TEMPE, AZ – On a sweltering Summer evening, the ASU Sun Devils (1-0), kicked off the 2019 season by defeating Kent State 30-7.
“The kids did a great job,” Herm Edwards said. “They kept their composure, that’s a tough football team!”
It was a night of firsts for ASU, as Sun Devil quarterback Jayden Daniels made history, as the first, true freshman quarterback to start for the Sun Devils, helping to guide them to the impressive victory.
“It’s a special moment to me” Daniels said. “To go out there and get my first college win, but There’s a lot I got to improve upon, I can’t be too content with the win, there’s a lot for us to improve upon.”
Interestingly enough, ASU would turn to a true freshman at center as well, which certainly lended it’s challenges for the young team dad struggled to run the ball early.
On a night that was lightly attended for a Thursday evening, the Devils looked electric, albeit inconsistent in their win, perhaps building some momentum in Herm Edwards’ second season in the desert.
As for Edwards, he felt the game was “sloppy.” Prior to the game, he alluded to knowing what the game would look like. “A freshman quarterback played, the offense was kind of up and down,” Edwards said. “I knew what it was going to look like. I wasn’t surprised.”
Starting off a bit hot, ASU forced the Golden Flashes to a quick three-and-out in their first series, and it didn’t take long for the Sun Devils to strike first, as they shook off the early nerves and rust. ASU would drive 41 yards on seven plays to capitalize on the 35-yard field goal from Christian Zendejas to make it 3-0 early.
Just a few series later, the freshman Daniels looked cool, calm and collected, as he helped lead ASU on an impressive five-play, 34-yard drive that was punctuated by an eight yard touchdown throw from Daniels to Eno Benjamin over the middle to put them up 10-0.
But that’s when the inconsistency and sloppiness set in as Edwards had mentioned.
After looking comfortable for the first quarter of play, the ASU offense then sputtered, ultimately being helped out by a stifling and active Devils defense that kept the shut out in tact as they headed into halftime.
However, after a few adjustments and a heck of a pep talk, ASU came out the second half looking strong, much like a well-oiled machine!
Leading just 10-0, ASU would start to find their offensive rhythm in the second half, beginning the half with a nine-play, 70-yard drive, that was finished by a Daniels touchdown run from one-yard out.
Three plays later, ASU‘s defense would come up clutch, forcing a fumble deep in Kent State’s territory that led to a field goal by Zendejas again to make it 20-0.
However, the momentum wouldn’t stop there. On their very next series, Daniels would find Brandon Aiyuk of the Sun Devils on an impressive 77-yard touchdown pass, the capped the 86-yard, five-play touchdown drive for ASU. After the Zendejas PAT, it was 27-0, with the Devils in full control.
ASU would add three more Later in the game, when Zendejas would again connect, this time from 40-yards out, just after Kent State had scored a touchdown on the previous drive to make it 30-7.
With the win, ASU improves to 1-0 on the season, and now move their focus on to week two. As for Edwards, he felt they [ASU] were “strategic on what we were trying to do” he said, “We got a good rotation going”, but they are trying to get the younger guys up to speed and “in football condition”, he said.
Although the season is early, the Sun Devils will regroup, and play Sacramento State at home next week, before traveling to East Lansing to take on Michigan State the following week!
As for Kent State, they fall to 0-1 and will play Kennesaw State.