After three weeks of the new College Football season, the Pac12 conference only has one undefeated team left.
The Arizona State football team had a chance to leap into the conversation about running the South, but a 27-17 loss to Pac12 destroyer BYU leaves more questions than answers for the Sun Devils.
Its no secrete that coming into this game the Devils have not played very well overall, after two tune-up like games it looks like they are still in need of fine tuning.
Tonight they play against two opponents, The Cougars and themselves.
The term “beating themselves” is a gross under statement, as ASU’s lack of focus and attention to the small details would be there down fall all night long.
Having not played in a hostile environment since the 2019 season after Covid, the Devils were clearly not prepared to handle the loud and boisterous crowd in Provo Utah.
A whopping 16 bad accepted penalties against the Devils for 121 yards, most from false starts from the offensive line and even wide receivers.
This game was a very winnable game for the Sun Devils, having so many returning players looked like they were ready to prove they could maturely pull off a win even when they were not playing at their best.
But it proved just the opposite, as this team looks like a team still trying to gel together, and looking like an undisciplined unit with no leadership.
The wide receiver room is filled with inexperience, and quarterback Jaden Daniels appears to be suffering because of it.
Daniels again was pretty efficient all night with a 21 of 29 for 265 yards stat line, but still not able to make the plays needed to impact crucial games for wins.
After all of this turmoil the Sun Devils had more than enough opportunity to win this game, but the atmosphere and the moment proved to be way too big for them as they faltered to self inflicted wounds all night.
The game gets off to a crazy start, as the Devils would give BYU an extra possession by fumbling the opening kick off setting up the games first points.
When the game was at 7-7, it looked as if the Sun Devils would seize control of the game when Jaden Daniels connected on a deep middle route to his tight end inside the five yard line.
But that’s when the penalties began to mount, and the Devils began to take the proverbial gun and commence to shooting off their own toes one at a time.
Tight end Curtis Hodges was called for being illegally down field, and it negated the potential go ahead score and perhaps control of the game early.
From there it got worse, as the team jumped offside on the O-line on back to back plays three times in the game, 16 penalties were accepted but they were actually flagged 20 times.
It’s hard enough to play against the opponent, but it’s nearly impossible to play them and against yourself as well.
Plays that could turn the game into a winning opportunity went against the Sun Devils all night.
The biggest play was the interception and strip fumble of linebacker Merlin Robertson to end the third quarter. Robertson made a great play on the ball, but couldn’t secure it for possession and potentially take the lead despite their unstable performance.
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier made the hustle play of the night, as he raced and caught Robertson and hit him with a karate like chop and knock the ball out.
After that play it just seemed as though the ASU football team would be snake bitten, and couldn’t overcome the severe adversity set before them.
The Sun Devils power running game got them back into the game, as they only racked up 161 total running yards including Dainiels for 18 of that on 10 carries.
Change of pace running back Daniyel Ngata came in and did exactly that, he changed the game to get the Devils back in it and the last few drives was taken out.
Questionable substitution, seeing Ngata had fresh legs and a burst of speed through the line of scrimmage and causing problems for the Cougars defense.
Ngata hit for 82 yards on only eight carries in a short period of time in the third quarter, and he got those carries almost consecutively all in the third quarter where he made his first appearance in the game.
Power running games usually take over and produce wins, But going in reverse with penalties stopped all Sun Devil momentum in the second half.
This one was very hard to watch, and lots of credit to the crazy crowd in Provo, not allowing the Devils to hear and concentrate at the line of scrimmage all night.
ASU controlled time of possession, and had more total yardage 426 to 361 and got beat.
Factors that cause that outcome every time, Penalties and turnovers.
Adding to the penalty ridden night, the Devils added four turnovers which would help be their undoing.
So much for being in the talks of winning the Pac12 South, those chances just got slimmer after that performance.
It is not over by any means, as this conference is the conference of no team taking the reins completely.
Oregon is still undefeated after three weeks, but this conference is so far behind to being elite competition in college football that anything is possible for any one of these teams can get hot enough to default themselves as the winner of the conference.
Conference play begins for the Devils in their next game, taking on Colorado at home.
If there is any chance left for the Arizona State Sun Devils to win the South, it will be to not lose to conference teams by any means necessary.