It’s December and the Arizona State Sun Devils are just 0-1. That’s pretty crazy, even by 2020-global-pandemic standards crazy.
Your UCLA Bruins are headed to Tempe, Arizona to take on the Sun Devils after they were forced to cancel their last three schedule games due to a variety of issues within the program and surrounded by COVID-19 concerns.
The Sun Devils are 0-1 after a last-minute loss to the USC Trojans that saw them allow two touchdowns in the span of just over a minute and a half as well as a successful onside kick attempt from USC that essentially won the Trojans the game. Or lost the Sun Devils their matchup.
Aside from the late defensive collapse, the Sun Devils had some good and some bad against USC. And as that’s the only bit of analysis or film we can watch off of how this team will fare for the rest of 2020, we can go back and take an even closer look.
QB Jayden Daniels didn’t fare too well throwing the ball without his favorite weapon from a season ago in Brandon Aiyuk, now with the San Francisco 49ers. He connected on just 11-of-23 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. He really struggled when attempting passes outside of the numbers and routinely overthrew his targets on the outside.
His offensive line did him no favors and he was also routinely pressured, and pressured quickly, forced to throw it just as fast or take off scrambling.
One thing that did go well for the Sun Devils on offense was their replacement plan for star running back Eno Benjamin. It was more of a two-man attack without Benjamin, seeing youngsters Chip Trayanum and Rachaad White get the bulk of the work on the ground as well as an impressive play by White through the air.
Trayanum ran for 84 yards and two scores while White tallied 76 yards on the ground and another 70 through the air, 55 of which came on a long play that saw him scorch past the USC defense with incredible speed.
This duo of Trayanum and White will absolutely have to be accounted for. As will Frank Darby on the outside and true freshman wide receiver Johnny Wilson, who stands at a massive 6-foot-7.
On defense, the Trojans actually got very little work done on the outside as both cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones fared pretty well in coverage. Merlin Robertson patrolled the short-intermediate middle of the field but they were ultimately outdone by some impressive USC play after the catch and over the deep middle.
They also got very little pressure off the edge but did do a great job of pressuring USC QB Kedon Slovis up the middle early in the game. The duo of Jermayne Lole and Michael Matus will have to be schemed against and hope that Chase Griffin can get the ball out as quickly as he has in his last two games to avoid unnecessary hits.
All in all, this Arizona State team is still a good team overall and they outplayed USC for over three and a half quarters. They should be feared in this matchup and we’d better hope that Chip Kelly and Co. have a great game plan for this one.
3-2 is there for the taking, but will the Bruins take it?