Arizona State WR Elijhah Badger out for 1st half vs. Southern Utah

Aug 28, 2023, 3:41 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

Junior wide receiver Elijhah Badger and junior linebacker Will Shaffer will be unable to play in the first half of Arizona State’s season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday due to penalties from last year’s final game.

Against rival Arizona in a 38-35 loss, Badger received an unsportsmanlike conduct with 3:17 left in the game after quarterback Trenton Bourguet was sacked on 3rd-and-6. Shaffer, like Badger, was ejected from the game for his personal foul.

Badger was far and away the Sun Devils’ top receiver last season. He caught 30 more passes (70) than any of his teammates, and his 866 receiving yards were 366 more than the Sun Devil in second. He also caught seven touchdowns.

Shaffer, a starter this season, had 9 tackles in 2022 and was mostly a factor on special teams.

Arizona State will have to make up for Badger’s absence primarily, and candidates to step up include senior wideout Giovanni Sanders, junior Idaho State transfer Xavier Guillory and junior tight end Jalin Conyers.

Sanders was behind Badger on those leaderboards with 40 catches and 500 yards in his first season in Tempe while Conyers is one of the best tight ends in the country after grabbing 38 balls for 422 yards and five touchdowns. Guillory was solid for the Bengals of the Big Sky Conference, with 52 catches, 785 yards and four touchdowns.

Thursday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and you can hear it on the Arizona Sports app or tune to 98.7 FM.

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