ASU football overwhelms Colorado in first Pac-12 win of the season

The Sun Devils never trailed in first conference win over the Buffaloes

ASU football bounced back from its first loss of the season with a decisive 35-13 win over University of Colorado Boulder Saturday night.

The Sun Devils never trailed against the Buffaloes, leading by as many as 25 points in the second half.

Junior quarterback Jayden Daniels had one of his most complete games of the season going 18-for-25 with 236 yards and led the team in rushing with seven carries for 75 yards. 

In previous games, Daniels was criticized by head coach Herm Edwards for leaving the pocket and running too much. But on Saturday, Daniels trusted his receivers more, scrambling and finding guys open downfield instead of repeating his pattern.

"It's something we've worked on all offseason and even in fall camp," Daniels said after the game. "If I leave the pocket, work to get open because I want to throw the ball before I run it. It's going to keep defenses on their toes."

After putting up 167 rushing yards on Saturday night, the Sun Devils have rushed for 150-or-more yards in nine consecutive games. It's the longest streak for ASU since a 12 game-span during the 1975 and 1976 seasons.

Offensive coordinator Zak Hill attributed his play-calling creativity to Colorado's run-heavy defensive scheme that featured them stacking the box at the line of scrimmage.

"We had to use the perimeter a little bit and try to get outside; which they did a good job with the times, too," Hill said.

On his first touch as a Sun Devil, redshirt freshman wide receiver Elijhah Badger scored on a jet sweep trick play. 

"We wanted to call it earlier but it just didn't quite work out in (earlier) situations," Hill added. "Every game is different. You always want to try to call some certain things and then you may miss it and where you want to call it. So we finally got to it. It was fun seeing him get on the perimeter and the guys did a good job with the perimeter blocking, gotten the end zone."

Hill's game plan was marveled at by players who enjoyed not only the trick plays but the timeliness and diversity of his play calls.

"I feel like coach Hill has a good game plan," redshirt senior running back Rachaad White said. "You always want to run the ball, but in reality as an offense, you want it to be 50/50. I feel like it was great tonight that the passing game got going because if you're going to stack the box, we trust our receivers to make plays."

Redshirt freshmen wide receivers LV Bunkley-Shelton and Johnny Wilson became the first ASU receivers this season to have more than 60 receiving yards in a game.

The Sun Devils allowed just 67 passing yards despite graduate student defensive back Chase Lucas missing the game due to injury. Lucas's injury allowed defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce to bring in younger guys in lots of man-to-man coverage situations.

"(We miss) a 23-year-old corner with six years of college experience when Chase isn't on the field. But we felt confident with the younger guys because (Colorado) didn't really throw the ball much today, but those guys stepped up and did a good job," Pierce said.

It's the first time since 2012 that ASU has held two teams to under 100-or-less passing yards in a single season. Colorado freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis was held to just seven pass completions on Saturday night after averaging 10.3 completions per game before facing ASU.

"We had some young corners out there today," head coach Edwards said. "It was a good game for the younger guys to be involved in and we came out with a win."

ASU looks to improve upon its 1-0 record in Pac-12 play on Saturday, Oct. 2, against the University of California, Los Angeles at Rose Bowl Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MST. UCLA is ranked No. 20 in the most recent AP poll.

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