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ASU Football: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly vs UCLA

What we saw

NCAA Football: UCLA at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that commemorated the 1975 Sun Devil squad that went undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl, the 2020 Sun Devils couldn’t muster enough juice to knock off a subpar UCLA squad.

Two games into the 2020 season, and the Arizona State Sun Devils are a team that lacks an identity, and will probably have to wait until 2021 to find one.

The Good

DeaMonte Trayanum

After finding the end zone twice and racking up two scores in his collegiate debut, Trayanum showed out again, recording his first 100 yard rushing game of his Sun Devil career.

Averaging over seven yards per carry, Trayanum continued to be a tone setter for Zak Hill, and has been the focal point for ASU this year.

Trayanum has been the Sun Devils best player in 2020, and should be the bell cow back going forward.

The Defensive Line

While the secondary struggled, the front seven was adequate. Tyler Johnson turned in arguably his best performance as a Devil, recording three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. Michael Matus and D.J. Davidson also recorded sacks, making Dorian Thompson-Robinson uncomfortable all night.

While the defense had its struggles throughout the night, Johnson showed out. The defensive line bounced back on a short week, and were the only bright spot on defense in a game where the Devils had their fair share of struggles.

The Bad

Jayden Daniels

Daniels has been lauded as one of the top passers in the Pac-12, and one of the best up and coming quarterback’s in the country.

Daniels hasn’t played like the star he’s been built up to be this year.

Daniels wasn’t bad, but his play Saturday against a sub-par Bruins defense was uninspiring. Daniels mustered 225 passing yards on 21 completions, good for a mere 6.4 yards per throw. Daniels only threw one touchdown, as he connected with Frank Darby in the third quarter.

Daniels rarely turns the ball over, but he also doesn’t take shots downfield. Yes, Daniels hasn’t gotten a lot of help from his receivers, but the lack of offensive fluidity has been alarming.

ASU won’t play in a bowl game, and their season is a week away from being finished. For Daniels, he can finish the year against Arizona, mark this season up as a mulligan, and move on.

The Receivers

A mix of inexperience, play calling, and lack of a season, no member of the young receiving core has yet to emerge. While Darby found the end zone after missing most of the game against USC, no ASU receiver had a day to remember.

LV Bunkley-Shelton hauled in four catches for 43 yards, and Johnny Wilson snagged four balls as well for 39 yards. The young duo showed improvement last night, but didn’t show anything special.

The Ugly

The 2020 season

Lucky for Herm Edwards, he can throw this season away after next week. While ASU hasn’t played well, they haven’t had any time to develop.

In a year that has been upended by outside circumstances, ASU hasn’t played well in either of their two games, they had three games canceled due to a covid-19 outbreak, and a season that once looked so promising has turned into a season of what-if’s and disappointment.

The Sun Devils have a chance to finish their shortened season on a high note with a win against Arizona next week. If they can take care of business in Tucson, Edwards and company can celebrate a Territorial Cup win and move on from this disaster of a season.