Instead of good, bad, and ugly this week’s column should be ugly, putrid, and shameful but for the purpose of continuity it will have the same format. I’ve watched a lot of football in my life, plenty of good and bad and what ASU left on LaVell Edwards Stadium was some of the most undisciplined, sloppy play from a top-20 team that any fan will see.
That being said, let’s get into the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
The Good - Daniyel Ngata
Ngata, the forgotten back of the trio of himself, Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum, has never gotten the workload that his running mates have seen but when he’s gotten looks he’s often made the most of his opportunities. Saturday night was no different, as the bruiser averaged 10.3 yards per carry and found paydirt once. On 8 carries, Ngata racked up 82 yards and led the Devils in rushing.
The Bad - Zak Hill
Where is a good place to start for Hill? Is it the playcalling, and how whenever his offense has been faced up with competent competition it sputters into a wayward mess? Is it that he and his offensive staff have made their offense so predictable and one dimensional because of the personnel they’ve recruited? Or is it that he is just in over his head?
Whatever is it, going away from Ngata and taking him out of the game after he provided the only spark that the Devils had all night was a travesty. The Devils offense looks one dimensional, and the game plans now will beat the Arizona’s, UNLV’s, and Southern Utah’s in the world. They won’t beat USC’s, Stanfords, and UCLA’s.
More Bad - The Receivers
Let’s take a flashback to 2019 when Brandon Aiyuk was showcasing to the NCAA what a premier modern day receiver looks like. Fast, athletic, can play in the slot and outside, can run the whole route tree, can take the top off a defense and shred them to bits with his agility and elusiveness. What types of players has ASU recruited since?
ASU does not have a number one receiver. No guy has separated himself from the pack, and the lack of a consistent passing game has made life on Jayden Daniels immensely difficult. Aiyuk elevated Daniels and made him look like a budding star, Johnny Wilson and company do the exact opposite.
Even More Bad - The Discipline
The 2021 Sun Devils have been penalized 36 times in three games. They were penalized 16 times on Saturday. No matter how talented or good a team is, no team is good enough to overcome 16 penalties.
The difference in team tonight was glaring. Kalani Sitaki led a well coached, disciplined football team that was ready to play. Herm Edwards and his staff weren’t prepared, and it showed.
This was supposed to be the year it all got put together. This had the potential to be a statement win over a good team, in a statement season that showed that the Sun Devils were to be taken seriously. If UNLV and Southern Utah were test prep, ASU thought the test would be just like the study guide and they could not have been more wrong.
The Ugly Truth - Let’s talk about Jayden Daniels
Before I get grilled, look at the highlights, look at the box score, think back to last season and the first two games of this campaign. Now ask yourself, what does Jayden Daniels do well?
He’s thrown two touchdown passes this season, and failed to throw one against the Cougars. Even though he doesn’t get a lot of help from his receivers, he doesn’t sit in the pocket well. He’s too quick to run. He bails on plays before they’ve even developed. He’s athletic, but what other asset does he have that makes him a threat? Daniels plays behind a line that has protected him and given him time. Great quarterbacks elevate their teams and find ways to win games when it matters. When has Daniels done that?