Tempe, AZ—Arizona State was predicted to beat the USC Trojans by 90.8%. Would this prediction be true? Much to our dismay, the Sun Devils was also predicted to beat Washington State and came up a little short.
Longtime pregame and sideline broadcaster Jordan Simone appeared to have said some harsh comments on the Speak of the Devils podcast about the coaching staff. He was quoted saying: “the football team’s effort a disgrace and a disservice to the players and alumni in attendance, notably those from the 1996 team on hand to celebrate the 25th anniversary of winning the Pac-10 and going to the Rose Bowl.” Simone is also a former player under Todd Graham leadership, who criticized head coach Herm Edwards, saying it just wasn’t working and that the players were being “coached so poorly.” These comments led to him being fired the very next day.
Negating the fact of Simone’s comments about the players being coached poorly, today’s game was short of poor coaching. The Sun Devils (5-3) came out and showed out during their contest against the USC Trojans (4-4). Could the glue that holds the offense together have been #3 Rashaad White? White didn’t play in last week’s homecoming game, but this week everyone knew he was back as he carried the Sun Devils to a 31-16 victory.
Tonight was a great night for a win for the Sun Devils as they took the field for the first time this season in all gold to “Salute to Service”, honoring veterans of the United States. It was also an honor as it was former linebacker Pat Tillman’s birthday as well. He would have been 45 years old.
USC Interim Head Coach Donte Williams made history on Sept 13, as he is the first black head coach to ever run the football program after Clay Helton was fired. Williams, 39, spent over a dozen years coaching other high profile college football programs such as Oregon, Arizona, San Jose State and Nebraska. He wasn’t hired into the position but instead was promoted into it. Although USC is a predominantly white prestigious and private institution, does not change how the L.A. native feels about his new task.
He said in a video shared on USC football’s Instagram page, “I feel like this is the opportunity I was born for. To be the first African American head coach at USC means a lot to me. I mean it’s a lot of people who came before me that have paved the way for me to have this opportunity.” Hats off to Coach Donte Williams. He is only the fifth Black head football coach in the Pac-12 conference this year, along with Stanford, Arizona State, Washington and Colorado.
The Power Five conferences, including the Pac-12, are made up of 46% Black football athletes, yet the hiring of Black coaches is still unequal. In 2020, three of the 11 Black Power Five head coaches lost their jobs and for the first time since 2015, no Black head coaches were hired in any of the five conferences, according to The Undefeated.
ASU definitely looked alive compared to last week disaster. The Sun Devils scored the first touchdown of the game with :58 seconds left in the first quarter. This drive went for 12 plays, 94 yards, 5:50 as DeaMonte Trayanum (RB) had a 24 yard touchdown run and Cristian Zendajas kicked the extra point. The offense sputter a little in the first.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels threw two interceptions. They got a little momentum in the second and had to settle for a chip shot of a field goal at 11:28 in the second quarter.
Neither USC QB’s Kedon Slovis nor Jaxson Dart got into a rhythm and the two combined for three straight three-and-outs in the second half. The two combined for 220 passing yards; Slovis went 16-for-28 for 131 yards, while Dart was 8-for-17 for 89. Neither threw for a touchdown, but both threw pick.
“I don’t feel good anytime when you don’t score points,” interim head coach Donte Williams. “But we had a couple little issues that went on there that led to that.”
One of those misques took a Dart interception into the end zone off the board, resulting in the freshman QB running into the end zone from nine yards out, flipping it up like a finger roll in celebration.
After the contest, Williams admitted the tackling issues are his biggest frustration with the USC defense at this point in the season.
“I believe we have really good players and they’re capable of making those plays,” Williams said. “At the same time, tonight they didn’t.”
The next play was a hand off to White, and he ran 47 yards, dragging safety Calen Bullock into the paydirt for a 14-10 lead that Arizona State would take into the break.
White finished the game with 202 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Slovis started the second half for the Trojans. He completed three passes as USC marched for a field goal, then he was immediately replaced by Dart.
The third quarter of play was difficult to watch as there were no touchdowns scored, just three field goals – one for ASU and two for USC. The fourth quarter was dominated by the Trojans and White was at it again. He scored two touchdowns to push the lead to 17-16 to start the fourth and they never looked back.
We talked about it all week. We felt that they would try to run the ball because they have been running it nicely. They have two big powerful backs and we wanted to stop them from running,” said Edwards.
“Believe it or not, we did not sack the quarterback, but we were able to get around (it). Our secondary and our linebackers, for the most part, didn’t give up a bunch of explosive plays. This is what the offense can do; they can make big plays working down the field and that was not the case tonight.”
During one of the television breaks, David Fulcher was presented an award and will be inducted into the college football Hall of Fame. The Sun Devils unveiled his name and number (7) along side of football field. Fulcher was referred to as “a safety in a linebacker’s body” for his rare combination of size and speed, He is one of only three Sun Devils to earn consensus All-America honors. The Los Angeles native is the ninth Arizona State player to join the College Football Hall of Fame. Congratulations David on a job well done.
ASU vs Washington away