Skip to main content

#25 Sun Devil Football Lifts Lid on 2021 at Home vs. Southern Utah

Aug 30, 2021

THE GAME -  The #25 Sun Devil Football program will lift the lid on the 2021 season this Thursday, Sept. 2 against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. AZT kickoff on the Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson and Yogi Roth on the call) and will be carried over the airwaves on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Tim Healey, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Jordan Simone).

THE THUNDERBIRDS/SEASON OPENERS -  Southern Utah opened the season last week against San Jose State, falling 45-14. The Thunderbirds went 1-5 in the Spring FCS season. This will be the first meetings between the two programs. 

ASU has won 21 straight home openers dating back to 1999, excluding the unusual circumstances of 2020 that didn't see ASU open at home until December. That streak is the fourth-longest active streak in the nation behind Florida (31), Wisconsin and Oklahoma State (25).

ASU is 78-28-2 all-time in season openers and 60-15-1 when Opening Day is played at home. ASU has won 18 straight Opening Day games when played at Sun Devil Stadium.

#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)

1. Jayden Daniels has committed just five turnovers on 618 plays in his career, the fewest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (0.8 percent of plays). 

2. ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 20 of 30 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17. 

3. Arizona State has played in 11 total games decided by four points or less in the Herm Edwards era, which is tied for third in the FBS in that time behind Kansas State and North Carolina (13).

4. Arizona State allowed a pass of 40+ yards on just 1 of 158 attempts (0.6%) last season -- 4th-best among Power 5 Teams. 

5. ASU has forced 27 turnovers in its last 10 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation. It has multiple takeaways in eight of those (3+ in four of them.

6. ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 30 games. The .23 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS

7.  Since 2019, ASU has allowed a fourth quarter touchdown drive just 19.4 percent of the time (12-of-62), good for 13th among all Power Five schools. 

8. ASU's secondary has combined for 123 career starts, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana (138). 

9. Chase Lucas (39 career starts) needs just nine starts this season to break Dexter Davis' school record of 47.

10. Last season, the defensive line tallied 70 total quarterback pressures, a 17.5 pressure per game average along the line that was easily tops in the league.

AN ASU VICTORY WOULD...

  • Be the 22nd consecutive victory in a HOME opener for the Sun Devils, currently the fourth-longest active streak in the nation (2020 excluded due to unusual circumstances across country)
  • Improve ASU to 79-28-2 on Opening Day in history and 61-15-1 on Opening Day at home
  • Be ASU's 19th consecutive Opening Day win when the game is at Sun Devil Stadium.

OPENING DAY NOTABLES

  • Largest Margin of Victory in a home opener is 66 points (1931 vs Sacaton Indians, 66-0)
  • Most points scored in a home opener 66 points in 1931
  • Last shutout win on opening day was in 2013 against Sacramento State (55-0)
  • Most combined points scored in a home opener is 87 points in 1996 against Washington (ASU won 45-42)
  • ASU has recorded 20 shutouts on Opening Day
  • ASU averages a margin of victory of 24.1 points on Opening Day
  • ASU has scored 40 points 24 times on Opening Day (last in 2016 against Northern Arizona)
  • ASU has scored 50 points 9 times on Opening Day (last in 2013 against Sacramento State)
  • ASU has scored 60 points 3 times on Opening Day (last in 2012 against NAU)
  • ASU allows an average of 14.4 points in season openers

KICKING OFF

  • ASU's secondary has combined for 123 career starts, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana (138). The group is led by Chase Lucas' 39 career starts, who needs nine starts this season to break the Sun Devil school record currently held by Dexter Davis (47).
  • Arizona State allowed a pass of 40+ yards on just 1 of 158 attempts (0.6%) last season -- 4th-best among Power 5 Teams. ASU allowed just one play over 50 yards on the season (rush) - tied for third-lowest in the country.
  • ASU has forced 27 turnovers in its last 10 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation. It has multiple takeaways in eight of those (3+ in four of them).
  • ASU has 40 takeaways overall since 2019, 11th among all Power Five teams despite playing significantly less games than the majority of the teams ahead of it due to COVID-19 restrictions. ASU's 59 takeaways since 2018 are 13th among Power Five teams.
  • ASU's offensive line has allowed just 188 combined quarterback pressures by opponents since 2019 - the seventh-fewest among Power Five programs.
  • The defensive line tallied 70 total quarterback pressures, a 17.5 pressure per game average along the line that was easily tops in the league.

BY THE NUMBERS

123 -ASU's secondary has combined for 123 career starts, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana (138). The group is led by Chase Lucas' 39 career starts, who needs nine to break the Sun Devil school record currently held by Dexter Davis (47). Lucas was the highest graded corner in the Pac-12 in coverage last season with a grade of 84.7 and the 16th-highest graded corner in the nation.He allowed just 7.8 yards per catch were third in the league and only allowed five first downs, fourth fewest in the league 

40 - ASU has 40 takeaways overall since 2019, 11th among all Power Five teams despite playing significantly less games than the majority of the teams ahead of it due to COVID-19 restrictions. ASU's 59 takeaways since 2018 are 13th among Power Five teams. ASU has forced 27 turnovers in its last 10 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation. It has multiple takeaways in eight of those (3+ in four of them). ASU has forced 19 takeaways in the fourth quarter of games since 2018 - 10th among the Power Five.

30 - ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 20 of 30 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17. Last season, ASU was first in the Pac-12 in allowing just 23.2 points per game (32nd nationally).. In 2019, ASU was 35th in the country, allowing 22.4 points per game. The Sun Devils allowed just 25.5 points per game in 2018, good for 53rd nationally. These totals are notable as ASU was 103rd nationally at 32.8 points per game allowed in 2017 and had finished 99th or worse in three consecutive seasons prior.

11 - Arizona State has played in 11 total games decided by four points or less in the Herm Edwards era, which is tied for third in the FBS in that time behind Kansas State and North Carolina (13). ASU has seven wins in games decided by four points or less (7-4 record), tied for second behind Nevada (8) for the most wins by four points or fewer since 2018. The Sun Devils have now played in 19 games decided by a touchdown or less in the last two-plus years, going 9-10 in that time. The 19 games are second behind Texas (21) for the most in the country in that span. The 9 wins in such game are tied for 5th in the FBS in that time. 

7 - ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 30 games. The .23 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.09 percent on 3 plays over 31 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17. ASU is one of just seven teams in the country to rank in the Top-35 in fewest plays over 30 yards allowed in EACH of the last three seasons (Cal, Washington, Utah, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern). ASU has allowed just 43 in that time (1.4 per game/30 games)).

5 - Jayden Daniels has committed just five turnovers on 618 plays in his career, the fewest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (0.8 percent of plays). Daniels is one of just five FBS quarterbacks since 2019 to not throw an interception on third down. Jayden Daniels has thrown for 877 passing yards in the fourth quarter of games in his career, 14th among Power Five quarterbacks since 2019.His nine fourth quarter passing touchdowns are 11th among Power Five QBs since 2019. His fourth quarter NFL passer rating is 111.4 in the fourth quarter, ninth among Power Five QBs since 2019.

DANNNGGGGG DANIELS

  • Jayden Daniels has thrown for 877 passing yards in the fourth quarter of games in his career, 14th among Power Five quarterbacks since 2019.
  • His nine fourth quarter passing touchdowns are 11th among Power Five QBs since 2019. His fourth quarter NFL passer rating is 111.4 in the fourth quarter, ninth among Power Five QBs since 2019.
  • He leads the nation since 2019 in yards per pass competition with 11+ yards to go at 18.9 ypc (680 yards on 36 completions). His passer rating with over 11+ yards to go since 2019 is 188.2, second in the nation behind Texas Tech's Tyler Shough (195.4). 
  • When rushing on third down in his career, Daniels has a first down or touchdown percentage of 54.0 percent, good for sixth among FBS quarterbacks since 2019. Additionally, Daniels has 103 rushing yards on 10 carries on third and 11+, sixth most among FBS quarterbacks. His seven rushing touchdowns overall are 19th among P5 QBs since 2019, as are his 782 rushing yards (sacks excluded).
  • Daniels has committed just five turnovers on 618 plays in his career, the fewest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (0.8 percent of plays). Daniels is one of just five FBS quarterbacks since 2019 to not throw an interception on third down.
  • Since 2019, Daniels is second among FBS quarterbacks in yards per completion on third down at 16.3 (964 yards on 59 competitions), trailing only Louisville's Malik Cunningham (17.2).
  • Among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 100 third-down attempts since 2019, Daniels is 10th with an NFL quarterback rating of 101.0.

IN A RUSH

  • ASU led the Pac-12 and was seventh nationally in averaging 264.2 rushing yards per game last season. It was the highest single-season tally at ASU since the 1981 team posted 266.6 yards per game on the ground. 
  • Arizona State running backs averaged 7.2 yards from scrimmage per touch (505 yards / 70 touches) on first down last season.
  • Rachaad White had just three yards for loss on the season and DeaMontre Trayanum had just four as PFF credited the duo with a 0.0 percent stuff rate, marking them the only running backs in the Pac-12 with such a claim and two of just five running backs nationally to do so.
  • A credit to his smooth cuts and the big men in front of him, 58.0 percent of White's rushing yards came before contact. He averaged 5.8 yards per rush without being touched on the year - tops in the nation and 3.0 more yards than any other player in the league
  • Trayanum averaged a first down or touchdown on 36.7 percent of his carries, tops in the league just ahead of White (35.7).
  • White led the nation in averaging 10.0 yards per rush (420 yards on 42 attempts) while he was 14th nationally in all-purpose yards per game (151.0). He was second among Pac-12 running backs with 151 receiving yards and caught all eight of his targets.
  • Trayanum was the highest-graded running back in the Pac-12 last season by PFF with a score of 87.6 - 4.4 points higher than any other back in the league. White was fourth in the Pac-12 with a score of 82.5.
  • Against UCLA, Chip Trayanum became the first true freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Demario Richard in 2014 (14 for 116 vs. Utah - the 8th game of the year). In doing so in just his second game as a Sun Devil, he became the fastest freshman to have a 100-yard game since Keegan Herring rushed for 134 yards on 12 carries in his debut in the season opener for ASU vs. Tempe in 2005. 
  • Jayden Daniels' 111 rushing yards against USC last year were the fourth-most by a quarterback in Sun Devil history.

HOLD ON TO YOUR SEATS

  • Arizona State has played in 11 total games decided by four points or less in the Herm Edwards era, which is tied for third in the FBS in that time behind Kansas State and North Carolina (13).
  • ASU has seven wins in games decided by four points or less (7-4 record), tied for second behind Nevada (8) for the most wins by four points or fewer since 2018.
  • The Sun Devils have now played in 19 games decided by a touchdown or less in the last two-plus years, going 9-10 in that time. The 19 games are second behind Texas (21) for the most in the country in that span. The 9 wins in such game are tied for 5th in the FBS in that time.

HOLD ON TO THAT BALL, ALSO

  • ASU turned the ball over five times last year, seventh nationally.The Devils turned the ball over just 14 times in 2019 - the 20th-lowest total in the FBS. 
  • ASU is one of just five non-triple option offenses to rank in the Top-25 in fewest interceptions in each of the last three seasons.
  • The Devils were tops in the country in turnover margin last season at 2.00. ASU was 6th nationally in turnover margin in 2019 (1.08). 
  • ASU (11th in 2018) is one of just two teams nationally to rank in the Top-25 in turnover margin in each of the last three seasons (Georgia Southern) and only ASU was in the top-15 in each of those seasons.
  • Arizona State has forced 25 fumbles on 627 carries (25.1 Carries Per Fumble) since the 2019 season -- best in FBS. ASU forced 7 fumbles on 164 carries (23.4 Carries Per Fumble) last season -- 3rd-best in FBS.
  • ASU has forced 27 turnovers in its last 10 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation. It has multiple takeaways in eight of those (3+ in four of them).
  • ASU has 40 takeaways overall since 2019, 11th among all Power Five teams despite playing significantly less games than the majority of the teams ahead of it due to COVID-19 restrictions. ASU's 59 takeaways since 2018 are 13th among Power Five teams.
  • ASU has forced 19 takeaways in the fourth quarter of games since 2018 - 10th among the Power Five.
  • ASU forced an opponent turnover on 25.0 percent of drives last season, tops in the country. ASU forced a turnover on 17.5 percent of opponent possessions in 2019, good for 4th nationally. 
  • ASU has outscored opponents 779-386 in points off takeaways since 2012. 
  • Since 2012, ASU has scored 64.9 percent of the time following an opponent turnover (131 of 202) while finding the end zone 96 times in that span (47.5 percent).
  • Conversely, opponents have scored just 48.1 percent of the time following an ASU turnover since 2012 (65 of 135) with 50 touchdowns (37.0 percent).

LOCKING IT DOWN

  • Arizona State allowed a pass of 40+ yards on just 1 of 158 attempts (0.6%) last season -- 4th-best among Power 5 Teams. ASU allowed just one play over 50 yards on the season (rush) - tied for third-lowest in the country.
  • ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 30 games. The .23 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.09 percent on 3 plays over 31 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17.
  • ASU is one of just seven teams in the country to rank in the Top-35 in fewest plays over 30 yards allowed in EACH of the last three seasons (Cal, Washington, Utah, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern). ASU has allowed just 43 in that time (1.4 per game/30 games)). For perspective, from 2014-17, ASU gave up 38, 44, 40, 40 such plays, respectively ranked 116th, 124th, 117th and 119th. 
  • In the last three seasons combined, the Sun Devil secondary has allowed just 16 total passing plays over 40 yards. For perspective, it had 12 alone in 2017, 22 in 2016 and 24 in 2015 – the latter two ranked second to last and last, respectively, in the nation.

KEEP 'EM OFF THE BOARD

  • ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 20 of 30 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17. 
  • Last season, ASU was first in the Pac-12 in allowing just 23.2 points per game (32nd nationally).. In 2019, ASU was 35th in the country, allowing 22.4 points per game. The Sun Devils allowed just 25.5 points per game in 2018, good for 53rd nationally. These totals are notable as ASU was 103rd nationally at 32.8 points per game allowed in 2017 and had finished 99th or worse in three consecutive seasons prior to the marked improvement the past three seasons. 
  • Since 2019, ASU has allowed a fourth quarter touchdown drive just 19.4 percent of the time (12-of-62), good for 13th among all Power Five schools.

THRILL OF THE CHASE

  • Chase Lucas was the highest graded corner in the Pac-12 in coverage last season with a grade of 84.7 and the 16th-highest graded corner in the nation.
  • He allowed just 109 yards in coverage, seventh fewest in the Pac-12 while his 7.8 yards allowed per catch were third in the league and only allowed five first downs, fourth fewest in the league and forced five incompletions - good for third in the league.
  • Lucas allowed a first down or touchdown just 31.8 percent of the time, seventh-lowest in the Pac-12, and allowed just one player over 15 yards, second-lowest in the league.
  • Among players with at least 250 defensive snaps, Lucas was the fifth-highest graded defensive player in the Pac-12, regardless of position, with a score of 81.4 from Pro Football Focus. He was the highest-rated cornerback in the league.
  • Lucas recorded a score of 84.8 in pass coverage for the season, the highest for a cornerback in the league and the second-highest of any defensive player.
  • He was the sixth-highest graded cornerback in the nation in pass coverage and the 12th-highest graded cornerback in the country overall.
  • Lucas forced an incompletion on 27.3 percent of the passes thrown his way, the ninth-best tally among corners nationally.
  • He was targeted just 22 times on the season despite playing over 90 percent of the team's defensive snaps, allowing just 14 catches.

IN THE TRENCHES

  • ASU's offensive line has allowed just 212 combined quarterback pressures by opponents since 2019 - 11th-fewest among Power Five schools since 2019.
  • Dohnovan West has been named a 2021 PFF Preseason All-America pick by Pro Football Focus, a 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team Selection and is ranked as the 2021 No. 5 Lindy's Preseason Center.
  • West was the 7th-highest graded guard in the Power Five last season, according to PFF (76.7) and tops among Pac-12 guards 
  • He was credited with just two QB pressures allowed, tied for third among P5 guards nationally and did not allow a sack on the season.
  • Kellen Diesch was the 18th highest-graded tackle in among Power Five schools last year, according to PFF and second in the Pac-12 with a score of 81.3 (just behind the 14th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC (81.8). He is the highest graded returning tackle in the league.
  • Diesch had the 22nd-best pass blocking grade in the Power Five (78.9), second in the league behind Vera-Tucker.
  • Diesch was credited with just four QB pressures allowed on the year, fourth-lowest in the P5. Paved the way for a rushing offense that was seventh nationally in 264.2 yards per game - 30 more than any other team in the Pac-12.

HOLD THE LINE

  • Despite playing the fewest games in the league, ASU's defensive line last season recorded 23 tackles for loss or tackles for no gain - third in the Pac-12.
  • The group tallied 70 total quarterback pressures, sixth in the league but a 17.5 pressure per game average along the line that was easily tops in the league.
  • Tyler Johnson is ASU's active leader in tackles for loss (21) and sacks (11.5). Last year, he led the team with 5.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss, good for fourth in the Pac-12, respectively
  • Johnson was the ninth-highest graded edge defender in the Pac-12 last season as a pass rusher (70.3). 
  • Johnson's 19 quarterback hurries were fourth in the league among edge defenders. He generated pressure on 21.3 percent of his pass snaps, second most in the league and sixth-most nationally.

SAFETY VALVE

  • Evan Fields Was the fifth-highest graded safety in coverage in the Pac-12 last season (73.4). He was also the fifth-highest graded safety in the Pac-12 in run defense (73.1).
  • He was targeted just 4.2 percent of the time, second-lowest among league safeties and 15th among FBS safeties.
  • He allowed just 51 yards in coverage, third-lowest in the league while his two first downs allowed were tied with teammate Deandre Pierce for first in the Pac-12.
  • Fields Led the Sun Devils with 28 tackles - eight more than any other player and his 9.5 tackles per game were sixth in the Pac-12.
  • Deandre Pierce held opponents to a 64.0 NFL QBR when targeting him last year.
  • Pierce was fourth in the league in allowing a first down or touchdown just 28.6 percent of the time in primary coverage and was not credited with a touchdown allowed on the year.
  • He received a negative grade in run defense just 3.3 percent of the time on the season.

GO DJ, THAT'S MY DJ

  • D.J. Taylor was the highest-graded kick returner in the Pac-12 with a grade of 81.1 from Pro Football Focus – good for 12th nationally. Despite his knack for success on returns, he was actually the fourth-highest graded player on kickoff coverage in the Pac-12 as well – with a score of 77.7..
  • Taylor averaged 36.9 total yards per kick return attempt (including yardage on kicks taken out of the end zone), which was seven yards per return more than any other player in the Pac-12 and fourth among any player in the FBS with at least five kickoff returns.
  • His 107 total yards on his touchdown against Arizona was the longest of any player in the FBS last season, according to PFF. Taylor took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown in the Territorial Cup, the first Sun Devil to accomplish the feat against Arizona.
  • The Brandon, Florida native nearly had another kickoff return for a touchdown against UCLA, but was tripped on a 42-yard return and earned a 15-yard penalty to set the Sun Devil offense up with prime field position
  • He was credited with at least one tackle in three of the four games last season on the return coverage unit.