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ASU Football: Bourguet and Conyers connect for three scores, Valladay adds three in win over Colorado

Offensive explosion in Bourguet’s first career start and Aguano’s first game calling plays

Arizona State v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Two weeks in a row, Arizona State scored back-to-back first-half touchdowns.

Last week at Stanford, ASU followed up those scores with 11 first downs on eight drives and no points.

On Saturday night at Folsom Field in Boulder, things looked like they might be going a similar way. The Sun Devils, led by sophomore Trenton Bourguet in his first career start, scored on back-to-back drives to start the game. On their third drive, they ran just four plays and punted.

Déjà vu.

Instead, ASU (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) scored on two-of-three more first-half drives, setting the foundation for a 42-34 win on the road over Colorado (1-7, 1-4 Pac-12).

“We still left a couple of touchdowns on the field (with opportunities) that I would want to take back,” Bourguet said. “But we had a great game, the defense did everything. It was a complete team win.”

Back to Bourguet.

It was announced pregame that Bourguet received the nod at quarterback for ASU after a week-long quarterback competition with Emory Jones. The start came as somewhat of prime situation for Bourguet, who would be facing off against the conference’s worst defense statistically in 2022.

And he did not disappoint.

He started off the game 9-for-9 with 161 yards and a touchdown. His first incompletion did not come until the second quarter. The touchdown lit up Sun Devil Twitter like Christmas lights at the zoo when he found junior tight end Jalin Conyers in the back of the end zone for Conyers’s first score of the season.

That would have been enough for some people. A tight end finally was in the game plan. But the Bourguet-to-Conyers red zone connection did not go away. It made a three-peat. The two combined for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Sun Devil tight ends had accounted for just four touchdowns in the last 20 games.

“I kinda like shocked myself because I didn’t realize I had three,” Conyers said. “It was all adrenaline.”

Bourguet (32-for-43, 435 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception) did a fine job of spreading the wealth too. Elijhah Badger topped his single-game career high in receiving yards, a mark he set last week at Stanford, with eight receptions for 137 yards. Bryan Thompson had 76 yards on six catches. Like the Washington game, the lone hiccup came on an interception on a ball that probably should not have been thrown.

Oh, and X Valladay (23 attempts, 118 yards) tacked on three touchdowns of his own, while crossing the 4,000 yard threshold as an FBS rusher.

Defensively, it was not as sharp of a performance as last week’s Stanford game, but plays were made when it counted most. With Colorado down two scores in the third quarter, Buffalo quarterback J.T. Shrout attempted a flea-flicker, a play that has bitten ASU all season. Instead safety Chris Edmonds identified the trickery downfield and picked off the pass for his second interception of the game. Joe Moore had a sack. Omarr Norman-Lott and Nesta Jade SIlvera made plays in the backfield.

Minus a couple lapses in the secondary, the defense did what it needed to do, but there is undoubtedly room to improve.

Saturday’s victory against Colorado was also Aguano’s first game calling plays as interim head coach. With offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas as play caller, ASU averaged 25 points per-game. Now, Colorado did come into this matchup giving up the most yards per-game (473.3) and points per-game (38.7). The offense operated at the level it is supposed to.

“The plays haven’t changed,” Aguano said. “The tempo changed, the play calling (changed). It is gratifying and I’m crossing my fingers on the sideline hoping that it works, you know? But the kids bought in and they trusted the changes that I made, and I’m grateful for it.”

But there is no lying that it previously was not working as efficiently, so kudos to Aguano for making the switch at quarterback.

Now he may wonder why he didn’t do it sooner.

“Trenton won us the game,” Aguano said.