqualified earlier on the drive for targeting, and was primarily replaced by Moore.

8:42 left 1Q, ASU 13 SUU 0: On fourth-and-1, ASU junior running back

Rachaad White

scored on a breakaway 26-yard counter run out of the I-formation, concluding a six-play, 76-yard drive. Tyler converted the extra-point attempt after the Sun Devils converted a two-point conversion pass to freshman wide receiver

LV Bunkley-Shelton

, but Pearsall was called for an offensive pass interference penalty, forcing them to replay the down.

9:17 left IQ, ASU 6 SUU 0: ASU sophomore quarterback

Jayden Daniels

completed a 22-yard pass to a wide open sophomore wide receiver

Ricky Pearsall

on third-and-23. On the previous play, Daniels initially appeared to have thrown an interception while targeting freshman Johnny Wilson, but the call was overturned, which enabled the drive to continue.

11:40 left 1Q, ASU 6 SUU 0: ASU senior cornerback

Jack Jones

forced a fumble on a short run by Southern Utah sophomore running back Dayne Christiansen. The ball was recovered by junior defensive tackle

DJ Davidson

at the ASU 24-yard line after Southern Utah was able to move down the field quickly, thanks to a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt, which kept the drive alive, and a subsequent 28-yard passing completion.

14:36 left 1Q, ASU 6 SUU 0: ASU freshman running back

DeaMonte Trayanum

scored a three-yard rushing touchdown on ASU's first offensive play of the season. Senior kicker Logan Tyler's extra-point attempt was blocked, keeping the lead at 6-0.

14:40 left 1Q ASU 0 SUU 0: ASU senior safety

DeAndre Pierce

intercepted a throw Southern Utah's 37-yard line as sophomore quarterback Justin Miller was under severe pressure from multiple defensive players, including senior defensive end

Travez Moore

, on the Thunderbirds' third offensive play of the game. Pierce returned the ball to the three-yard line.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: No. 25 ASU leads Southern Utah 13-7. The Sun Devils have forced three turnovers and out-gained the Thunderbirds 117 yards to 88, but also have a have committed seven penalties, costing them 85 yards.


— No. 25 Arizona State football opens its season versus Southern Utah on Thursday at 7:30 p.m at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The game is available for TV viewing on the Pac-12 Network.

— Many members of ASU's program have set tremendously high expectations for this season, as they have 19 of 22 starters from 2020 available for the opening kickoff. Head coach

Herm Edwards

has said he wants the offense to score in the "high 30s" and various players have stated they want to win a Pac-12 title and the Rose Bowl after they were the conference's top-ranked scoring offense and defense in 2020. They begin the season ranked as the No. 25 team in the nation.

— ASU's last home opener was in 2019, when they beat Kent State 30-7 in quarterback

Jayden Daniels' first career start. They lost last season's opener 28-27 on the road to USC.

— The temperature was 90 degrees at kickoff, with 37 percent humidity, light winds under five miles per hour and mostly clear skies.

— Freshman wide receiver

Elijhah Badger

(unknown), freshman defensive end

Amiri Johnson

(unknown), freshman tight end

Jake Ray

(unknown), junior cornerback

Timarcus Davis

(right leg), freshman cornerback

Jordan Clark

(unknown), freshman cornerback Isaiah Johnson (unknown) and Matthew Pola Mao (unknown) were all not dressed to play.

— Southern Utah lost its season opener 45-14 to San Jose State last Saturday, and lost its previous two most recent season openers versus Pac-12 opponents by a combined 80 points.

— The Thunderbirds went 1-5 last season, losing all five games by four possessions and four by a field goal or less.

Source :

Instant recap: No. 25 ASU coasts 41-14 versus Southern Utah in season opener

Source:247 Sports

Instant recap: No. 25 ASU coasts 41-14 versus Southern Utah in season opener