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ESPN analyst predicting double-digit Sun Bowl win for Arizona State

Arizona State's Jayden Daniels (5) runs against Arizona's defense during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

As the bowl games inch closer, the predictions and rankings continue to roll in.

While the College Football Playoff obviously carries a lot of weight and attention, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg broke down not one, not two, but all of the 41 bowl game matchups, providing his winners and losers for the three-week slate of games.

When looking at the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl tilt between Arizona State and Florida State, Rittenberg sees the Sun Devils leaning on their offensive weapons as they take home the 34-24 win over the Seminoles on New Year’s Eve.

Quarterback Jayden Daniels finishes a strong freshman season with a big performance, getting help from running back Eno Benjamin and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby against FSU’s defense.

QB Jayden Daniels left a lasting impression on the coaching staff in just his first year with the program. As a true freshman, Daniels threw for more than 265 yards in seven of his 11 games played, throwing for at least two touchdowns six times in 2019. All told, he ended the regular season with 2,748 yards and 17 touchdowns on 193-of-310 passing, while adding another 319 yards and three scores on the ground.

He’s joined in the passing game by senior wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who leads the team in receptions (65), yards (1,192) and is tied with junior wideout Frank Darby in touchdowns (8). Junior running back Eno Benjamin brings an added boost on the ground, rushing for 1,083 yards and a team-high 10 scores this season. He’s now registered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

ASU, however, ranks lower offensively than FSU, sitting 89th nationally compared to the Seminoles at 64th. But on the other side of the football, the Sun Devils’ defense (65th) sits higher on the totem pole than FSU (99th), giving the Sun Devils an advantage.

On top of the numbers, the Sun Devils also boast a sturdier coaching staff for the bowl game, with the Seminoles making a head coaching change in the form of former ASU offensive coordinator and Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. Rittenberg sees the potential for the former ASU OC, who joined the Seminoles staff officially on Sunday, to turn things around at FSU.

Just not right now and not against Herm Edwards and an ASU team looking to build off of 2019.

New Seminoles coach Mike Norvell will soon have FSU competing for championships again. But this roster still needs work, and Arizona State is building some real momentum for 2020.

The Sun Bowl takes place on Dec. 31 at noon. Catch the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.


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