Connect with us

Arizona State Sun Devils

What to know about ASU football’s season opener

One day remains until Arizona State's season opener © D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Kenny Dillingham era at ASU will kick off tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. MST at Mountain America Stadium against Southern Utah. 

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Here’s what to know about the season opener:

How to watch/tune in

TV: Pac-12 Network (available on Cox, Dish, FuboTV, Sling TV, Vidgo and more).

Radio: ESPN 620 AM / 98.7 FM. SiriusXM 84

Depth chart

Yesterday, Arizona State released its official depth chart.

Here’s some takeaways from the chart (key players featured further down):

ASU football releases Week One depth chart

What to wear if attending the game

If attending the game, wear gold.

What uniforms will ASU be wearing?

The Sun Devils will be wearing their maroon jerseys with gold helmets and pants featured in a number of photoshoots this offseason.

Sun Devils to miss two impact players in first half

Elijhah Badger (listed as starting X) and Will Shaffer (listed as second-string LB) will miss the first half of Thursday’s game after picking up personal fouls in an altercation in the final half of last season’s Territorial Cup.

ASU’s Elijhah Badger and Will Shaffer to miss first half of season opener

A new coaching staff

The Sun Devils, who went 3-9 last season, have only one returning position coach in running backs coach Shaun Aguano, who was last year’s interim coach following Herm Edwards’ dismissal.

The coaches are highlighted by defensive coordinator Brian Ward and offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin.

Ward comes to ASU from Washington State, where the Cougars allowed the third-fewest points in the Pac-12 (22.3). Ward is known for mixing up a lot of pressures and bringing chaos to confuse offenses. He also is very good at getting his players to make sure tackles. Expect a much different look from ASU’s defense, even with four leaders returning as starters.

Despite Dillingham being an offensive-minded coach, Baldwin will be calling the plays for the Sun Devils. Baldwin spent the last three years as head coach at Cal Poly, where his teams were among the least penalized in the FCS, ranking in the top-20 in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards per game this past season, according to ASU’s game notes. “His passing offense ranked fifth in the FCS in 2022, averaging 313.4 yards per game and showing the gradual improvement over an offense that averaged just 218.8 passing yards per game in 2021 and 183.7 yards per game in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. Prior to Baldwin’s arrival, the Cal Poly passing offense ranked 117th in the FCS in 2019 with just 121.8 passing yards per game and 121st in 2018 at a paltry 90.8 passing yards per game.”

With Dillingham and Baldwin teaming up, expect a highly explosive offense from the Sun Devils. “Under Dillingham’s guidance in 2022, Oregon saw its points per game jump from 31.4 to 38.8 and offensive yards per game from 423.6 to 500.5.”

Key players to watch for ASU

#5 QB Jaden Rashada (Fr.)

  • How will the freshman QB perform in his first collegiate game? Rashada’s arm strength has wowed everybody this camp, so expect a flurry of deep balls from the 6-foot-4 gunslinger, who will become just the second true freshman quarterback in program history to start the season opener, following Jayden Daniels in 2019.

#12 TE Jalin Conyers (R-Jr.)

#4 RB Cameron Skattebo (Jr.)

  • Last season’s Big Sky offensive player of the year at Sacramento State will be more than just a bulldozer with his strength for the Sun Devils. The 5-foot-10, 225 Skattebo has shown off his speed and his versatility in being able to catch passes in practice. In 2022, Skattebo rushed for 1,382 yards and seven touchdowns. He had arguably the best spring game performance out of any player.

#1 WR Xavier Guillory (R-Jr.)

  • The Idaho State transfer could be the top wideout target for Rashada with Badger missing the first half in both of their first games with the Sun Devils. Guillory emerged as one of the top receivers in the FCS last season, registering 52 catches for 785 yards and four touchdowns for the Bengals. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver can catch almost every ball thrown his way, so expect a lot of acrobatic and highlight-reel plays all season long.

#35 DE B.J. Green (Jr.)

  • ASU’s front seven has looked dominant all camp, and their effort has been led by B.J. Green. Now in his third year at ASU, Green made the switch from defensive tackle to defensive end this offseason. He was fourth among FBS interior linemen with 11 QB hits last season and 10th among FBS interior linemen with 37 total QB pressures. Against an FCS opponent, expect ASU’s defensive line to impose their will especially under the direction of Ward.

#0 DT Dashaun Mallory (Gr.)

  • The Michigan State transfer has been the best interior defensive lineman for the Sun Devils this fall camp. The 6-foot-1, 275 pound Mallory played in 30 career games for the Spartans and spent most of last season at defensive end. Now, he looks to lead the Sun Devils’ interior front.

#82 LB Travion Brown (Gr.)

  • The only linebacker who has been consistently good in fall camp transferred to ASU from Washington State, so he is very familiar with Ward’s defense. Brown has been a vocal leader of this defense in every practice, forced a number of takeaways and also had good pressure in the backfield. Filling in a spot last year held by long-tenured Sun Devils Kyle Soelle and Merlin Robertson won’t be easy but Brown appears up for the task.

#1 CB Jordan Clark (R-Sr.)

  • Arizona State’s secondary, in my opinion, is the best position group on the team. They are led by nickel Jordan Clark, who is now in his fifth season with ASU. Clark had 47 tackles and two interceptions (one that was a pick-six) last season for the Sun Devils. In four seasons played for ASU, he has totaled 89 tackles and three interceptions.

#9 CB Ro Torrence (R-Jr.)

  • The outstanding wingspan of junior CB Ro Torrence has once again stood out in fall practices. After transferring to ASU from Auburn before last season, Torrence broke out, as he led the Sun Devils with eight pass breakups and 36 tackles. The 6-foot-3 junior led the Pac-12 with only 20 receptions allowed in coverage (min. 300 snaps).

Basic things to know about Southern Utah

The only other time these two teams met was in the 2021 season opener in Tempe. ASU won the matchup 41-14.

Southern Utah is under the direction of DeLane Fitzgerald, who led the team to a 5-6 record in his first year as head coach last season.

From the Thunderbirds’ website: “With the addition of new offensive coordinator Tye Hiatt, the Thunderbirds are poised to unveil an even more dynamic and potent offensive strategy. Their strong performance during training camp has set the stage for what could be a breakout season.”

Some standout players listed by the Thunderbirds include: “Quarterback Justin Miller is expected to lead the offensive charge, while wide receivers Isaiah Wooden and Timothy Patrick, offensive line Lyle Santos, linebacker Aubrey Nellems, and linebacker Kohner Cullimore will play pivotal roles on both sides of the ball. Alongside these established contributors, the Thunderbirds will introduce some promising new faces, adding depth and excitement to their lineup.”

ASU’s history in home openers

Dating back to 1999, the Sun Devils have won 23 straight home openers, which is currently the third-longest active streak in the nation.

A victory would improve ASU to 81-28-2 on Opening Day in history and 63-15-1 on Opening Day at home.


ESPN gives ASU a 96% chance to win against the Thunderbirds and many other sites predict ASU to win by 10+. I will release my prediction of the game later today.

See all of Arizona State’s game notes by clicking here.

ASU QB Jaden Rashada named to Freshman Player of the Year watch list

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information and exclusive content. SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

More in Arizona State Sun Devils