By: Hudson French & Cedric Rutlin
In their home opener, the Sun Devils clinched a hard-fought, lousy-weathered win over Southern Utah, 24-21.
The game featured a historic haboob that brought dust, rain, and plenty of lightning. After the first half, the storm brought a delay that lasted nearly 3 hours, putting the contest in question. While many figured the storm to be a handicap, head coach Kenny Dillingham disagreed.
“Rain delays are very easy pieces of adversity when you talk about football. We’re going to have to do a better job when it comes to handling adversity and that starts with the staff and myself.”
Before the aforementioned adversity struck, the Sun Devils looked great. The birthday boy, Jaden Rashada began his collegiate career by going 3-3 for 44 yards leading up to a six-yard Cameron Skattebo touchdown in front of a jam-packed student section.
Rashada would later throw two touchdowns in the first half. Southern Utah stormed back behind the stellar play of their defense that forced punts on three of the four Arizona State drives in the 3rd quarter. Dillingham said it was a rhythm thing for the young quarterback.
“I have no question about Jaden and his ability. He was getting the ball where it was supposed to be, he just wasn’t in a rhythm. We gotta do a better job on offense, getting him back in a rhythm. That’s our number-one job, is to keep quarterbacks in a rhythm… that’s on me.”
Still, redshirt senior Jordan Clark went to bat for his quarterback.
“That’s this kid’s first college start. He works his ass off and won his first football game under insane circumstances. We sat in the locker room for like two hours, so I think that he deserves credit for finishing the football game and staying poised. I think the question should be about how he finished.”
Rashada finished with 18-31, 236 yards and two touchdowns. For the rest of the offense, it was the usual suspects. Cam Skattebo and DeCarlos Brooks combined for 134 yards on 29 rushes and Xavier Guillory, who battled an apparent shoulder injury, led the receivers with 73 yards on five receptions and a touchdown.
Also in question is Jalin Conyers, who did not dress after halftime.
For the defense, BYU transfer Tate Romney made an immediate impact totaling eight tackles for a linebacking corps that has been in question with massive player turnover.
Looking forward, the Sun Devils host Oklahoma State on September 9 at 7:30 p.m. This game continues a four-game home stretch to start the year for Arizona State, who hosts Fresno State and No. 6 USC in the weeks following.
Quote of the Week: “How’d it feel to get rocked a couple times?” … “Good.” – Jaden Rashada
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Featured Image via AP News