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Sun Devil football looks to bounce back against Eastern Michigan Saturday night

ASU takes on another non-conference opponent this weekend and are favored to win

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ASU redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones (5) getting set at a game against NAU at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. ASU won 40-3.

After a disappointing 34-17 loss last week to No. 11 Oklahoma State, ASU football strives to bounce back against Eastern Michigan University Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium at 8 p.m. 

The Eagles should make for an easier opponent for the Sun Devils — with ESPN giving them a 94.2% chance to win this game. However, Eastern Michigan hasn't lost a road game to a non-conference opponent since 2015 and that streak will be put to the test this weekend in Tempe. 

With ASU opening up its Pac-12 conference play against No. 14 Utah next weekend, it could be easy for ASU to look ahead too soon and overlook a Mid-American Conference opponent. 

ASU coach Herm Edwards urged the Sun Devils to stay focused this week, saying looking ahead is the last thing to worry about, and that the team needs to keep its concentration on getting a win. 

Eastern Michigan lost its road game last week to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, 49-21. 

The Eagles led 14-0 at halftime during that game. In spite of this, the Eagles were stifled in the second half, allowing 35 unanswered points. The Eagles' five turnovers, which were all in the second half, including three interceptions thrown by graduate student quarterback Taylor Powell

Powell has totaled 588 passing yards across 80 attempts and four touchdowns. The Eagles prefer to put the game in Powell's hands, passing the ball 59% of the time. In the receiver core, the man who has made the most impact is graduate student wide receiver Tanner Knue, who has 132 yards on 12 receptions and three touchdowns.

A player to look out for is ASU's redshirt sophomore wide receiver Elijhah Badger, who had a breakout performance last week, tallying six catches for 91 yards and one touchdown in the loss against Oklahoma State. It was Badger's first game with a receiving touchdown as a Sun Devil.

Badger said it felt good to play a big role in the offense and the chemistry with redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones has been good, but is getting better since the season started, especially since last Saturday. 

Their chemistry hasn't had a chance to shine due to the lack of opportunities to throw the ball. Throughout the first two games, ASU has run the ball 67% of the time, leaving more to be desired from Jones and the Sun Devil passing attack.

Jones hopes he gets more chances to air it out, as he is close to passing a personal milestone this weekend. He only needs 278 passing yards to reach 4,000 total in his college career, but that isn't a top priority for the first-year transfer. 

Instead, Jones is keeping his mind on how he can uplift the team after a loss last weekend.

"I mean, after a loss, most of the guys are pretty down, you know, some are down on themselves," Jones said. "I'm the guy that they have to bring them back to reality and uplift the team."

Ahead of this week's matchup, Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton praised the Sun Devils.

"Their group of offensive linemen are just super physical, aggressive, and big and strong," Creighton said.

ASU's defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said the same about his defense who gave up 34 points last Saturday, despite holding their opponent scoreless until the second quarter.

"As the guy in charge I got to bring the group together and get the morale up," Henderson said. "We got to evolve and change a little bit."

Overall, the Sun Devils should not have much trouble with the Eagles, who are a 20.5-point underdog going into Saturday night's matchup. The Sun Devils are favored to win by nearly three touchdowns. 

Edited by Walker Smith, Logan Stanley and Piper Hansen.

Reach the reporter at and follow @vdeangelis2024 on Twitter.

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Vinny DeangelisSports Reporter

Vincent Deangelis is a full-time reporter for the sports department at The State Press. He has previously worked for Arizona PBS and 

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