Five observations for ASU's first Pac-12 matchup of 2021 against Colorado

The Sun Devils will look to deal with their injuries and penalty issues going into their matchup against Colorado Saturday

As ASU football moves forward with Pac-12 conference play on Saturday, the team will look to correct early mistakes after its first loss of the season against Brigham Young University. 

For the first time in the 2021 season, ASU is unranked in The Associated Press poll and looks to get on track against the University of Colorado Boulder.

ASU won its first seven matchups versus Colorado from 2006 to 2015, but has had a 1-3  record since 2016. Currently, the Sun Devils are 0-2 against the Buffaloes under head coach Herm Edwards. Here are five observations going into ASU's first Pac-12 matchup of the season against Colorado. 

1. Loss of Travez Moore

Travez Moore, a graduate transfer defensive lineman from Louisiana State University, injured his knee against BYU, and will miss the rest of the season according to Edwards. Moore is the second member of the Sun Devils defensive line to suffer a season-ending injury as senior defensive lineman Jermayne Lole is also out for the season. 

Moore's quickness off the edge will be a big loss for the Sun Devils, as he totaled 2.5 tackles-for-loss, tied for second-most on the team. 

Replacing him is redshirt freshman defensive lineman Joe Moore. Moore has appeared in the team's first two games this season as a reserve, but redshirt junior defensive end Michael Matus feels confident Moore and the rest of the defense can step up and make plays. 

"I feel good about the depth of the group," Matus said. "Coach (Robert) Rodriguez coaches all the young guys so when something like this happens, we don't have to be nervous. Young guys are gonna get a lot more reps. And that's good. It gives them good experience and keeps everyone fresh."

2. Limiting penalties

ASU has 36 penalties in three games this season, the second-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Sun Devils have more than twice the amount of penalties as Colorado this season, with 17 . There has been an emphasis on playing a clean game with officials on site during drills. 

"It's just a lack of focus. When you commit penalties, you're either a step behind or your emotions get to you. When you do that, it hurts the team. You go forward and then you knock yourself back," Edwards said at a press conference Monday. 

READ MORE: ASU football continues undisciplined play, falls to No. 23 BYU

3. Strong ASU run defense versus weak Colorado passing offense

Colorado has averaged just 91 passing yards per game, the lowest in the Pac-12 by 122 yards averaged per game. The team has also completed 54.7% of their passes — a Pac-12 low.

ASU's run-stopping consistency will make for a good test against a run-heavy Colorado. ASU has allowed the third-fewest rushing yards per attempt in the Pac-12 with an average of 3.2 yards per attempt.

"In college football, anything can happen," Matus said. "I think it's important to make them one-dimensional and then we can just get after them."

4. Veteran locker room presence key for bounce-back game

Nine of the 11 starters on the ASU defense are seniors, and a foundation has been set for accountability. After last Saturday's loss against BYU, redshirt senior running back Rachaad White and redshirt sophomore defensive back Jordan Clark tweeted, taking responsibilty.

"Everyone holds each other accountable," graduate student captain linebacker Kyle Soelle said. "Coaches holding us accountable, coaches holding coaches accountable, and players holding each other accountable. When you get a loss at the end of the day, you know something's got to get fixed. So we took care of that on Monday, and we're moving on."

5. Balancing the workload on the ground

ASU leads the Pac-12 with 226.33 yards per game and is one of just two Pac-12 teams to average over 200 rushing yards per game this season. 

It is uncertain if sophomore running back DeaMonte Trayanum, a key a part of their rushing offense, will play against Colorado. But both White and redshirt freshman running back Daniyel Ngata are averaging five or more rushing yards per attempt.

"From a mental standpoint, (White) always had DeaMonte to lean on knowing he could come out for a break," running back coach Shaun Aguano said. "Now, Daniyel will be the one alleviating that workload, and I think that's just a mental adjustment."

ASU hopes to bounce back against Colorado on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. MST in Tempe.


Reach the reporter at slynch20@asu.edu and follow @seanlynch845 on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter. 

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.

×

Notice

This website uses cookies to make your expierence better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.