The word “expectation” does not come to mind when talking about the uncertainty of the 2022 ASU Sun Devils football team, after a rough offseason with a pending investigation and several key players leaving via the transfer portal.
The Devils get a tune-up game against the NAU Lumberjack, but the question coming in was, Is this truly a tune-up game or an actual competition game?
The games with the smaller programs are supposed to be like a preseason game, but we have no idea what this team was going to look like tonight.
The opening drive resulted in 3 points, but the offense moved the ball fairly easy until they got inside the 30, and the 27-yard field goal starts things off.
The first quarter is normally the quarter where teams feel each other out, and that’s what it felt like the first few drives of the game.
The third consecutive number 5 at quarterback for the Devils Emory Jones making his first start at quarterback, with many expectations upon his shoulders to make this team able to compete.
Jones’s first quarter throwing the ball he missed on two big plays, one play a post route underthrown to his intended receiver that could have easily been a touchdown pass.
The offense got going as Jones completed 10/12 for 120 yards and he added 20 yards rushing, and capped his first touchdown drive on the season with a one-yard quarterback steak and close the half with a 17-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 24-3 halftime lead.
Devils’ defense held the lumberjacks to 102 total yards of offense and 2 turnovers.
The Sun Devils running game was very effective in the first half led by Daniyel Ngata 49 yards on 5 carries and looked very explosive.
Open the second half with 5 plays 68 yards ended with a 27-yard touchdown run from Eazavian Valladay and a 31-3 lead.
Emory Jones looks the part of a string college quarterback, he was very poised and calm and showed off his arm talent.
The young gunslinger needs work, but this start is a very good start to build on going forward.
After the departure of Jaden Daniels,let all of the comparisons begin, as to which player is the best.
Last year’s passing game struggled to get the ball downfield and Jones had several downfield throws that also featured the tight ends through the first half.
The second half featured the run game and the pass offense went totally silent as Jones went 3/6 for 32 yards, and the run game carried the win home for the team.
There is no secrete that the Sun Devil run game would be the bell cow for the team this season, tonight they finished with 267 yards on 49 touches and 4 rushing touchdowns.
There was really no need to throw the ball the entire second half when the run game is gashing teams to the tune of 5.4 yards per carry.
ASU finished the game with a 40-3 spanking, but if they were more efficient in the redone tonight, this could have been a 50-point blowout.
Next on the schedule is 12th ranked Oklahoma St on the road, who torched their opponent for 58 points and also gave up 44.
This will be the test to see how the Sun Devils football team really stacks up to the elite teams, and how far away they are from contending in the Pac12.
Sun Devils went out and did what they were expected to do, and the outcome sure beats the alternative, but it’s a good sign that the talent level between these two teams was a gaping hole in between.