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Edwards ‘optimistic’ ASU QB Daniels can start vs. Oregon State

Jayden Daniels #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up prior to the start of an NCAA football game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2019 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Arizona State Sun Devils pivoted from one freshman quarterback to another on Saturday as Jayden Daniels missed the team’s game against USC because of injury.

Joey Yellen did just fine in Daniels’ absence, but head coach Herm Edwards told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he’s optimistic Daniels will practice this week and return as the starting quarterback against Oregon State on Saturday.

“I think we’ll know a little bit more this week,” Edwards said Monday. “I’m anticipating him to being able to practice, a full practice. He practiced sparingly last week but just felt like he wasn’t ready to go. We weren’t going to put him in any harm’s way. So we decided to go with Joey and Joey did a fabulous job.

“So we’re optimistic that he should be able to go this week and get some full practices in. If he does, then he’ll be the starting quarterback.”

Daniels sustained his leg injury two weeks ago against UCLA, but because of a bye week, only missed Saturday’s 31-26 loss to USC.

Yellen was 28-for-44 on passing for 292 yards, four touchdowns and two picks against the Trojans. It was an impressive display by someone whose last start was in high school.

“Just felt like all week that the game wouldn’t be too big for him,” Edwards said. “And I think the offense rallied around him. He did a really good job for a kid that had never played and to play against a very talented football team in USC. To be able to throw four touchdown passes — did he make some mistakes? Yeah. … They’re going to learn by fire in the games and hopefully a little gained experience by it.”

This year, Daniels has a 60.5% completion rate with 1,902 passing yards in eight games with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He also has rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns, including a last-minute, go-ahead score in a win over Washington State.

ASU’s game against Oregon State is of particular importance as the Sun Devils have now lost three in a row. Plus, if they lose to the Beavers, they’d be on a four-game losing streak with current No. 6 Oregon coming to town after that.

Going to Oregon State won’t be easy. The Beavers started the season 1-3 with losses to Oklahoma State, Hawaii and Stanford, but have since gone 3-2 with all three of those wins coming on the road (UCLA, Cal, Arizona). Oregon State lost on Friday to Washington.

“They can score points. They’re pretty balanced, they run the ball well,” Edwards said. “Played Washington last week and the defense did a nice job of not allowing the game to get away, and were very competitive in that game. So we’re going to have our hands full with these guys.”

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