Arizona State aiming for fewer penalties in Pac-12 opener vs. Colorado
Arizona State’s penalty-filled performance against BYU led to the Sun Devils looking for answers this week.
For the Sun Devils to have an immediate rebound, they’ll have to do something that has not happened under head coach Herm Edwards since he arrived in 2018: win their Pac-12 opener.
ASU welcomes Colorado, another team that is looking for improvement after a rough game last week, to Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night.
The Buffaloes only put up 63 total yards on offense in their 30-0 loss against Minnesota. That mark is Colorado’s lowest since 2002, when it was held to just 61 yards against USC. Its rushing game was even worse with -19 yards, the worst single-game mark for Colorado since 2012.
What: Arizona State (2-1) vs Colorado (1-2)
When: Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Betting Line via FanDuel: ASU -14.5
Radio: ESPN 620AM or 98.7 FM HD-2
Sun Devils seeking answers to penalty problem
Back-to-back penalties on two different occasions in the same fourth quarter drive epitomized ASU’s penalty issues last week. The Sun Devils committed 16 penalties against BYU, the most in a single game for ASU since 2006.
However, penalties are not a new issue for ASU this season. The Sun Devils are averaging 12 penalties per game this season, the second-worst mark in all of FBS football. The only team worse than ASU so far this season is UTEP.
The “catastrophic” numbers, according to Edwards, have the team searching for answers of how to stop penalties from affecting future games.
“When it happens, what do you do to prevent it from continuing to happen?” Edwards said on Monday.
Some veterans recognized their mistakes. Redshirt senior running back Rachaad White was one of the more outspoken players following ASU’s loss. He took to Twitter on Sunday morning to take responsibility.
“I have to play better that’s on me,” White tweeted.
One of the captains, junior Jayden Daniels, also took responsibility directly after last week’s game.
“It starts with me,” Daniels said. “I got to play better. We just got to move on from this and learn from it.”
Edwards said players like White and Daniels taking responsibility themselves are exactly who he wants on his team.
“Those are the kind of guys you want in your program because they understand the field does not lie,” Edwards said. “They are not afraid to speak up and say things like, ‘Hey, we have to fix things too.'”
Colorado offense also looking for rebound
Colorado’s offense has not been up to the standard in its last two games. The Buffaloes put up 323 yards in their last two games combined against Texas A&M and Minnesota. That’s less than their 383-yard performance in their season opener against Northern Colorado.
Despite Colorado’s struggles, Edwards recognizes that the Buffaloes are “very sound.”
Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard’s encore to his 2020 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year performance looked promising with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown in Colorado’s opener against Northern Colorado. In the two games since Colorado’s opener, though, he has only rushed for 59 yards, including only eight yards last week.
Edwards said Colorado freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis has similar tendencies to BYU sophomore quarterback Jaren Hall.
Lewis has struggled to get any major momentum this season. His best passing performance came against Northern Colorado, when he threw for 102 yards. He’s thrown for less than 90 yards against Texas A&M and Minnesota.
If anything, he has shown that he can spread his passes throughout Colorado’s receiving group. Seven receivers for the Buffaloes have at least three receptions. Junior tight end Brady Russell leads the way with six receptions. He only has 37 receiving yards, though.
Lewis can also make some plays while running the ball in addition to throwing the ball. His best rushing performance came against Texas A&M with 76 yards.