Game 2 of the season is tonight for the Sun Devils as they’re taking on the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Mountain America Stadium.
This is the second of four straight games where ASU will play on their home field. Earlier this week head coach Kenny Dillingham was urging the fans to show up and show out to the game so they can have a real home-field advantage.
“Let’s get everybody in this valley out to the game.” – Dillingham
— DevilsDigest.com (@DevilsDigest) September 4, 2023
Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is coming off a huge win last week against Southern Utah as they won by a final score of 24-21. One of the things that stood out from the game was Freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada.
He completed 18-31 passes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver Xavier Guillory had a huge game as well going for 5 receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
I also felt like the defense as a whole showed why they’re going to be one of the best units in the Pac-12, especially on the outside. Jordan Clark had a great game with 2 pass deflections and great coverage plays down the field.
Although the defensive line didn’t get a sack in this game, they were very good against the run as Southern Utah only averaged 2.8 yards per carry on the ground.
The only negative from last week’s game for ASU was the dust storm and penalties in the second half. If they can clean up the penalties going into their game against Oklahoma State, things can be looking really good tonight for the Sun Devils.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State is coming off of a win against Central Arkansas. A contest in which they saw three different quarterbacks play last Saturday.
The quarterbacks for the game combined for 304 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. It’s safe to say that Arizona State doesn’t know what to expect in terms of how many quarterbacks will play but that they will have their hands full against Oklahoma State’s 3-3-5 defensive look.
Oklahoma State last week shut down Central Arkansas in the second half last game. Their defensive front had 5 sacks for the entire game along with 9 tackles for losses.
The one thing that Oklahoma State is looking to clean up is their rush defense. They gave up 4.4 yards per carry on the ground which would’ve been more if their quarterback Will McElvain didn’t have 6 carries for -11 yards.
On specific running opportunities, all Central Arkansas’ running backs averaged over 5 yards per carry which screams a big-time Achilles heel on Saturday for Oklahoma State.
Burn City Sports and ASU Insider Brendan Mau’s Prediction
Arizona State 27 – Oklahoma State 24
I expect another ugly game tonight after both teams did not dominate against the FCS schools they played last week. However, I’m going with the underdog in ASU this week and also think the under 53.5 is a really good bet with both teams combining for less than this total last week against inferior opponents.
It could take Rashada some time to get settled in against the Cowboys, and I think OSU gets a lot of pressure on him all game. However, having Elijhah Badger the whole game will help Rashada big time to be able to utilize his full arsenal of weapons all night. It’s very likely we see Rashada’s first turnover of the year tonight, but when he makes mistakes like this, how will he respond?
ASU needs to get the run game going between Cameron Skattebo and DeCarlos Brooks. I think these two will both have big games and allow Rashada to get more comfortable as the night goes on.
Overall for ASU’s offense, I think they start slow but find a rhythm as the game continues. Rashada needs to show that he doesn’t just have big play ability, he can connect with his playmakers anywhere on the field. OSU has definitely prepared for the big plays after last week, so I wouldn’t expect a ton of them tonight. Rashada showed incredible poise last week, so I expect all the veterans around him to step up and for him to follow their lead.
As for Oklahoma State’s offense, I think it’s going to be tough to get a rhythm going with its rotation of quarterbacks. Arizona State had 0 sacks last week, but I think the team drastically improved its pressure this week with DE Clayton Smith back from getting ejected for targeting and freshman DT C.J. Fite seeing his first action.
In addition to having 0 sacks, the Sun Devils had 0 forced turnovers in Week One. In order to win tonight, they need to log stats in these categories. I was very surprised when they didn’t last week.
Another key for ASU this week is stopping the run game. Oklahoma State did not have any major production on the ground until the fourth quarter last week. Can the Sun Devils show they improved in this category in their first big test this year?
Overall for Oklahoma State’s offense and ASU’s defense, I’m expecting a similar style to how ASU’s offense and OSU’s defense will look. A lot of pressure should be generated by the Sun Devils’ defensive line, but I think Oklahoma State fails to get in a rhythm like ASU.
I think ASU toughs this game out and gets revenge for the loss last season.
Burn City Sports and ASU Insider Franklin Miller’s Prediction
Arizona State 28 – Oklahoma State 21
Like Brendan, I believe this will be an ugly game for both teams but that ASU will come away with the win. One of the things that I believe will take place today is that the Sun Devils will look to run the ball a ton in this game.
I’m looking for both Cameron Skattebo and DeCarlos Brooks to have big games to take the pressure off of Rashada. Speaking of Rashada, in terms of a scheme perspective, this will be his biggest challenge yet in college.
The 3-3-5 scheme is not an ordinary defense and Oklahoma State as well as Mike Gundy’s scheme is going to look to keep the deep ball away from Arizona State in this game.
I think the quick game will be key in tonight’s game for Kenny Dillingham and his offense if they want to get on track through the air tonight.
ASU is also getting reinforcements as Freshman Cullen Fite is expected to make his debut on the defensive line for the Sun Devils tonight. I’m expecting ASU to get to the quarterback a few times after struggling to get to the quarterback last week against Southern Utah.
Add all these to the forefront and I’m expecting ASU to come away with a hard-fought win tonight against their first opponent in the Big 12.
Kick-off for tonight’s game is set at 7:30 PM.