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Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU defeats Southern Utah 24-21 in season opener

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

After everything was halted due to lightning at halftime, ASU and Southern Utah finally finished their game, which the Sun Devils won 24-21.

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The first half of the game ended at 8:35 p.m. MST, but the second half did not start until 11:28 MST due to severe lightning in the area.

The Sun Devils entered the final half up 21-7 following a strong close to the first half where freshman QB Jaden Rashada, who was celebrating his birthday in his first career start, displayed his talent to Sun Devil fans.

His highlight play was a 47-yard bomb to Xavier Guillory for his first collegiate touchdown. Rashada finished the day going 18-of-31 for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

After a slow start to the second half, fireworks started to go off for Southern Utah late in the third quarter.

Southern Utah QB Jordan Miller found WR Isaiah Wooden for a 52-yard gain down to the ASU 12. He then connected with WR Zach Miller for a 17-yard touchdown to make the score 21-14 ASU with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.

Elijhah Badger took the next kickoff 81 yards and ASU had the ball at the SUU six. However, they followed the big return with a four-play, negative 14-yard drive that resulted in a field goal to put ASU up 24-14 with 13:41 remaining.

Then, things got interesting. The Thunderbirds blocked a Sun Devil punt and took it to the house to cut into the deficit 21-24 with 7:44 to go in the game.

They forced the Sun Devils to punt it away once again on the next drive (Rashada only had 12 yards in the second half up until this point).

With a chance to take the lead, Southern Utah had to punt on its next drive after a bad drop on a third down.

The Sun Devils then showed a lot of poise taking over with just over five minutes remaining and being able to run out the clock with Rashada ant the helm and nice plays by Cameron Skattebo and Elijhah Badger.

A sluggish start to the second half

When the teams did come onto the field, the rain was coming down hard and it showed.

Rashada struggled to find his targets, but so did Southern Utah. However, the Thunderbirds got some things going on short plays.

The Sun Devils caught a break when a 68-yard pass was called all the way back due to targeting.

After the second half got underway, it featured five straight punts combined from the two teams.

First half

The Sun Devils started out on fire, forcing a quick punt and then driving 68 yards down the field for a touchdown in less than two minutes. Cameron Skattebo scored his first touchdown in a Sun Devil jersey to cap off the drive.

However, the Sun Devils were forced to punt on their second drive. The ensuing Thunderbird possession, Oklahoma DE transfer Clayton Smith was ejected after a targeting penalty.

Southern Utah then started getting its ground game going against a weakened Sun Devil defensive front. They ended up tying the game with a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Targhee Lambson.

After three-and-outs by both teams, Rashada showed off his tremendous arm for his first touchdown pass.

The Sun Devils faced a fourth and eight on the SUU 47, but Rashada launched it all the way down the field to Guillory for six to put the Sun Devils up 14-7.

ASU then forced another three-and-out to get the ball back for one last drive to end the half.

The possession started with a nice 43-yard catch-and-run by star Sun Devil tight end Jalin Conyers.

Despite a dust storm starting to come in, the Sun Devils made the most of the drive. Rashada connected with Troy Omeire with only two seconds remaining to put the Sun Devils up 21-7 at halftime.

The first half stats were highlighted by Rashada going 12-of-16 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

Skattebo, Guillory and Omeire all scored their first touchdowns in the maroon and gold after transferring into the program this offseason..


It was a tale of two halves for the Sun Devils. The biggest glaring difference was the penalties and the sloppiness. ASU only had one penalty in the first half, but finished with nine.

The Sun Devils’ offense had way too many sluggish moments.

Other than the blocked punt, there weren’t any turnovers on both sides and ASU had 0 sacks all game. Against an FCS opponent, ASU failed to impose its will.

ASU struggled mightily on third down, as their first third down conversion came with 11 minutes left in the game.

The Arizona State defense overall looked good, but allowed too many big plays.

A lot of corrections will be needed in the next week of practices.

FOLLOW LIVE: Arizona State vs. Southern Utah

Arizona State will next take on Oklahoma State next Saturday (Sept. 9) at Mountain America Stadium with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. MST.

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

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