Saturday night’s game between No. 19 Arizona State and No. 23 BYU is just one of three games this week featuring ranked teams.
BYU is facing its third consecutive Pac-12 opponent, meanwhile, the Sun Devils will face their toughest test so far this season as they travel to Provo, Utah, to take on the 23rd ranked Cougars in what should be another sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium (LES).
BYU and Arizona State are meeting for just the 28th time, and the first time since 1998. In fact, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was a member of the Cougar football team that took down then-No. 14 Arizona State, 26-6, at LES.
Date: Saturday, September 18
Time: 8:15 p.m. MT
Announcers: Dave Fleming (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analyst), Alex Chappell (sideline)
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) — Provo, Utah
The Spread: ASU -3.5
Money Line: ASU -175, BYU +155
When betting lines first opened, Arizona State was a two point favorite. That has slowly gone up as the Sun Devils are now 3.5 point favorites. The over/under has stayed relatively the same and currently stands at 51.5. In regards to the money line, oddsmakers are still favoring ASU at -175. The money line simply involves picking the winning team. With ASU at -175, those picking the Sun Devils would have to risk $175 to win $100. However, for those picking BYU, one would win $155 for his/her $100 wager.
With 347 passing yards and 128 yards rushing through the first two games, Jaren Hall hasn’t exactly been putting up eye-popping numbers. However, the dual-threat quarterback is getting one thing done: Winning!
And as any coach or player would say, that’s all that matters.
What’s most impressive about Hall is that he’s looked comfortable through the first two games, despite being one of just a handful of quarterbacks who has faced two P5 teams so far this year.
He’s taken just one sack, hasn’t turned the ball over and has helped the Cougars control the game from start to finish against Arizona and Utah. Last but not least, when the Cougars need a big play, Hall always seems to deliver.
The same can be said of ASU QB Jayden Daniels who is also one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country. Both Hall and Daniels are first and second in yards per carry among FBS QBs at 9.8 and 8.6 yards per carry.
The Cougar defense will need to keep Daniels in check to help slow down a good ASU offense. The Sun Devils are averaging 42 points per game over its last five games and brings back a lot of experience from last year’s team.
While much of the attention and focus is on ASU’s offense, the Sun Devil defense continues to improve each year. The team brings back a ton of experience along with several playmakers.
Speaking of experience, the secondary has combined for 131 career starts, a total that is second in the nation behind only Indiana. That experience has allowed the Sun Devils to be more aggressive on defense over the past year. In fact, ASU has forced 38 turnovers in its last 13 games, good for the most in the nation during that span.
Since the start of last season, the Sun Devil defense has forced a quarterback pressure on 46% percent of opponents passing plays — the second most among FBS teams in that span.
LB Darien Butler helps lead the ASU defense as the senior is the only player in the country with two sacks and two interceptions so far this year.
Players To Watch
QB: Jaren Hall: The sophomore QB that can make a big play every time he touches the ball. He’s a defensive coordinators worst nightmare with his ability to make big plays out of nothing. So far this season, Hall is one of 11 FBS QBs with 50+ pass attempts, 5+ touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
RB Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa: The duo have formed a reliable 1-2 punch out of the backfield. Allgeier has 196 yards rushing and a score, while Katoa has 66 yards.
QB Jayden Daniels: The dual-threat QB needs just 49 passing yards to reach 4,000 in his career (Currently at 3,951).
LB Darien Butler: He has two interceptions and two sacks this season. He’s also 12 tackles away from reaching 200 in his career.
Prediction: BYU 26, ASU 23
After ending a streak last week, BYU looks to end another streak this week as the Cougars look to start the season with three consecutive wins against P5 opponents.
I believe the Cougars have what it takes to beat the Sun Devils in what should be a close game between both programs. The game has the same feeling as the 2019 contest at LaVell Edwards Stadium when BYU took down then-No. 24 USC, 30-27 in overtime.
ASU is talented no doubt about it. However, we still don’t know just how good/bad the Sun Devils are because they haven’t been tested yet this season. ASU played Southern Utah and UNLV — one of the worst football programs in the country. In fact, the Sun Devils led UNLV just 14-10 at the half, before blowing out the Rebels.
At the same time, the Cougars could have a little bit of a letdown after recently having one of the best weeks in program history (a Big 12 invite and a win over rival Utah).
What gives BYU the edge is that they don’t turn the ball over, they have been battle tested, they are playing at home and are efficient in the red zone. The Cougar offense is 7-for-7 in the red zone with five touchdowns and two field goals and is just one of 19 teams that remain perfect in the red zone.
The game should be close, but the Cougars will find a way to get it done.
Top 25: After taking down then-No. 21 Utah last week, BYU is back in the Top 25! The Cougars check in at No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll. The last time BYU was ranked, was last year when the Cougars finished the season with a No. 11 ranking. It is just the second time in program history the school has had four consecutive years beating a ranked team (1996-99).
Ranked Teams: Despite hosting Wisconsin, USC, Washington and other high-profile names over the past decade, this is the first time since 2009 that two ranked teams will face off inside LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU is 4-2 in its last six games against ranked opponents.
Turnover Margin: The Cougars are +3 in the turnover margin through two games and have yet to turn the ball over on offense. BYU has won 16 consecutive games when even or ahead in the turnover battle.
Home Sweet Home: BYU has won 11 in a row at LaVell Edwards Stadium.