TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State’s offense has had a problem with moving backward. The issue for Colorado is its offense isn’t moving much at all.
Saturday’s Pac-12 opener offers a shot at redemption for one of them.
Arizona State (2-1) was called for a whopping 16 penalties for 121 yards in its 27-17 loss to BYU last weekend. It was a surprising lack of discipline for the Sun Devils, who have a veteran team.
The loss caused them to fall out of the AP Top 25 for the first time this season. Coach Herm Edwards said the Sun Devils still have a great roster, but it’s hard to overcome that many setbacks.
“It was really us, we played against us,” Edwards said. “We put ourselves in bad positions, offensively and defensively. We gave them yards that weren’t earned by them making a play; it was by us misfiring or making a silly penalty.
“Those are the hidden yards that add up on you, when you play a good team and you give them another possession when you should be off the field, and then give them 15 more yards.”
Colorado (1-2) is coming off an embarrassing 30-0 home loss to Minnesota. The Buffaloes gained just 63 total yards — eighth-fewest in school history — and have scored just seven points over the past two games.
Second-year coach Karl Dorrell said he’s trying to be patient with his growing program. He added that he hopes to get back to a run-based approach with veteran backs Jarek Broussard and Alex Fontenot.
“We’re going to work through all the dynamics of everything we’re doing,” Dorrell said. “I’m going to show my face in the offensive room a little bit more. I’m going to try to help the process and be a helping hand.”
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels had some good moments in the loss to BYU, completing 21 of 29 passes for 265 yards. Those numbers could have been even better if it weren’t for some ill-timed penalties.
Daniels is completing 73% of his passes this season.
“I think that’s how you have to move the ball at times, you have to hit some big explosive plays,” Edwards said. “We know we can have some explosive runs but we need some explosive plays in the passing game. That always helps you and it gets the offense excited as well.”
The Buffs are using two freshmen quarterbacks in Brendon Lewis and Drew Carter.
Lewis was 8 of 16 passing for 55 yards against Minnesota. Carter relieved him later in the game and completed 4 of 8 passes for 27 yards.
Dorrell said Carter gave Colorado a slight spark when he was under center and there’s a chance he will play more against Arizona State.
“You notice he can throw the ball very well, very effectively,” Dorrell said. “He’s got a great arm. It’s just getting those reps of understanding what defenses are doing and being able to go through his progressions. He understands the run game pretty well.”
Colorado’s offense is averaging just 91 passing yards per game, which ranks 129th in the country.
Daniels has made Arizona State’s offense well-rounded during his three years with the program but there’s little doubt Edwards loves to run the ball.
Arizona State has run for at least 150 yards in eight straight games, dating back to 2019. That’s the longest streak in program history since a 12-game stretch from 1975 to 1976.
Rachaad White leads the Sun Devils with 225 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Daniyel Ngata has 183 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Daniels has run for 173 yards.
Arizona State has an 8-3 lead in the all-time series against Colorado but the Buffs’ three wins have all come in the past four games.
Colorado beat No. 24 Arizona State 34-31 in the previous meeting in 2019. Daniels — who was a freshman that season — threw for 345 yards on 24 of 39 passing.
This content was originally published here.