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#22 Sun Devils Look to Defend Home Turf Against Stanford

Oct 5, 2021

THE GAME -  The Sun Devil Football program will look to defend first place in the Pac-12 South this weekend as it hosts Stanford in primetime at 7:30 p.m. AZT on Friday night under the lights at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN (Jason Benetti, Andre Ware and Paul Carcaterra on the call) and available over the airwaves locally on 620 AM/98.7 FM HD-2 (Tim Healey, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Jordan Simone, Jeff Munn).

ON STANFORD - Stanford enters the weekend following a big upset at home over a Top-5 Oregon squad. Stanford has knocked off two Top-15 teams this year (USC) and this week be the third-straight game against a ranked opponent. ASU leads the all-time series, 17-15, though Stanford has won the last two and seven of the last eight. This is the first meetings of the two teams since 2018. 

KICKING OFF

  • ASU's secondary has combined for 143 career starts, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana. The group is led by Chase Lucas' 43 career starts, who needs five more starts this season to break the Sun Devil school record currently held by Dexter Davis (47).
  • ASU has 32 rushing touchdowns in its last 8 games - the most of any FBS team over their most recent eight-game stretch ahead of Air Force (30) and Texas (27).
  • ASU has forced 41 turnovers in its last 16 games dating back to 2019, good for second-most in the nation over an 16-game span (Iowa, 42).
  • In games against FBS competition with only non-garbage time possessions included, ASU is holding opponents to a starting field position of the opponent's own 23.3 yard line - the worst starting field position for opponents in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devil secondary has forced 20 "coverage sacks" (plays where the opposing QB had to hold the ball for 3.0 plus seconds or throw it away), tied with Alabama for 3rd-most in the nation.
  • ASU has rushed for 150 or more yards in 10 straight games dating back to 2019. It is the longest such streak since a 12-game span between 1975-76.
  • Against FBS opponents, ASU has a +2.75 yards per play advantage between its offensive yards gained per play and defensive yards allowed per play. The net positive is sixth-highest in the nation. 
  • ASU's offense is averaging 7.23 yards per play on the season, good for fourth in the FBS. The team is averaging 3.27 points per drive on the year - 12th best in the FBS.
  • ASU's offense has earned 65.3 percent of the total yards available this season - the sixth-best tally in the FBS.

AN ASU VICTORY WOULD...

  • Move ASU to 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2012
  • Snap Stanford's two-game winning streak in the series
  • Keep ASU on top in the Pac-12 South
  • Give ASU a 5-1 record at the midway point of the regular season, its second 5-1 start through six games under Herm Edwards

NOTABLE SERIES NUMBERS - STANFORD

RUSHING YARDS

307-Bryce Love, STAN (@#20 STAN 34, ASU 24/Sept. 30, 2017)

195-Rudy Burgess, ASU (@#23 ASU 34, STAN 31/Nov. 6, 2004)

160-Darryl Clack, ASU (ASU 28, @STAN 10/Sept. 29, 1984)

PASSING YARDS

466-Mike Pagel, ASU (#17 ASU 62, @STAN 36/Oct. 24, 1981)

415-Andrew Walter, ASU (@#23 ASU 34, STAN 31/Nov. 6, 2004)

414-Andrew Walter, ASU (@ASU 65, STAN 24/Sept. 28, 2002)

RECEIVING YARDS

237-Darrin Nelson, STAN (#17 ASU 62, @STAN 36/Oct. 24, 1981)

221-Shaun McDonald, STAN (@ASU 65, STAN 24/Sept. 28, 2002)

185-Mark Bradford, STAN (@STAN 45, ASU 35/Oct. 22, 2005)

TACKLES

21-Mike Tingstad, ASU (@STAN 24, ASU 3/Oct. 15, 1988)

18-Chris Draft, STAN (#19 STAN 30, @ASU 28/Oct. 7, 1995)

17-Dan Lucas, ASU (@ASU 36, STAN 35/Oct. 8, 1994)

MILESTONE WATCH

  • 261 passing yards by Jayden Daniels to reach 5,000 in his career (Currently at 4,739)
  • 390 passing/rushing yards by Jayden Daniels to reach 6,000 total offensive yards in his career (Currently at 5,610) 
  • 249 rushing yards by Rachaad White to reach 1,000 in his ASU career (Currently at 751)
  • 2.0 tackles for loss by Tyler Johnson to reach 25 in his career (Currently at 23.0)
  • 6.5 sacks by Tyler Johnson to move into the Top-10 in ASU career history (needs 19.0, currently at 12.5)
  • 5 starts by Chase Lucas to become ASU's all-time leader in career starts (needs 48, currently at 42)
  • 10 tackles by Evan Fields  to reach 200 in his career (currently at 190)

#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)

1. In non-garbage time possessions against FBS teams this year, ASU opponents have an average starting yard line at their own 23.3 - the worst starting field position in the country.

2. ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 25 of 35 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. ASU's 32 rushing touchdowns in its last eight games are the most in the nation over triple option Air Force (30) and Texas (27)

4. Since the start of last year, ASU's defensive line is second in the FBS with a quarterback pressure 46.5 percent of the time despite ASU having the 11th-lowest blitz percentage at 1797 percent.

5. ASU has forced 41 turnovers in its last 16 games dating back to 2019, good for the second most in the nation over an 16-game span (Iowa with 42 after a 7-takeaway game last week).

6. ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 35 games. The .20 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS.

7.  ASU's offensive line has allowed a quarterback pressure on just 16.1 percent of dropbacks this year, the third-lowest tally in the FBS.

8. ASU has a +2.75 yards per play advantage between its offensive yards gained per play and defensive yards allowed per play. The net positive is 6th-highest in the nation. 

9. The Sun Devils are one of just three FBS teams this year to not allow a 40+ yard play. 

10. ASU has held eight straight opponents under 250 passing yards dating back to last season. That is the longest streak since ASU had an 11-game streak from 1991-92.

BY THE NUMBERS
143 - ASU's secondary has combined for 139 career starts
, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana (158). The group is led by Chase Lucas' 43 career starts, who needs five to break the Sun Devil school record currently held by Dexter Davis (47). Since 2018, that secondary has allowed just 5 passing plays over 50 yards (none last year or this year so far). The Sun Devil secondary has forced 20 "coverage sacks" (plays where the opposing QB has to hold the ball for 3.0 plus seconds and/or throw it away), good for 3rd-most in the nation.

46 - Since the start of last season, the Sun Devil defensive line has forced a quarterback pressure on 46.5 percent of opponent passing plays - the second-highest in the FBS in that span. This feat is made more impressive considering ASU has blitzed just 19.7 percent of snaps in that time - 11th-fewest nationally. Since last season, ASU's defensive line has combined for 79 quarterback pressures this year, a total good for 11th in the FBS. 

41 - ASU has forced 41 turnovers in its last 16 games dating back to 2019, good for the secondmost in the nation over an 16-game span (Iowa, 42). ASU has multiple takeaways in 11 of those (and three or more in six of them). ASU has 46 takeaways overall since 2019, 10th among Power Five teams despite playing significantly fewer games than most schools in 2020. ASU has outscored opponents 795-406 since 2012 on points of turnovers, scoring 64.1 percent of the time after a takeaway.

25 - ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 25 of 35 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17. The Sun Devils have allowed just 99 offensive touchdowns (2.8 per game/35 games) since Herm Edwards assumed the reins in 2018 - among the Top-25 fewest in the FBS. For reference, ASU gave up 109 offensive touchdowns alone between 2016 and 2017 (4.4 per game/25 games). ASU has allowed just 26 second half touchdowns since 2019 (sixth-fewest in the FBS) and has held opponents to just a 24.3 scoring drive percentage in the second half since 2019 (ninth-lowest in the FBS).

21 - All told, ASU has allowed just 21 quarterback pressures this year - 19 fewer than any other Pac-12 school and 5th-fewest in the FBS (though triple option Air Force ranks firsts).  The line has allowed a pressure on just 16.1 percent of quarterback dropbacks this year, the 3rd-lowest total in the FBS (Northern Illinois and Maryland).The team has a 84.7 score as a pass-blocking unit, over 10-points higher than any other Pac-12 school and third in the FBS. Ladarius Henderson has allowed just one quarterback pressure this season, tied for sixth-fewest among all FBS linemen. Jayden Daniels has been knocked down just 5 times, third-fewest in the FBS.

7 - ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 35 games. The .20 50+ yard plays per game allowed are 2nd-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.11 per game on 4 plays over 36 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17. Since 2018, ASU has allowed just 49 30-yard plays (1.4 per game/35 games)). For perspective, from 2014-17, ASU gave up 38, 44, 40, 40 such plays, respectively ranked 116th, 124th, 117th and 119th. ASU is one of just 3 remaining FBS teams to not allow a play over 40 yards thus year.

DANNNGGGGG DANIELS

  • Jayden Daniels is currently the highest graded offensive player overall in the Pac-12 this season (89.1) - regardless of position. The tally marks him as the 15th-highest graded player in the nation, regardless of position, and 10th among QBs.
  • Daniels us currently 10th in the nation in yards per attempt at 9.6. 
  • His 71.8 completion percentage is tied for eighth in the nation and is tops in the league while he has posted an incredible 81.7 percent adjusted completion percentage (accounting for drops), which is 7th in the FBS.
  • Daniels is accounting for 277.4 total yards of offense per game this year, 29th nationally and second in the Pac-12.
  • Daniels is 18th in the FBS since 2019 in fourth quarter passing yards (1,110) while his 10 touchdown passes in the final frame are tied for 12th.
  • Daniels has an NFL passer rating of 117.4 in the fourth quarter of games, third-highest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (min. 150 dropbacks). 
  • Since 2019, Daniels is second in the FBS in yards per pass attempt with 11+ yards to go (min. 50 attempts) at 11.9 ypa while he is second in yards per completion in the category (17.8 on 946 yards and 53 catches). 
  • His NFL passer rating with over 11+ yards to go since 2019 is 123.3, also second in the nation.
  • Among players with at least 400 passing attempts since 2019, Jayden Daniels ranks tied for second in fewest interceptions with just six on 538 attempts (1.1 percent of his throws).
  • Daniels has thrown just one interception on third down in his career, tied for fewest in the FBS since 2019 (min. 100 attempts). That third down interception didn't come until the 19th game of his career (BYU this season).
  • Since 2019, Daniels is third among FBS quarterbacks in yards per attempt on third down at 9.2 (1,212 yards on 132 attempts).
  • Among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 100 third-down attempts since 2019, Daniels is 15th with an NFL quarterback rating of 98.4.

JAY WALKING

  • As a rusher, Jayden Daniels has a grade of 81.7, good for first overall in the Pac-12 and 14th overall in the nation, regardless of position. He is the top graded rushing QB in the league and fifth in the FBS.
  • Since 2019, Daniels' 1,093 rushing yards overall (sacks excluded) are 18th among active quarterbacks and among those with at least 100 carries, his 6.2 yards per rush are 16th. 
  • Daniels rushed for 125 yards against UNLV, his second career 100+ yard game and the fourth-most by a quarterback in program history (he also holds the fifth-best tally with 111 at USC last year).
  • When rushing on third down, Daniels has picked up a first down or touchdown with his feet 57.1 percent of the time (49 attempts) - 6th among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.
  • His 8.4 yards per carry when rushing on third down are seventh among FBS quarterbacks since 2019. He has 19 explosive third down runs (runs of 10+ yards) good for fourth among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.

RUSH HOUR

  • ASU's 32 rushing touchdowns over its last eight games are the most in the FBS over a eight-game span ahead Air Force's triple option offense (30) and Texas (27). 
  • ASU has 10-straight games dating back to 2019 with over 150 rushing yards. It is the longest such streak since a 12-game run over 150 yards over the final nine games of 1975 and first three of 1976.
  • ASU has gone over the 200-yard mark on the ground in six of its last 11 games dating back to 2019. 
  • ASU is 27th nationally and third in the Pac-12 with 204.6 rushing yards per game this season.
  • ASU's success this season has come in large part by its receivers grinding on the outside with the trio of Johnny Wilson, Andre Johnson and Ricky Pearsall ranking as the 1st, 2nd, and 4th highest-graded receivers in the Pac-12 as run blockers and 1st, 2nd and 11th among FBS receivers overall. 
  • Wilson (90.4) and Johnson (89.2) are the sixth and eighth-highest graded run blockers in the FBS, regardless of position.
  • Additionally, Case Hatch has the highest run-blocking score amongst tight ends in the Pac-12 (82.2) and third-highest among all FBS tight ends on 81 run-blocking snaps. 
  • As a team, ASU has the 17th-highest graded run blocking group in the FBS (75.0).

THE PRICE IS WHITE

  • Rachaad White has a rushing touchdown in seven straight games dating back to last season and has multiple in five of those. His eight rushing touchdowns this season are 8th in the country.
  • White has multiple touchdowns in six of his nine games at ASU and has at least one touchdown in eight of his nine games with the Devils.
  • He has been a workhorse for ASU, leading all Pac-12 running backs with 87 touches this season (64 rushing, 23 receiving). His 166 total snaps are also tops among Pac-12 running backs. 
  • White is the highest graded running back in the Pac-12 this season (80.3) and the 8th-highest graded one in the FBS.
  • White has rushed for 20 first downs this season, sixth among Pac-12 backs. However, he has added 11 first downs as a receiver - tops among all FBS running backs.  His 31 total first downs are the most of any player in the league.
  • 74.5 percent of White's yards have come after contact this season - the most in the Pac-12 and 24th-most in the FBS.
  • He is also the second-highest graded running back in the league as a receiver (78.8) and 4th-highest graded in the category nationally among backs. 
  • His 25 targets in the passing game are 11 more than any other Pac-12 player and sixth among running backs nationally. His 23 receptions are 13 more than any other Pac-12 back and 3rd among FBS running backs.
  • White has 268 yards after the catch (think catches behind the line of scrimmage) - the highest tally of any FBS running back this season.
  • He has also forced seven misses tackles as a receiver - fifth among FBS backs.

GOING OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAYANUM

  • DeaMonte Trayanum was the highest-graded running back in the Pac-12 in Week One, posting an overall offensive score of 86.1.
  • 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 in 2020, 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
  • Trayanum averaged a first down or touchdown on 36.7 percent of his carries last season, tops in the league just ahead of his teammate, White (35.7).

A HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR

  • ASU has forced 41 turnovers in its last 16 games dating back to 2019, good for the second-most in the nation over a 16-game span (Iowa, 42).
  • ASU has forced 46 offensive turnovers overall since 2019, 10th among all Power Five teams despite playing significantly fewer games than most schools in 2020.
  • 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 past three seasons (Georgia Southern) and only ASU was in the top-15 in each of those seasons.
  • The Sun Devil defense has forced a fumble 39 times on 1,571 plays run against it since 2019. The 2.5 fumble percentage is the most of any Power Five school in that time.
  • ASU forced a turnover on four of Southern Utah's 11 drives in the opener (36.4 percent). 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 795-406 in points off takeaways since 2012. 
  • Since 2012, ASU has scored 64.1 percent of the time following an opponent turnover (134 of 209) while finding the end zone 98 times in that span (46.9 percent).
  • Conversely, opponents have scored just 48.3 percent of the time following an ASU turnover since 2012 (69 of 143) with 52 touchdowns (36.3 percent).
  • 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 three teams to rank in the Top-25 in fewest interceptions thrown in each of the last three seasons, alongside triple-option offenses from Air Force and Navy.

LOCKING IT DOWN

  • ASU is one of 3 remaining FBS teams to not allow an opponent play over 40 yards this year. The team has the 28th-fewest 10+ yard plays allowed (53), 24th-fewest 20+ yard plays (16), and 26th-fewest 30+ yard plays (6).
  • ASU is allowing just 4.45 yards per play this season, good for 15th in the country and second in the Pac-12. 
  • The Sun Devils held their first four opponents this season under 400 yards of total offense, the first streak with at least four such games since they had five straight games with the feat in 2013. 
  • ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 35 games. The .20 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.11 per game on 4 plays over 36 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). 
  • Since 2018, ASU has allowed just 49 TOTAL 30-plus yard plays (1.4 per game/35 games)). For perspective, from 2014-17, ASU gave up 38, 44, 40, 40 such plays, respectively ranked 116th, 124th, 117th and 119th.

KEEP 'EM OFF THE BOARD

  • Since 2019, ASU has allowed an opponent scoring drive just 77 times on 266 drives, a 28.9 score percentage that is the 21st-lowest in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devils have allowed just 99 offensive touchdowns (2.8 per game/35 games) since Herm Edwards assumed the reins in 2018 - among the Top-25-fewest among FBS programs. For reference, ASU gave up 109 offensive touchdowns alone between 2016 and 2017 (4.4 per game/25 games).
  • ASU has allowed just 44 second-half touchdowns to opponents since 2018 - 10th fewest in the FBS. It has allowed just 26 second half touchdowns since 2019 - sixth-fewest in the FBS.
  • Since 2019, ASU has held opponents to a 24.3 scoring drive percentage in the second half of games (33 of 136) - the ninth-lowest in the FBS.
  • Currently, ASU is 23rd in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in allowing just 17.3 points per game. 
  • With second-half shutouts over UNLV and UCLA, this is the first time ASU has held two opponents without a second-half point in a season since 2012 (Utah/Colorado).
  • ASU is fifth in the FBS in allowing just 5.0 second-half points per game against its FBS opponents.
  • ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 25 of 35 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back to 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.

NO FLY ZONE

  • The Sun Devil secondary has forced 20 "coverage sacks" (plays where the opposing QB has to hold the ball for 3.0 plus seconds and/or throw it away), tied with Alabama for 3rd-most in the nation. ASU is forcing one of these coverage sacks on 12.4 percent of opponent pass attempts - the second-highest percentage in the FBS.
  • Opponents have an NFL quarterback rating of just 70.4 this season - 13th-lowest in the nation.
  • ASU is 7th in the nation in allowing just 146.4 passing yards per game.
  • ASU's coverage has a forced incompletion percentage of 11.7 percent - 16th in the nation
  • Since 2020, ASU has allowed an explosive passing play (15+ yards) just 10.7 percent of the time (37 on 346 attempts) - the 8th-lowest tally in the FBS.
  • In the last three-plus 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.
  • With Colorado throwing for just 67 total passing yards, it was the second time this season ASU has held two opponents under 100 yards in the category (UNLV, 67). The last time ASU accomplished that twice in a season was 2012, though that includes a triple option offense in Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It is the first time it has done so without a triple option offense in the schedule since 2006 (@Colorado, 86/Stanford, 66).
  • ASU has held all five opponents this season under 250 passing yards, extending its streak in that category to eight straight games dating back to last season. That is the longest streak since ASU had an 11-game stretch across the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
  • Jack Jones is allowing just a 66.3 NFL QB rating when he is targeted this season, seventh among Pac-12 corners while his forced incompletion percentage of 17.6 is tops among league corners.
  • Chase Lucas has 43 career starts, needing just five to break Dexter Davis' school record of 47.
  • Among active FBS players, Lucas ranks tied for 14th with 30 career passes defended.
  • Lucas and Jones are the first and second-highest graded corners in the Pac-12 in run defense. 
  • Lucas has allowed a first down or touchdown in coverage just 30 percent of the time - seventh-lowest among Pac-12 corners.

IN THE TRENCHES

  • Ladarius Henderson has allowed just one quarterback pressure this season, tied for second in the Pac-12 and sixth among all FBS offensive linemen (third among FBS guards). 
  • Dohnovan West as allowed just two QB pressures this year, tied for the fewest among Pac-12  (14th among FBS centers). Kellen Diesch is tied for the Pac-12 lead among tackles with just three pressures allowed (12th among FBS tackles). 
  • All told, the ASU has allowed just 21 quarterback pressures this year - 19 fewer than any other Pac-12 school and 5th-fewest in the FBS (though triple option Air Force ranks first). 
  • The line has allowed a pressure on just 16.1 percent of quarterback dropbacks this year, the third-lowest total in the FBS (Northern Illinois and Maryland).
  • ASU quarterbacks have been knocked down just five times this season - tied for third fewest in the nation behind triple option Army and Georgia. 
  • The team has a 84.7 percent score as a pass-blocking unit, over 10-points higher than any other Pac-12 school and third in the FBS.
  • Kellen Diesch is currently the fourth-highest graded offensive player in the Pac-12 (83.3), regardless of position, and the 10th-highest graded tackle in the FBS.
  • Ben Scott and Diesch are the first and second-highest graded tackles in the Pac-12 this season as pass blockers (8th and 9th among FBS tackles).
  • Dohnovan West is the second-highest graded pass blocking center in the Pac-12 (12th among FBS centers) and LaDarius Henderson is the fourth-highest graded pass-blocking guard in the league (13th among FBS guards).

HOLD THE LINE

  • Since the start of last season, the Sun Devil defensive line (only down linemen and ends) has forced a quarterback pressure on 46.5 percent of opponent passing plays - the second-highest in the FBS in that span. This feat is made more impressive considering ASU has blitzed just 19.7 percent of snaps in that time - 11th-fewest nationally.
  • This season alone, the Sun Devil linemen have caused a pressure 49.7 percent of the time - fourth in the FBS on just a 21.7 percent blitz percentage. 
  • As an entire team, ASU has forced a QB pressure 60.3 percent of the time - good for sixth in the FBS.
  • The group tallied 70 total quarterback pressures last year, sixth in the league but a 17.5 pressure per game average along the line that was easily tops in the league.
  • D.J. Davidson is the Pac-12's third-highest graded interior lineman overall (74.9)  - 17th in the FBS - and highest graded interior linemen in run defense this year (81.1) - 8th in the FBS.
  • Davidson is credited with 15 defensive "stops" on run defense, tied for first in the nation among interior linemen.
  • Tyler Johnson is ASU's active leader in tackles for loss (23.0) and sacks (12.5). Last year, he led the team with 5.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss, good for fourth in the Pac-12, respectively

GO DJ, THAT'S MY DJ

  • Redshirt freshman defensive back D.J. Taylor picked up right where he left off last season. Taylor is sixth in the nation with 166 punt return yards - and that comes despite missing a game this year and several plays called back on penalties.
  • His efforts garnered him Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week in Week One. He went over 100 all-purpose yards for the third time in five games as a Sun Devil in that game. Not only did he collect 55 kick return yards, he added 87 punt return yards, the highest total by anyone player in the nation during week one. He only needed three attempts to collect those 87 yards, averaging 29 yards per return. Taylor's 47-yard punt return is the longest of any player in the conference this season. 
  • Taylor was the highest-graded player in the entire country on punt plays in Week One (83.6) according to PFF. The 83.6 rating was actually 10 points higher than any other player nationally. His elusiveness was on full display, as he forced three missed tackles despite only touching the ball five times. 
  • D.J. Taylor was the highest-graded kick returner in the Pac-12 with a grade of 81.1 from Pro Football Focus last season – 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.

MIDDLE OF THE LINEUP

  • Darien Butler is the second-highest graded linebacker in the Pac-12 (75.2), and the 18th-highest graded linebacker in the league.
  • Butler is among the Pac-12's Top-3 linebackers and FBS' top 25 linebackers in both run and pass defense. 
  • Kyle Soelle is the league's fourth highest-graded linebacker as a pass rusher.
  • The duo lead the team in tackles this season (Soelle at 37 and Butler at 36), accounting for 23.2 of ASU's total tackles on the year. Fellow linebacker Merlin Robertson is third on the team with 26 tackles, giving that middle of the lineup 31.5 percent of ASU's total tackles this year. 
  • Butler has 21 defensive stops on the year, good for second among the league's backers.
  • Butler, Robertson and Soelle have combined for 48 defensive stops this year, the most among a team's primary trio of linebackers in the Pac-12 and 31st in the nation. 
  • Merlin Robertson is credited with just three missed tackles this season, tied for fourth among Pac-12 linebackers while Kyle Soelle is tied for seventh with just four.