ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Shaun Aguano as play-caller is deciding factor in ASU’s win over Colorado

Oct 29, 2022, 8:07 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2022, 9:08 pm
Interim head coach Shaun Aguano of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on from the sideline in the f...
Interim head coach Shaun Aguano of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on from the sideline in the fourth quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 29, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long to notice how different the Arizona State Sun Devils offense was in a 42-34 win over the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday.

ASU interim head coach Shaun Aguano made two big changes before the team arrived in Boulder.

He not only made a quarterback switch and started Trenton Bourguet in place of Emory Jones, but he also took over play-calling duties for offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas.

The result? A whopping 557 total yards of offense and six touchdowns.

But it wasn’t just the 32 of 43 passing (74%) for three touchdowns and one interception from Bourguet, who spread the ball around to nine different pass catchers.

Bourguet’s 435 passing yards are also the most in school history for a Sun Devil making their first career start.

Aguano also ran a hurry-up offense in which the team averaged around 16.5 seconds on the play clock when the ball was snapped. Coming into the ballgame, ASU had averaged snapping the ball with fewer than 10 seconds remaining on the play clock.

“I thought we needed to have a change in that and that was one of the changes that I wanted to get done,” he told reporters postgame.

“The kids were excited just because I think there’s so many kids that played in that system prior from coming to high school, I think they’re used to that. So that tempo helped us, especially keeping the defense off balance.”

The offense also heavily utilized tight ends Messiah Swinson and Jalin Conyers, the latter of whom became the first TE in school history to catch three touchdown passes in a single game.

“[Aguano’s play-calling] was good. Obviously I think he found out that I can catch the ball a little bit, so it definitely worked out a little bit,” Conyers jokingly told reporters postgame.

“I’ve never had a game like this in college,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve ever had over three catches in a game. So to be able to do this was huge for me, huge for the team and I was able to help the team win.”

It also marks the first Sun Devil to have three TD grabs in a single game since Brandon Aiyuk managed the feat against Washington State in 2019.

Swinson finished with three catches for 55 yards and Conyers’ night came to an end with six receptions for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Elijhah Badger led all pass catchers with eight grabs and 137 yards.

“I knew Badger was going to be double-teamed and he was going to be primarily the guy they were going to focus on,” Aguano said.

“Our tight ends I think were underutilized in some instances and I think they’re athletic enough and big enough, so I wanted to make sure there were mismatches. You saw them all over the field — there were mismatches that we could take advantage of.”

Meanwhile, running back Xazavian Valladay added a game-high 118 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.1 per rush) for three scores.

“(The game plan) just evolved on what I was seeing,” Bourguet told reporters postgame. “They were bringing some pressure and my tight end were my hot reads a couple times.

“Jaylin did a good job of finding extra spaces and Messiah too. … We have a good tight end room, a great running back room and a lot of good weapons in the wide receiver room. So offensively we just really played as a unit.”

Penguin Air
Colorado cheerleader Cami Daniels welcomes players as they arrive before an NCAA college football game against Arizona State, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay warms up before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet warms up before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout warms up before an NCAA college football game against Arizona State, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones warms up before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Quarterback Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils passes against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first quarter of a game at Folsom Field on October 29, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay, right, drives past Colorado cornerback Simeon Harris in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State tight end Messiah Swinson, right, breaks free from a tackle by Colorado safety Tyrin Taylor after catching a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout, back left, fumbles the ball as he is hit by Arizona State defensive back Ed Woods, front left, while Arizona State defensive lineman Anthonie Cooper, right, trails the play in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Handlers guide Colorado mascot Ralphie VI on ceremonial run before an NCAA college football game between Colorado and against Arizona State, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers, center, celebrates after making a touchdown catch with wide receivers Elijhah Badger, left, and Giovanni Sanders in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State wide receiver Elijhah Badger, center, is tackled by Colorado linebacker Quinn Perry, left, and safety Tyrin Taylor after pulling in a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Interim head coach Shaun Aguano of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on from the sideline in the fourth quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 29, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Colorado safety Trevor Woods, right, intercepts a pass intended for Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers, left, in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) From left, Arizona State wide receiver Charles Hall IV, defensive back Chris Edmonds and fullback Case Hatch celebrate with fans after an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State linebacker Kyle Soelle, right, tackles Colorado running back Deion Smith after a short gain in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Colorado safety Trevor Woods, left, pulls down Arizona State wide receiver Giovanni Sanders after Sanders caught a pass for a short gain in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 
              Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers, right, pulls in a pass for a touchdown as Colorado cornerback Jason Oliver defends in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers, right, tumbles into the end zone after catching a pass for a touchdown as Colorado cornerback Jason Oliver defends in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers reacts after catching a pass for a touchdown against Colorado in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            Arizona State defensive back Chris Edmonds intercepts a pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State defensive back Chris Edmonds, celebrates his pass interception with linebacker Will Shaffer in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Colorado safety Tyrin Taylor, left, tackles Arizona State wide receiver Bryan Thompson after a short gain in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) A lone fan sits in the empty student section late in the second half of an NCAA college football game as Colorado fell behind Arizona State, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona State interim head coach Shaun Aguano, center, difrects his players against Colorado in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Colorado punt returner Jordyn Tyson fields a punt that he returns for a touchdown against Arizona State in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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