College Football News Preview 2020: Arizona State Sun Devils Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Arizona State Sun Devils Offense
165 yards. That’s not all that many – it’s what a mediocre FCS ground attack should come up with a game – but that’s the magic rushing mark so far for ASU in the Herm Edwards era.
The Sun Devils were 115th in the nation in rushing averaging 123 yards per game, but when they had even a little bit of success, they won. Over the last two seasons, they’re 9-0 when hitting the 165-yard mark – it’s just that specific. They’re 6-11 when they run for fewer, losing twice in 2018 running for 164 yards.
Losing almost all of the running back production with the departure of Eno Benjamin – more on this in a moment – and with the offensive line needing some work, it’ll take the dates against Northern Arizona and UNLV to start to get this going.
Biggest Key To The Arizona State Sun Devils Defense
Toughen up in the red zone. For the most part, the defense was great in the losses. It was able to take the ball away, pressure wasn’t a problem, and the defeats were mostly the fault of the other side of the ball.
However, there was one key problem in the losses, especially in the four-game streak in the second half of the season – red zone touchdowns.
Only ten teams gave up a worse percentage of touchdowns when offenses got inside the 20. Allowing points isn’t all that big a deal as long as they’re threes and not sevens, and ASU gave up sevens a whopping 72% of the time.
In three of the four losses late in the year, three opposing offenses were a perfect 12-of-12 at scoring touchdowns in the red zone, and Utah was 2-of-3. By comparison, the ASU D allowed red zone touchdowns just 58% of the time in 2018.
Key Arizona State Sun Devils Player To A Successful Season
RB AJ Carter, Soph.
Or any one of the running back options who can fill in for new Arizona Cardinal Eno Benjamin. QB Jayden Daniels will do his part to keep the ground game going, and Carter was third on the team in rushing last season with just 50 yards – the Sun Devils need a workhorse back.
No one other than Benjamin or Daniels ran for a score last year.
Good recruits DeaMonte Trayanum and Daniyel Ngata will get their shot, and other young backs will be in the mix, but the loss of Benjamin and the transfer of a few options puts the pressure on the 6-0, 218-pound Carter to step up and shine.
Key Game To The Arizona State Sun Devils Season
at USC, Sept. 26
The Pac-12 opener for the Sun Devils is a really, really big deal. They’ve lost three of the last four games against USC, but the one win was on the road in 2018. Pull it off in LA, and with the next three games against Pac-12 teams that didn’t go bowling last year – Oregon State, UCLA, and at Colorado – there’s a shot to go on a big run to take control of the South early on.
– Arizona State Sun Devils Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Arizona State Fun Stats
– ASU 1st Quarter Scoring: 55 – ASU 2nd Quarter Scoring: 117
– Field Goals: ASU 23-of-27 – Opponents 6-of-12
– Fumbles: Opponents 26 (lost 15) – ASU 18 (lost 10)