With one game under their belt in 2021, and a wild opening weekend in Pac-12 football, Herm Edwards and Arizona State are just happy to be 1-0.
“It’s hard to win a football game. Football games have never been won on paper, you have to win it on the field,” Edwards said. “There’s a lot of upsets in college football.”
After playing on Thursday, the Sun Devils were able to play spectator Saturday. They watched as the rest of the conference, specifically the North division, provided a less than inspiring performance against lesser non-conference foes. Cal, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona and Stanford all dropped its season openers.
“We scored the most points, and won by the largest margin, What does that mean? Nothing. We’re 1-0.” Edwards said.
More praise for the run game
Every football coach will be quick to acknowledge the importance of the ground game. For ASU, its dominant rushing attack is shaping up to be the beating heart of a potentially gaudy offense.
“I’m not saying we’re an all running team but I do know this: When we run the ball fairly decently. In the last three years, We’re 9-1 when we run for 200+ yards. That’s a pretty good stat to have in your back pocket.”
When the Rebel Yells
Had the 2020 season gone as originally planned, Arizona State would have played at UNLV in the first ever game at Allegiant Stadium. While many fans (and beat writers) are disappointed with the lack of a Las Vegas road game, Edwards and his team are excited to play in front of the home fans again this weekend. They host the Rebels (0-1) who are coming off a double-overtime loss to Eastern Washington.
“Our guys are excited about playing again at home, against a team that is getting better,” Edwards said. “They have a lot of speed over there. 3-4 defense, they do a nice job. Secondary is very active, linebackers are very active. The kicking game is great, their kicker has a big strong leg. We have our work cut out for us but our guys know it’s about us now.”
ASU will need to be more disciplined than they were against Southern Utah in order to avoid an upset this weekend. The 14 penalties, rife with personal fouls, were an ugly chapter in the team’s blowout season opener.
“At halftime I talked to them, and then we came out and had a penalty on the first play on offense,” Edwards said. “It was only two in the second half I think we calmed down some so hopefully we got that out of our system. There’s a fine line between being passionate and emotional and you can’t get emotional because you make errors.”