On a day where champions were crowned in cities like Charlotte, Atlanta, and Dallas, no prize of legitimate merit was being won in the shadows of Corvallis, Ore. The Arizona State Sun Devils and Oregon State Beavers took the gridiron in a meaningless game with no titles on the line, or a chance of playing in any bowl game for that matter.
The 2020 Sun Devils proved that time is a flat circle. Every week Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum carry a one-dimensional Sun Devil offense on their backs, Jayden Daniels tries to invigorate a dormant passing game.
ASU finished their season with a win. This could be good for momentum headed into 2021, but for 2020 it doesn’t mean much.
Let’s look at the good, bad, and ugly.
Last week, White found the end zone three times on ten touches. He amassed 133 yards on the ground and put together his best performance of the year. White may have outdone himself once again. On 13 carries, White rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, proving that he, not Chip Trayanum, should be the top back going forward. Whether that be more carries or looks in the stagnant passing attack, ASU offensive coordinator Zak Hill needs to get the ball to White more. A lot more.
Hard, tough, physical running is what the true freshman from Akron, Ohio does best. The Beavers knew what the true freshman brings to the gridiron, and they came prepared. Despite this, the Sun Devil back had 57 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season totals to 290 yards and four scores in four games. In an adverse year, Trayanum made the most of his opportunities and solidified his place in the Sun Devil offense for years to come.
ASU ran the ball down the Beavers’ throats and exposed the weak spots in OSU’s front seven.
ASU had five different ball carriers, amassed 375 yards on the ground, averaged nearly 9 yards per carry, and scored six times.
If Hill has any sort of awareness, he’ll continue to stand by the run in 2021.
Before the opening kick-off of the 2020 PAC-12 season, Johnny Wilson, LV Bunkley-Shelton, and Frank Darby were generating some buzz around Tempe as the group that would fill the void left by Brandon Aiyuk.
Instead of being contributing weapons to Jayden Daniels, ASU’s receiving room quickly turned into college football’s equivalent to the island of misfit toys. Bunkley-Shelton had one catch for five yards while Wilson and Darby were missing in action.
While Wilson and Shelton are young and have room to grow, Darby does not. What does Darby bring to the table?
The answer is not much. Darby runs half the route tree, has struggled to separate from defensive backs on everything except slants, and has fallen flat as the next great Arizona State receiver to come out of Tempe in recent years.
Most of the receivers are young but they’ve all been downright bad this season.
2020. End it on a win. Leave it at that. It’s in the rearview mirror now.