Following Arizona State’s 41-14 win over Southern Utah to open the season, House of Sparky wanted to point out the three best plays from the season opener in our opinion.
Rachaad White’s 26-yard Touchdown on Fourth Down in the First Quarter
Offensive coordinator Zak Hill clearly trusted his running game to gain a yard early in the game as he decided to go for it on a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter. He got plenty more from Rachaad White and the offense.
Arizona State lines up in 22 personnel (two tight ends; Curtis Hodges on the right side and John Stivers on the left, and two back; Case Hatch lined up as the fullback in front of White) in an I-Formation and appears to run a power concept.
While the right side blocks down, left guard LaDarius Henderson and Stivers pull to the right side. The key blocks in my opinion are from center Dohnovan West and right guard Henry Hattis because the initial hole seems plugged but those two create so much push it created the cutback lane. White’s vision easily leads him there and with Southern Utah’s AJ Stanley (No. 18) already overcommitted from the gap, it becomes a foot race to the end zone that White won’t lose very often.
Sun Devils Score on 26-yard run from Ricky Pearsall
Hill pulled out a few tricks from his bag on Thursday. One play showcased how dynamic the Sun Devil rushing attack can be. Ricky Pearsall took this end-around toss the distance that included a few good blocks to spring it open.
Andre Johnson, the wide receiver split out to the right side, made the key block to seal the edge down field for Pearsall. Hatch, who started lined up on the left side of the offensive line and pulled, took out the final player in Pearsall’s way and avoided a penalty in doing so.
The Case Hatch block has been talked about plenty on the Ricky Pearsall touchdown, but he also probably doesn't score without Andre Johnson's block downfield as well. pic.twitter.com/awtkEOeX7w— Brady (@BradyVernon) September 6, 2021
Curtis Hodges Picks Up 27 Yards in the Second Quarter
I think a lot of people wanted to see a little more from Arizona State's passing attack but concepts like this 27-gain from Curtis Hodges continues to show strides in the offense. The defenders all crash on Pearsall and Hodges just finds the open space in the middle of the field. pic.twitter.com/45Cc1s4TLT— Brady (@BradyVernon) September 6, 2021
Arizona State’s win didn’t provide a lot of passing highlights — the running game simply took over — but Hodges had a big pickup in the second quarter.
Jayden Daniels faked the handoff to DeaMonte Trayanum and had Pearsall coming across the formation in a very common concept. Pearsall appears to be the first read but Southern Utah had three defenders crash on him. Meanwhile, behind that trio, Hodges leaked into the middle of the field after coming off a block. He then showed his skills in the open field.
Hopefully, Arizona State can involved more pass-action concepts similar to this one going forward to make life easier on Daniels and the youthful pass catchers.