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ASU Football vs Colorado: Offensive Breakthrough Anticipated Against the Buffs
By Peter Bouloukos, DieHardDevil.com
September 20, 2019 10:58 AM

Pac-12 play is upon us, and the 24th ranked Sun Devils will start things off against the University of Colorado Buffaloes in Tempe Saturday night.

Colorado is coming off a devastating OT loss to Air Force 23-30 after squandering a 13-point 4th quarter lead.   One-week-prior, they fought back from a 17-point deficit to beat Nebraska 34-31 in OT in Boulder. 

The Buffaloes possess the Nations 39th ranked scoring offense at 36.3 points per game, but they allow 30.7 points on the other side of the ball with the 98th rated defense out of 130 Division 1 schools. ASU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales will have his secondary ready to blanket one of the nation’s most formidable receivers Laviska Shenault (16 receptions, 203 yards, 2 TD’s) and pressure 6’5” 230-pound Senior Quarterback Steven Montez with a variety of blitzes.  Montez has thrown for 827 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions this year.  

 

About Shenault

 

Colorado allowed over 500 yards of offense to Colorado State and has struggled to find consistency over four quarters.  But Colorado has proven to be a resilient bunch. Through three games, their defense has allowed 472 yards per game, and now they have to play without safety Aaron Maddox.  This puts even more pressure on an explosive yet inconsistent offense to perform against an unforgiving Sun Devil Defense seeking revenge from last years 28-21 loss in Boulder.   

Arizona State has allowed a grand total of 7-points per contest, good for 2nd in the Nation. (Wisconsin is 1st at 0 pts against total). But on offense they have sputtered so far, scoring 19.7 points per game (111th) despite having offensive weapons inside-and-out. 

Colorado may not have an answer for receivers Kyle Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, and RB Eno Benjamin.  That’s right, Eno Benjamin is a threat out of the backfield, and Rob Likens is going to let it fly Saturday Night.  Only rushing for 76 yards in East Lansing is going to fire-up an old school coach like Herm Edwards, but the strength of Arizona State will be discovered by the decision making of Jayden Daniels against the Buffaloes at the line of scrimmage.  

Arizona State will certainly surpass 10 points scoring Saturday night.  Colorado represents the start of PAC-12 play for the Devils making this ASU’s biggest contest to date. Important to remember, last year Herm’s Squad defeated MSU then proceeded to lay an egg against SDSU 28-21 on the road.    

Vegas

ASU -8.5
O/U 50.5

Simply stated, Arizona State’s defense is the real deal.  I see them clamping down on Colorado. I also see Herm convincing OC Rob Likens to run the ball down the throat of the Buffaloes. The Sun Devils will control the ball on offense and tire out a suspect CU defense in the game-time 90-degree heat.  

 

 

The Buffaloes training at a high-altitude is not going to matter in this one. QB Steven Montez hurt his hand in last weeks OT loss to Air Force.  Also, Arizona State’s defensive speed has played well against taller, heavier Quarterbacks like Montez.

Look for Aiyuk, Williams, and Benjamin to catch linebackers and safeties cheating and Daniels calling adjustments from the shotgun.  A few big plays and a disciplined offense will do the trick. This DieHard Sun Devil feels a huge-break-through is about to occur for true freshman Jayden Daniels, and the x-factor, Punter Michael Turk, won’t see the field seven times as he did in East Lansing last weekend. 

 


The Sun Devils have covered each of their last 5 home games against the Buffaloes and 7 of the last 10 overall. The “Over” has cashed in on 5 of the last 7 games for the Buffaloes, but the “Under” has cashed in 5 of the last 6 for the Herm Edwards. Colorado against the spread has covered just three of the last ten games. The 50.5 total points offered by Vegas will be close.  

Final Score Prediction, Arizona State Sun Devils win and cover ATS 36-17. 

Coach Pete Predictions:

  • 👉 ASU’s Defense brings 5 sacks and 1 Int.
  • 👉 Daniels passes for 370 yards including another 70-plus yard TD pass.
  • 👉 Aiyuk has 200 all-purpose yards.
  • 👉 Benjamin breaks the century mark on 22 carries and catches 6 for 78 yards. 
  • 👉 Colorado scores a late touchdown to push the game over 50.5.    

 

About last week

EAST LANSING, MICHIGANEno Benjamin reached the ball to the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds remaining in an ugly 60 minutes of offensive football, but Arizona State beat No. 18 Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday after the Spartans had a tying field goal nullified for having twelve men on the field.

Matt Coghlin’s 42-yard kick appeared to have tied the game with 6 seconds remaining, but a replay showed too many men on the field for Michigan State which was disorganized, to say the least.  Coghlin had to line it up again further back after the penalty and hooked the kick left for his third miss of the day. Since that moment, Sparty fans have been crying about refereeing and accusing Arizona State of “leaping” the line all during the kick attempt all over social media. 

Here is the NCAA Rule:

  • No defensive player, in an attempt to gain an advantage, may step, jump or stand on an opponent. 
  • It is a foul if a defensive player moves forward and tries to block a field goal or try by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame of the body of an opponent.  
  • It is a foul if a defensive player who is inside the tackle box tries to block a punt by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame of the body of an opponent.
  • It is not a foul if the player tries to block the punt by jumping straight up without attempting to leap over the opponent.
  • It is not a foul if a player leaps through or over the gap between players.

 

The missed field goal was not a result of leaping by any stretch, (K) Matt Coughlin’s mechanics were visibly off all evening, something the Spartan coaching staff should be working on this week. But if we want to play the “blame game” like Sparty, Sparky could cite the imaginary pass interference call with 50 seconds remaining on a third-and-10 pass from Brian Lewerke to Cody Williams.  

The Sun Devils entered the fourth quarter leading 3-0.  Arizona State (3-0) drove 75 yards in 11 plays at the end, against a Michigan State defense that had been stifling all day. Quarterback Jayden Daniels ran 15 yards for a first down on fourth-and-13 from the Michigan State 28 after a False Start penalty pushed the line of scrimmage five-yards back.   

On the drive, Jayden looked poised and confident with another 7-yard dash on third-and-5 from the MSU eight-yard-line.  Then Eno Benjamin pounded it in with a long reach to break the plane landing the ball on the goal line as his knees dropped a half-second later.   

Michigan State drove back to the ASU twenty-four yard line in the last minute of play.  After spiking the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left, Sparty appeared to have enough time for one more throw. But with zero timeouts remaining, Mike Dantonio seemed indecisive, and eventually, the field goal team rushed on. 

The Spartans barely snapped the ball in time to beat the play clock, and although Coghlin’s kick went through, there were too many players on the field.  The Spartans ultimately blew a fourth-quarter lead against Arizona State for a second straight year in a battle of defenses and two great coaching staffs. 

The Sun Devils won 16-13 last season in Tempe and walked out of East Lansing with a big early-season victory for a young squad, 10-7.  Arizona State has scored more than seven points in 137 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the FBS.

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