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Opponent Offense Preview: Arizona State

A look at the high powered Sun Devils rushing attack

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Washington State at Arizona State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona State is a football team averaging 30 points per game. Offensive coordinator Zak Hill is known for running a fairly creative system yet at times has been criticized for going conservative and causing the offense to stall out. But, they have been fairly explosive, averaging 6.7 yards per play with an efficient run game. This team wants to be ground focused, running the ball more than 55% of the time.

The problem for this offense has been volatility. Certain players, or the entire team have fallen flat for entire games, namely the two game stretch agains Utah and Washington State. They bounced back with 282 rushing yards last week in a victory against USC and must be looking forward to facing Washington’s run defense.

Jayden Daniels - still a star?

Jayden Daniels represented a splashy recruiting victory for Arizona State and had an immediate impact as a true freshman, bringing dreams of a Heisman trophy to Tempe. But the 2020 season derailed plans and Daniels has not quite bounced back this year. He’s still got a solid arm, can make plays with his legs, and manages games well, but has been up and down, to say the least. He’s breaking the pocket too early, lacks the same playmaking ability, and he’s making off target throws more than usual - which sounds odd for a player hitting 67% of his passes this year. But most of his yards are coming after the catch - almost 60%, the highest rate in the Pac-12 - he’s not asked to throw downfield very much, despite throwing a pretty deep ball.

ASU v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

He’s thrown seven interceptions and seven touchdowns this year, yet has an 85 PFF grade and is the offense’s second highest rated player. Many would have guessed this would be his last season playing college football, but the way he has played at times this year, he might not even get drafted.

Daniels primary wide receiver targets are Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Shelton. Pearsall is the best and most consistent receiver the Sun Devils have currently, despite not having any touchdowns in all but one game. Bunkley-Shelton is a bit more explosive but doesn’t feature as prominently in the offense.

Runnin’ Rachaad

Rachaad White is the real focal point of this offense and a very good running back. He’s got excellent vision in both tight spaces and in the open field, has quick feet, and great balance. He doesn’t have a burst of explosiveness to him but once he gets to his second gear he can do a ton of damage. He’s got 12 touchdowns this season on top of 685 yards, at 6 yards per carry. He is featured heavily in the pass game as well and is second on the team with 29 receptions. He is the heartbeat of this offense, and the top rated PFF player with a grade of 89.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Arizona State at UCLA Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

DeaMonte Trayanaum and Daniyel Ngata are the second and third backs who each average over 5 yards per carry and combine with White to give ASU a top 25 rushing attack. The offensive line has been steady as well, utilizing a consistent starting five all year. They help power the rushing game to an 85% power success rate - i.e. with two or less yards to go, they usually get the first down or TD. They are also credited with 3.6 “line yards” per rush, so it’s not just good running back grinding out yards, the line creates lanes. T Kellen Diesch is the third highest PFF rated player on the offense.

Suffice it to say, expect Arizona State to run the ball on Saturday against a Husky run defense that has been...sub optimal.


How many points will Arizona State score?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 14%
    (21 votes)
  • 49%
    (73 votes)
  • 27%
    (40 votes)
  • 6%
    36 or more
    (10 votes)
147 votes total Vote Now