ASU’s Herm Edwards explains decision to punt near midfield in 3rd quarter

Oct 30, 2021, 5:15 PM | Updated: 5:24 pm

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Arizona State was looking to put a dubious start behind it.

The Sun Devils trailed Washington State 28-7 midway through the third quarter Saturday, but they gained 20 yards to start a drive and reach the WSU 44-yard line.

On fourth-and-2, ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels looked over to his sideline for the call. He was surprised to see the punt unit come onto the field.

“I’m asking like why we didn’t go for it, but that’s out of my control, so I’m just going to go with the coaches’ gut,” Daniels said postgame.

“That’s above my decisions. But of course, as a player, you want to go for that. You’re down 21, let’s go for it, we’re trying to get the momentum back.”

The Sun Devil defense got a stop, but the ensuing WSU punt pinned ASU inside their own 20-yard line.

Arizona State failed to cross its own 40-yard line again until D.J. Taylor returned a kickoff 60 yards across midfield with under seven minutes left in the game.

Just about everything went wrong for ASU regarding turnovers, costly penalties and drops.

That one possession had some promise to it. The lack of aggression resulted in nothing happening for the Sun Devils until it was too late.

“I’d like to go for it on fourth downs, but there are certain times in the game where you look at the score and you say if you don’t make this, you have no chance to try to catch up,” head coach Herm Edwards said. “It becomes more than a three-score game, it becomes a four-score game, and you’re looking at the time on the clock and you’re going ‘This is not good.'”

Had ASU gone for it and failed, its situation would not have changed considering WSU flipped the field anyway.

The Sun Devils lost 34-21.

Arizona State Football

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...

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ASU’s Herm Edwards explains decision to punt near midfield in 3rd quarter