Things were ugly for the Sun Devils for most of the contest. Although, Arizona State (2-0) did enough to beat Sacramento State (1-1) 19-7.
The first half wasn’t exactly shootout. The Sun Devils had the only points off of a 36-yard field goal from Cristian Zendejas. In total, ASU only gained 78 yards in the first 30 minutes, less than the Hornets’ 131 yards.
Arizona State nearly had a touchdown, but saw it slip out in the end zone. After Brandon Aiyuk set up the offense inside Sac State’s 10-yard line with a long punt return, the ball went back to the Hornets. Jayden Daniels created time for himself to find running back A.J. Carter for a pass. Carter tried to push himself in for the score until he lost the ball and saw the Hornets recover it.
The ASU offense looked a bit smoother out of the break. Herm Edwards decided to go for a fourth-and-one, Eno Benjamin busted for a 33-yard gain to the Hornets’ six-yard line. However, ASU stalled again and had to settle for another short field goal from Zendejas.
Brandon Ruiz’s replacement stayed busy with another field goal to extend the lead to nine. The lead could’ve been larger though. Daniels found Frank Darby down the sideline for what appeared to be a 68-yard touchdown, only to be erased by a blindside block penalty.
Daniels and Aiyuk connected on a 52-yard throw. And the story continued with another red zone opportunity that ended in a field goal.
The Hornets made the Sun Devils sweat in the fourth quarter. Kevin Thomson led a 72-yard touchdown drive with 6:20 left in the game to make it 12-7. The key play had a throw to Pierre Williams for 40 yards before finding Tao McClinton for an eight-yard touchdown.
Finally, the Sun Devils found the end zone. Daniels found Benjamin for a simple seven-yard catch, until Benjamin turned it into a 72-yard touchdown turn the pressure back around.
On the ensuing drive, safety Cam Phillips picked off Thomson to seal the deal.
Daniels finished 17-for-27 for 304 yards and a touchdown. Benjamin had 24 carriers for 69 yards and added 94 yards receiving with his touchdown. The leading receiver was Aiyuk with 98 yards on four catches. Cornerback Chase Lucas led the Sun Devils with six tackles.