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Sun Devils Look to Get Back on Track Against USC

Nov 2, 2021

THE GAME -  Sun Devil Football will look to end a two-game slide with a contest against the USC Trojans on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. AZT at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN (Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore and Stormy Buonantony on the call) and available over the airwaves locally on 620 AM (Tim Healey, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Jordan Simone, Jeff Munn).

ON USC - USC is coming off a 41-34 victory over Arizona that brought the Trojans back to .500 on the season and in Pac-12 action. USC leads the all-time series, 24-13, and are winners of 6 of the last 7 games in the series. The Trojans will be without one of the nation's premier players the rest of 2021 as All-American candidate and leading Biletnikoff Award nominee Drake London broke his ankle while catching a TD against Arizona this past weekend. 

KICKING OFF

  • When rushing on third down, Jayden Daniels has picked up a first down or touchdown with his feet 57.1 percent of the time (56 rushes) - 9th among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.
  • ASU is one of just 12 teams in the country with four players with over 250 rushing yards.
  • Among Pac-12 backs with at least 40 carries this season, Trayanum has the third-lowest "stuff rate" in the league at just 3.3 percent (60 carries). 
  • Daniyel Ngata has 17 first downs on his 40 attempts this season and has a first down/touchdown on 42.5 percent of his touches - the highest tally in the Pac-12 and third in the FBS (min. 40 carries)
  • ASU's third-down conversion rate sits at 47.9 percent - 15th in the FBS. This has been a marked improvement for the Sun Devils over the past decade plus. ASU was also 21st in the shortened season last season (46.67). For perspective, ASU had finished in the Top-25 in third-down conversions just once from 2009-2019 (23rd in 2017).  It finished 47th or worse in every other year in that span at 75th or worse in six of those.
  • ASU has forced 47 turnovers in its last 19 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation over a 19-game span (Iowa, 45).
  • ASU's 38 rushing touchdowns over its last 11 games are the most in the FBS over a 11-game span ahead Air Force's triple option offense (36). ASU has 23 rushing touchdowns this season, good for 12th in the nation.
  • All told, the ASU offensive linemen alone have allowed just 38 quarterback pressures this year - 10 fewer than any other Pac-12 school and 6th-fewest in the FBS.

AN ASU VICTORY WOULD...

  • Keep ASU within at least a game of the first in the Pac-12 South
  • End ASU's two-game losing streak
  • End USC's two-game winning streak in the series against ASU.
  • Be just ASU's second win in the last 8 games against the Trojans
  • Be the second time ASU has beaten both USC and UCLA in the same season under Herm Edwards - a feat that had happened just four times in the Pac-12 era prior to Edwards' tenure (1986, 1996, 1999, 2013)
  • Make ASU bowl eligible

NOTABLE SERIES NUMBERS - USC

RUSHING YARDS

  • 216-Ronald Jones, USC (#17 USC 48, ASU 17/Oct. 28, 2017)
  • 214-J.R. Redmond, ASU (@USC 35, ASU 24/Oct. 3, 1998)
  • 197-LenDale White, USC (#1 USC 38, @#14 ASU 28/Oct. 1, 2005)

PASSING YARDS

  • 510-Mike Bercovici, ASU (ASU 38, #16 USC 34/Oct. 4, 2014)
  • 432-Kedon Slovis, USC (ASU 31, ASU 26/Nov. 9, 2019)
  • 381-Kedon Slovis, USC (@#20 USC 28, ASU 27/Nov. 7, 2020)

RECEIVING YARDS

  • 202-Jaelen Strong, ASU (ASU 38, #16 USC 34/Oct. 4, 2014)
  • 173-Jeff Simmons, USC (@ASU 17, USC 10/Oct. 30, 1982)
  • 171-Keyshawn Johnson, USC (@USC 31, ASU 0/Sept. 30, 1995)

TACKLES

  • 23-Nathan LaDuke, ASU (USC 13, @ASU 6/Oct. 27, 1990)
  • 20-Jordan Simone, ASU (ASU 38, #16 USC 34/Oct. 4, 2014)
  • 20-Chris Claiborne, USC (@ASU 48, USC 35/Oct. 19, 1996)

MILESTONE WATCH

621 passing yards by Jayden Daniels to reach 6,000 in his career (Currently at 5,379)

97 rushing yards by Rachaad White to reach 1,000 in his ASU career (Currently at 903)

4 touchdowns by Rachaad White to reach 20 in his career (Currently at 16 - 14 rush, 2 receiving)

4.5 sacks by Tyler Johnson to move into the Top-10 in ASU career history (needs 19.0, currently at 14.5)

3 starts by Chase Lucas to become ASU's all-time leader in career starts (needs 48, currently at 45)

3 tackles by Evan Fields  to reach 200 in his career (currently at 197)

BY THE NUMBERS
50 - 
ASU has allowed just seven plays over 50 yards to opponents since the 2018 season over 38 games. The .18 50+ yard plays per game allowed are 2nd-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.13 per game on 5 plays over 39 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17. The last 50-yard play allowed was a rush by UCLA's Britain Brown in 2020, giving ASU a streak of 10 straight games without a 50-yard play allowed. It last gave up a 50-yard passing play in the 2019 Sun Bowl against Florida State, marking 12 straight games without a passing play over 50 yards.

38 - ASU's 38 rushing touchdowns over its last 11 games are the most in the FBS over a 11-game span ahead Air Force's triple option offense (36). ASU has 23 rushing touchdowns this season, good for 12th in the nation. ASU is one of just 12 teams in the country with four players with over 250 rushing yards. ASU has rushed for at least 100 yards in 12 straight games dating back to last season. Daniyel Ngata has 17 first downs on his 40 attempts this season and has a first down/touchdown on 42.5 percent of his touches - the highest tally in the Pac-12 and third in the FBS (min. 40 carries)

38 - Since the start of last season, the Sun Devil defensive line (only down linemen and ends) has forced a quarterback pressure on 38.6 percent of opponent passing plays - the 14th-highest in the FBS in that span. This feat is made more impressive considering ASU has blitzed just 21.1 percent of snaps in that time - 13th-lowest nationally. The team is averaging 6.5 tackles for loss per game, good for 20th in the nation and first in the Pac-12. The team is second in the league in averaging 2.62 sacks per game. D.J. Davidson is the Pac-12's highest graded interior lineman overall (78.2)  - 24th in the FBS.

38 - All told, the ASU offensive linemen alone have allowed just 38 quarterback pressures this year - 10 fewer than any other Pac-12 school and 6th-fewest in the FBS. Only 11 pressures this season have come unblocked, good for the 4th-lowest total in the FBS. ASU has allowed a pressure on just 23.9% of dropbacks this year, the 14th-lowest total in the FBS. ASU quarterbacks have been knocked down just 15 times this season - 7th lowest in the FBS. Among offensive linemen with 250 snaps in pass protection this year, LaDarius Henderson and Dohnovan West have allowed just three quarterback pressures this year - tied for seventh-fewest among FBS offensive linemen.

26 - ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 26 of 38 games under Herm Edwards, notable as it DID allow 30+ in 32 of 43 previous games dating back in a span from 2013-17. ASU is 8th in the FBS in allowing just 7.6 second-half points per game against its FBS opponents. ASU is outscoring teams 106-60 in the second half of games this year and 61-29 in the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils have allowed just 109 offensive touchdowns (2.9 per game/38 games) since Herm Edwards assumed the reins in 2018. For reference, ASU gave up 109 offensive touchdowns alone between 2016-17 (4.4 per game/25 games).

3 - ASU's third-down conversion rate sits at 47.9 percent - 15th in the FBS. This has been a marked improvement for the Sun Devils over the past decade-plus. ASU was also 21st in the shortened season last season (46.67). For perspective, ASU had finished in the Top-25 in third-down conversions just once from 2009-2019 (23rd in 2017).  It finished 47th or worse in every other year in that span at 75th or worse in six of those. The team is especially deadly on third-and-short, converting 88.9 percent of its opportunities (16-of-18) with one or two yards to go on third down - tops in the FBS.

#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 26.5 - the 22nd-worst starting field position in the country.

2. ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 26 of 38 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. Since the start of last year, ASU's defensive linemen have forced a QB pressure 38.6 percent of the time - 14th best in the FBS despite having 13th-lowest blitz percentage (21.1 percent).

4. Daniyel Ngata is third in the FBS in averaging a first down or touchdown on 42.5 percent of his 40 carries this season.

5. ASU has converted 88.9 percent of its opportunities (16-of-18) with one or two yards to go on third down - best in the FBS.

6. When rushing on third down, Jayden Daniels has picked up a first down or touchdown 57.1 percent of the time (56 attempts) - 9th among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.

7.  ASU's offensive line has allowed a quarterback pressure on just 23.9 percent of dropbacks this year, the 14th-lowest tally in the FBS.

8. ASU is eighth in the FBS in allowing just 7.6 second-half points per game against its FBS opponents. 

9. The Sun Devils lead the nation in allowing just one play over 40 yards this season and are one of just four teams not to allow a 50-yard play on the year. 

10. ASU is one of just 12 teams in the country with four players with over 250 rushing yards on the year.

DANNNGGGGG DANIELS

  • Jayden Daniels is currently the highest graded quarterback in the Pac-12 this season (89.4) - and the second-highest graded offensive player in the league regardless of position. The tally marks him as the 27th-highest graded player in the nation, regardless of position, and 12th among QBs.
  • Daniels is currently 29th in the nation and second in the league in yards per attempt at 8.54. 
  • His 68.5 completion percentage is 14th in the nation (min. 200 attempts) and is tops in the league while he has posted an incredible 78.6 percent adjusted completion percentage (accounting for drops), which is 9th in the FBS.
  • Daniels is accounting for 267.6 total yards of offense per game this year, 31st nationally and third in the Pac-12.
  • Daniels is 21st in the FBS since 2019 in fourth quarter passing yards (1,165) while his 10 touchdown passes in the final frame are tied for 15th.
  • Daniels has an NFL passer rating of 111.3 in the fourth quarter of games, sixth-highest among FBS quarterbacks since 2019 (min. 100 attempts). 
  • Since 2019, Daniels is second in the FBS in yards per pass attempt with 11+ yards to go (min. 50 attempts) at 11.6 ypa while he is second in yards per completion in the category (17.7 on 1,113 yards and 63 catches). He has seven touchdown passes on third and very long, tied for second in the FBS since 2019. 
  • His NFL passer rating with over 11+ yards to go since 2019 is 125.0, good for first in the nation since 2019.
  • Among players with at least 400 passing attempts since 2019, Jayden Daniels ranks tied for sixth in fewest interceptions with just eight on 625 attempts (1.3 percent of his throws). He has the 18th highest NFL QBR in that time at 100.1.
  • Daniels has thrown just two interceptions on third down in his career, tied for sixth-fewest in the FBS since 2019 (min. 100 attempts). The first 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 8.8 (1,378 yards on 156 attempts).
  • Among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 100 third-down attempts since 2019, Daniels is 18th with an NFL quarterback rating of 96.0.

JAY WALKING

  • As a rusher, Jayden Daniels has a grade of 80.1, good for first among quarterbacks in the league and eighth overall. He is the 12th-highest graded quarterback as a rusher this season.
  • Daniels has forced 24 missed tackles this season, eighth among FBS QBs. His 494 rushing yards before sacks are 12th among FBS quarterbacks.
  • He has 21 explosive runs (10+), fifth among FBS quarterbacks and third out of any player in the Pac-12, regardless of position.
  • Since 2019, Daniels' 1,276 rushing yards overall (sacks excluded) are 17th among active quarterbacks and among those with at least 100 carries, his 6.1 yards per rush are 21st. 
  • Daniels surpassed the 1,000 career rushing yard mark against Washington State and now sits at 1,1010. The school record in quarterback career rushing yards in 1,404 by Taylor Kelly.
  • 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 (56 rushes) - 9th among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.
  • His 7.8 yards per carry when rushing on third down are 11th among FBS quarterbacks since 2019. He has 20 explosive third down runs (runs of 10+ yards) good for fourth among FBS quarterbacks since 2019.

RUSH HOUR

  • ASU's 38 rushing touchdowns over its last 11 games are the most in the FBS over a 11-game span ahead Air Force's triple option offense (36). ASU has 23 rushing touchdowns this season, good for 12th in the nation.
  • ASU is one of just 12 teams in the country with four players with over 250 rushing yards.
  • ASU had 10-straight games dating back to 2020 with over 150 rushing yards before that streak was ended against Utah, where the team finished two yards shy at 148. It was 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 seven of its last 14 games dating back to 2019. ASU has gone over 250 yards rushing in 5 of the last 11 games. In the Herm Edwards era,  ASU has rushed for 200 or more yards 12 times and 250+ yards 10 times.
  • ASU is 39th nationally and fourth in the Pac-12 with 191.5 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 wide receiver group of of Johnny Wilson, Andre Johnson, Bryan Thompson and Ricky Pearsall ranking as the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 31st highest-graded receivers as run blockers in the entire FBS (min. 150 snaps).
  • Kellen Diesch checks in as the 30th-highest graded run blocker in the nation and 14th among tackles. He has the second-highest grade as a run blocker, regardless of position, in the Pac-12.
  • As a team, ASU has the 20th-highest graded run blocking group in the FBS (75.8).

THE PRICE IS WHITE

  • Rachaad White had his streak of posting a rushing touchdown in eight straight games dating back to last season and has multiple in five of those ended against Utah. His nine rushing touchdowns this season are still 25th in the country and fourth in the league despite missing the WSU game. 
  • White has multiple touchdowns in six of his 11 games at ASU and has at least one touchdown in nine of those 11 games with the Devils.
  • He has been a workhorse for ASU, sixth among Pac-12 running backs with 113 touches this season (86 rushing, 27 receiving) despute missing a game. His 262 total snaps are also sixth among Pac-12 running backs. 
  • White is the third-highest graded running back in the Pac-12 this season (83.6) and the 16th-highest graded one in the FBS.
  • White has rushed for 26 first downs this season, 8th among Pac-12 backs. However, he has added 12 first downs as a receiver - fifth among all FBS running backs.  
  • 67.7 percent of White's yards have come after contact this season - the 4th-most in the Pac-12 (min. 75 attempts).
  • He is also the third-highest graded running back in the league as a receiver (78.4) and 11th-highest graded in the category nationally among backs. 
  • His 30 targets in the passing game are two more than any other Pac-12 player despite his missed game and eighth among running backs nationally. His 27 receptions are two more than any other Pac-12 back and sixth among FBS running backs.
  • White has 295 yards after the catch (think catches behind the line of scrimmage) - 43 more yards than any other Pac-12 back and the fifth-highest tally of any FBS running back this season.
  • He has also forced eight misses tackles as a receiver - 11th among FBS backs.

GOING OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAYANUM/IN-NGATA DA VIDA

  • DeaMonte Trayanum was the highest-graded running back in the Pac-12 in Week One, posting an overall offensive score of 86.1.
  • Among Pac-12 backs with at least 40 carries this season, Trayanum has the third-lowest "stuff rate" in the league at just 3.3 percent (60 carries). 
  • Daniyel Ngata has 17 first downs on his 40 attempts this season and has a first down/touchdown on 42.5 percent of his touches - the highest tally in the Pac-12 and third in the FBS (min. 40 carries)
  • Ngata has 11 explosive rushes (rushes of 10+ yards) on his 40 attempts - the 12th-best tally in the league despite having significantly fewer touches than those ahead of him.
  • 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).

TAKING OFFENSE

  • Against FBS opponents in non-garbage time, ASU has a +1.30 yards per play advantage between its offensive yards gained per play and defensive yards allowed per play. The net positive is 17th-highest in the nation. 
  • ASU's offense is averaging 6.68 yards per play on the season (against FBS opponents in non-garbage time) - good for 22nd in the FBS. 
  • Against FBS opponents, the Sun Devils pick up at least four yards per play on 66.7 percent of plays (4th in the FBS) and gain at least seven yards on 42.4 percent of plays (8th in the FBS).
  • The team is averaging 2.58 points per drive on the year against FBS opponents - 37th best in the FBS. When the team starts between its own 20-40 yard lines, it averages 2.90 points per drive against FBS teams - the 22nd-best tally in the nation.
  • ASU's offense has earned 57.2 percent of the total yards available this season - the 20th-best tally in the FBS. The team is deadly with a short field (from its own 40 inwards), gaining 84.9 percent of the total yards available - third-most in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devils are 36th in the FBS with 43 plays over 20 yards this season - tops in the Pac-12.
  • According to CFB-Graphs.com, ASU's Expected Points Added (EPA) per offensive play average is .228 - good for 12th in the FBS. The site credits ASU's offense with a positive play 49.0 percent of the time - the seventh-best ratio in the nation.

THIRD TIMES THE CHARM

  • ASU has a third-down conversion rate of 48.24 against FBS opponents, good for 11th in the country.
  • With Southern Utah included, ASU's third-down conversion rate still sits at 47.9 percent - 15th in the FBS.
  • This has been a marked improvement for the Sun Devils over the past decade plus. ASU was also 21st in the shortened season last season (46.67). For perspective, ASU had finished in the Top-25 in third-down conversions just once from 2009-2019 (23rd in 2017).  It finished 47th or worse in every other year in that span at 75th or worse in six of those.
  • The team is especially deadly on third-and-short, converting 88.9 percent of its opportunities (16-of-18) with one or two yards to go on third down - tops in the FBS.

A HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR

  • ASU has forced 47 turnovers in its last 19 games dating back to 2019, good for the most in the nation over a 19-game span (Iowa, 45).
  • ASU has forced 52 offensive turnovers overall since 2019, 14th among all FBS 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.
  • 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 809-430 in points off takeaways since 2012. 
  • Since 2012, ASU has scored 63.3 percent of the time following an opponent turnover (136 of 215) while finding the end zone 100 times in that span (46.5 percent).
  • Conversely, opponents have scored just 48.7 percent of the time following an ASU turnover since 2012 (73 of 150) with 55 touchdowns (36.7 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 (since 2018), alongside triple-option offenses from Air Force and Navy.  The Sun Devils are currently tied for 33rd in 2021 with five this season.

LOCKING IT DOWN

  • ASU was the final team in country to not allow an opponent play over 40 yards this year, a streak that came to a close against Washington State.  Still, ASU's one 40-yard play is the fewest allowed in the FBS. The team has the ninth-fewest 30+ yard plays allowed with just nine.
  • ASU is one of just four teams in the FBS to not allow a 50-yard play on the year.
  • The Sun Devils are 29th in the FBS and second in the league in allowing just 330.4 yards of offense per game. 
  • ASU has multiple games this season in which it has held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing AND/OR less than 100 yards passing. It is the first time that has happened since 2012 (four games under 100 yards rushing and two games under 100 yards passing).
  • ASU is allowing just 5.06 yards per play this season, good for 32nd in the country and second in the Pac-12. 
  • Against FBS opponents, ASU has forced a busted drive (drives with zero or negative yards) 15.5 percent of the time - 31st best in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devil defense has been credited with just 75 missed tackles this year - the 29th-lowest tally in the nation. 
  • 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 38 games. The .18 50+ yard plays per game allowed are second-fewest in the FBS in that time behind only Washington (.13 per game on 5 plays over 39 games). ASU ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in 50+ yards played allowed each year from 2014-17.
  • The last time ASU gave up a 50-yard play was a rush by UCLA's Britain Brown in 2020, giving ASU a streak of 10 straight games without a 50-yard play allowed. It last gave up a 50-yard passing play in the 2019 Sun Bowl against Florida State, marking 12 straight games without a passing play over 50 yards.
  • 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 52 TOTAL 30-plus yard plays (1.4 per game/38 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

  • Currently, ASU is 32nd in the FBS and second in the Pac-12 in allowing just 20.8 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 eighth in the FBS in allowing just 7.6 second-half points per game against its FBS opponents. ASU is outscoring teams 106-60 in the second half of games this year and 61-29 in the fourth quarter. 
  • Since 2019, ASU has allowed an opponent scoring drive just 88 times on 301 drives, a 29.6 score percentage that is the 23rd-lowest in the FBS.
  • Since 2019, ASU has held opponents to a 25.0 scoring drive percentage in the second half of games (38 of 152) - the ninth-lowest in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devils have allowed just 109 offensive touchdowns (2.9 per game/38 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 48 second-half touchdowns to opponents since 2018 - 13th fewest in the FBS. It has allowed just 30 second half touchdowns since 2019 - 10th-fewest in the FBS.
  • ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 26 of 38 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.

NO FLY ZONE

  • The Sun Devils have forced three or more interceptions in 5 of the last 14 games dating back to 2019. ASU is tied for 8th in the FBS this season with 11. 
  • The Sun Devils have emphasized "cat" coverage this season - man coverage where it's defensive backs are simply asked to guard their "cat". The Sun Devils have been lock down with just 86 "open" targets allowed this year - the lowest tally among Power Five teams. Opponents have an open target just 35.0 percent of the time - also the lowest in the Power Five.
  • Opponents have an NFL quarterback rating of just 76.2 this season - 7th-lowest in the Power Five. 
  • ASU is 28th in the nation in allowing just 196.1 passing yards per game.
  • ASU's coverage has a forced incompletion rate of 11.4 percent - 6th in the Power Five.
  • Since 2020, ASU has allowed an explosive passing play (15+ yards) just 13.2 percent of the time (61 on 462 attempts) - among the 25 lowest totals in the FBS.
  • Since Herm Edwards' arrival in 2018, the Sun Devil secondary has allowed just 17 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).
  • Prior to Stanford, ASU had held its first five opponents this season under 250 passing yards, extending its streak in that category to eight straight games dating back to last season. That was the longest streak since ASU had an 11-game stretch across the 1991 and 1992 seasons. In total, ASU has held seven of eight opponents under 250 passing yards this year.

IN THE TRENCHES

  • Among Pac-12 offensive linemen with 250 snaps in pass protection this year, LaDarius Henderson and Dohnovan West have allowed just three quarterback pressures this year - tied for seventh-fewest among FBS offensive linemen this season. Kellen Diesch is not far behind them with only four allowed, tied for 15th among FBS linemen.
  • All told, the ASU offensive linemen alone have allowed just 38 quarterback pressures this year - 10 fewer than any other Pac-12 school and 6th-fewest in the FBS.
  • Only 11 pressures this season have come unblocked, good for the fourth-lowest total in the FBS.
  • ASU has allowed a pressure on just 23.9 percent of quarterback dropbacks this year, the 14th-lowest total in the FBS.
  • ASU quarterbacks have been knocked down just 15 times this season - seventh lowest in the FBS.
  • The team has a 78.2 overall score as a pass blocking unit, ninth in the nation and second in the Pac-12.
  • Kellen Diesch is currently the third-highest graded offensive player in the Pac-12 (87.4), regardless of position, and the 8th-highest graded tackle overall in the FBS. He is the highest-graded tackle as both pass-blocker in the league (91.5) and the second-highest graded one in the entire FBS. He is the second-highest graded tackle in the Pac-12 on run defense and 14th in the nation. 
  • Dohnovan West is the 12th-highest graded pass blocking center in the FBS and LaDarius Henderson is the 5th-highest graded pass-blocking guard in college football

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 38.6 percent of opponent passing plays - the 14th-highest in the FBS in that span. This feat is made more impressive considering ASU has blitzed just 21.1 percent of snaps in that time - 13th-lowest nationally.
  • The team is averaging 6.5 tackles for loss per game, good for 20th in the nation and first in the Pac-12. The team is second in the league in averaging 2.62 sacks per game.
  • The line 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 highest graded interior lineman overall (78.2)  - 24th in the FBS - and highest graded interior linemen in run defense this year (84.7) - 6th in the FBS.
  • Davidson is credited with 22 defensive "stops" on run defense, tops in the nation among interior linemen.
  • Tyler Johnson is ASU's active leader in tackles for loss (27.5) and sacks (14.5). He needs 4.5 more sacks to move into the Top-10 in ASU history.
  • Johnson has forced a QB pressure on 11.0 percent of his pass rush snaps this season - the eighth-best mark among Pac-12 edge defenders (min. 125 pass rush snaps).
  • Johnson was named the Walter Camp National Defender of the Week for his effort against Stanford, as well as the Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week. He finished with five total tackles (four solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks in a dominant effort and was also credited with a key forced fumble. Johnson was the 7th-highest graded defender in Pac-12 overall according to PFF and the 2nd-best among edge defenders (77.8). His 6 QB pressures were the most in the Pac-12 for the week (14th in FBS). Johnson managed to force a pressure on 18.8 percent of his snaps, most in the Pac-12 (18th in FBS).

NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTLERS

  • Sun Devil Football linebacker Darien Butler was named a semifinalist for the 2021 Butkus Award, the Butkus foundation announced on Monday. Butler is one of 16 candidates for the award given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker at the FBS level.
  • Butler leads the team with 50 tackles this season in addition to leading the team with 7.0 tackles for loss - seventh-most in the Pac-12 and second among true linebackers. He has 14 tackles for loss OR no gain, tied for the most in the Pac-12 and fifth among all FBS linebackers.
  • Butler has 26 defensive stops on the year, good for fourth among the league's backers.
  • Butler is the Pac-12's highest graded linebacker in coverage at 90.2 - fifth among all LBs in the nation.
  • His three interceptions this season are the most for a linebacker at ASU since Mike Nixon had three in 2009.