Skip to main content

Sun Devils Can’t Contain Eagles’ Rushing Attack in 30-21 Loss

Sep 17, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Sun Devils struggled to contain Eastern Michigan's potent rushing attack in the first meeting between these schools, dropping their final non-conference game of the season, 30-21, on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.

Arizona State made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter after Xazavian Valladay burst through the middle for a 44-yard touchdown run to trim the Eastern Michigan lead to 27-21 with 10 minutes left.

The fourth touchdown for Valladay this season also extended his streak of consecutive games with touchdowns to four, dating back to his Wyoming career. It's the second time in his career he's scored in four straight contests.

Valladay has now tallied 100-plus yards on the ground in each of his first three games as a Sun Devil.

But a fourth-quarter field goal by Eastern Michigan's Jesus Gomez with less than five minutes to play – one of two he hit in the second-half – gave the Eagles a late nine-point lead, which the Sun Devils couldn't cut into for the remainder of the night.

The Sun Devils were held scoreless in the first quarter, while the Eagles' rushing attack allowed them to jump out to a quick 10-0 edge. Gomez chipped in a 27-yard field goal for the first score of the contest, and Jaylon Jackson ran one in from four yards out minutes later.

Emory Jones found Andre Johnson for a three-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to get the Sun Devils on the board. The score was set up courtesy of Kejuan Markham's interception, which was returned deep into Eagles' territory.

A year removed from finishing eighth in the FBS with 16 interceptions, the Sun Devil defense has now recorded an interception in five straight games dating back to last season and 10 of the last 11.

After recording zero receptions last week at Oklahoma State, Johnson hauled in a quick three against the Eagles, the latter going for the second touchdown of his career.

Later in the second quarter, Jones scrambled into the end zone from three yards out to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Jones' second touchdown of the quarter was sandwiched between a pair of Eastern Michigan scores. Quarterback Austin Smith, in for the injured starter Taylor Powell, connected with Hassan Beydoun for a six-yard touchdown. Samson Evans plowed into the end zone from three yards out, widening the Eagles' lead to 24-14 at the half.

Despite holding the Eagles to six points in the final two quarters, the Sun Devils couldn't cash in on offense, save for the late score by Valladay.

Now on to conference play, the Sun Devils are back at home next week to host No. 14 Utah on Saturday, September 30, with a 7:30 p.m. MST kickoff on ESPN.