TEMPE, AZ – It was a sluggish game by the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0), but sometimes how you do it doesn’t really matter, as they ultimately still came away victorious in a 19-7 win over Sacramento State.
It probably wasn’t how ASU coach Herm Edwards drew it up this week, but nonetheless it was “a win, and we’ll look at it that way, but we got a lot of work to do,” he said following his teams’ narrow victory over Sacramento State.
Were they overlooking the Hornets? Perhaps, but Edwards certainly seemed to drive that message this week. “There’s always that message,” he said. “Just understanding who your opponent is.”
Nonetheless, from the start things looked a bit off, as the Sun Devils couldn’t really find a rhythm offensively. It was ultimately the offensive line that struggled in helping the Sun Devils find the end zone, however, if you ask freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels, he felt he shoulders a lot of the responsibility in the offenses ineptitude.
“We had some missed assignments, but it’s not solely their fault,” he said, “I got to get the ball out faster, I missed a couple easy throws… I just got to be better, and I got to be better on third down.”
In a game where the Sun Devils scored just 19 points, the team converted on just five of 17 third-down attempts, but the more important stat was four-for-four, as in four converted field goals from kicker Christian Zendejas.
As noted, the game started out slow as the Hornets and the Sun Devils were tied 0-0 after the first quarter, as well as much of the first half!
We didn’t get our first score in the game until 1:57 left in the half, when ASU finally converted on a 36-yard field goal from Zendejas to make it 3–0.
Looking to hopefully regroup and gain some momentum, unfortunately the offensive woes continued in the second half, especially in the red zone for the Sun Devil’s.
ASU would have two, drives stall in the Sacramento State territory in the third quarter, instead settling for field goals both times. Luckily, the Sun Devils would be able to convert both times, but not to the satisfaction of the fans in attendance however, as the team began to garner some boos.
For coach Edwards, it wasn’t surprising. “I get it,” he said. “That’s why fans come, they cheer and they boo. You’re not playing well, they boo. That’s not unusual… fans are passionate, they’re emotional, they wanna see offense. But at the end they were all clapping.”
ASU would extend their lead again early in the fourth quarter, making yet another field goal, going up 12-0. However, Sacramento State wouldn’t go away, marching down the field on an impressive, seven-play, 72-yard drive rage ended in a touchdown to make it 12-7 with 6:20 to play.
The very next series for ASU would put this thing away for good, when the Sun Devils would finally find the end zone on a three-play 75-yard drive that was punctuated by a 72-yard touchdown reception from running back, Eno Benjamin. Benjamin would find a nice seem in the defense, and scamper down the field, finding the end zone to eventually make it 19-7.
With the win, ASU improves 2-0 on the season, with Michigan State looming. As for Edwards, he’s just happy to get the win, and more importantly that his freshman quarterback is 2-0.
As for Sacramento State (1-1), they will return home to battle Northern Colorado.