When and where: September 21, 2019, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ, 10:00 PM ET
The Arizona State Sun Devils prepare for their first divisional clash of the season in Saturday’s game against their fellow Pac-12 Conference rivals, the Colorado Buffaloes. After knocking off Kent State and Sacramento State, the Sun Devils went on to pull off a stunning road upset over Michigan State in Week 3. They’ll now turn their attention to the Buffaloes with the hope of starting the season 4-0.
The Buffaloes had a tremendous start to the season as well with an upset victory over Nebraska and a win over Colorado State. However, that exciting 2-0 start was spoiled in Week 3’s head-scratcher of a loss to Air Force.
Buffaloes bitten by the injury bug
The Buffaloes don’t want to make any excuses heading into a tough Week 4 match-up against Arizona State, even when there are built-in excuses to be made. Injuries have ravaged the team early in the season on both sides of the ball. Starting strong safety Aaron Maddox has been sidelined for multiple weeks with a serious leg laceration suffered during the 30-27 overtime loss to Air Force last week.
Also, the team’s starting offensive guards, Colby Pursell and Kary Kutsch, have been banged up, although neither player was reportedly listed on Tuesday’s injury report, according to The Denver Post. It’s a good indication that both should be available to play on Saturday.
The Buffaloes will need all the help they can get up front when facing Arizona State’s ferocious defense.
The only hope could come down to the defense keeping the Sun Devils’ offense in check and eking out a close win in a low-scoring game. Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez—827 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions on the season—isn’t afraid of airing the ball out and making magic happen with his arm. Yet, that mentality could lead him down a troublesome road against a ball-hawking defense capable of turning a prayer into a nightmare.
Arizona State stuns Michigan State after officiating error
Don’t expect Arizona State to feel bad about upsetting Michigan State in Week 3 after an officiating blunder on the field. In the winding seconds of the fourth quarter, the Spartans had a field goal that would have tied the game nullified for having 12 men on the field. The penalty moved the ball back to a 47-yard attempt, which Michigan State kicker Matt Coghlin whiffed to end the game, 10-7.
The Pac-12 Conference came forward after the game and admitted they missed a leaping penalty call on Arizona State, when a defensive player jumped over the offensive line in an attempt to block the kick. That call would have essentially moved Michigan State 15 yards closer and gave Coghlin a chance at another kick.
Controversial ending or not, the Sun Devils will move forward in the season with a chance of extending their record to 4-0 against Colorado. They have the defense to stymie the Buffaloes’ offense and force them into an ugly game. However, it might not be such an ugly offensive affair if the Sun Devils can get their offense going against a Buffaloes defense that is giving up an average of 472.7 yards per game.
Sun Devils freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels will have a legitimate opportunity to break out in the Pac-12 spotlight on Saturday.
Herm Edwards is a seasoned head coach who can flat out coach, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“In sports, regardless of what sports you cover, offense brings fans to the stadium because people want to see scoring,” said Edwards in his weekly press conference. “…..You play defense and it may not be pretty. Why would they not talk about it? You have got a freshman quarterback, a running back (Eno Benjamin) that almost rushed for 2,000 yards last year and some people say he is not playing well. I don’t know about that. He has scored three touchdowns in three games. He has made big plays in big moments. He scored a touchdown when we needed a touchdown. I get the yards, I get all that. But, he is dealing with a situation and he has not blinked. He goes in the huddle on the first drive, with the offense, before they go on the field and he’s screaming, telling them ‘this is going to be hard today’. That is the first thing this guy says. He says, ‘this is going to be hard, but do not worry about it, just go play’. We all get it, we have a freshman quarterback and the guy has won three games.”
- Buffaloes are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Buffaloes are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Buffaloes are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
- Buffaloes are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Sun Devils are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Sun Devils are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games in September.