Final score: Arizona State 52, Arizona 37
Quarterbacks: B. Jerrard Randall received his second career college start when Anu Solomon (concussion) was unable to play, and struggled mightily. The quarterback completed 4 of 13 passes for 35yards and rushed six times for 22 yards before being pulled for Brandon Dawkins in the second quarter. Dawkins was brilliant in his place: The redshirt freshman completed 16 of 30 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Dawkins threw two fourth-quarter interceptions, however, and they were killers: ASU defenders returned both for touchdowns.
Running backs: D. Nick Wilson started but struggled again, gaining just seven yards on six carries. Jared Baker ran three times for two yards against an ASU defense that sold out to stop the run. The Wildcats opted to throw, and throw plenty, as they clawed back into the game.
Receivers: B+. Trey Griffey caught two passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, the score coming after he dodged and dashed his way for 95 yards. Johnny Jackson led the team with seven catches, and Tyrell Johnson hauled in one of the UA’s two receiving touchdowns. Samajie Grant suffered a head injury while trying to catch a first-quarter Randall pass, and didn’t return.
Offensive line: C-. The Wildcats’ makeshift line struggled, though it didn’t help that the UA attempted 43 passes against a blitzing Sun Devils front. UA quarterbacks were sacked eight times, and ASU defenders finished with 11 tackles for loss.
Front six: C+. The Sun Devils rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 48 carries and the Wildcats managed just two sacks of Mike Bercovici. But Arizona played much better in the second half, confusing the Sun Devils quarterback and allowing the UA offense to rally. ASU gained just 87 yards in the third quarter and 78 in the fourth. Linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson finished with nine tackles, and safety/linebacker Paul Magloire had eight.
Back five: C-. The Wildcats allowed “chunk” passing plays of 59, 58 and 41 yards, numbers that — combined — accounted for 158 of Bercovici’s 315 yards. Cam Denson had a pick-six for Arizona’s first touchdown and finished with seven tackles. Will Parks had nine tackles, two for loss.
Special teams: A. Punter Drew Riggleman and kicker Casey Skowron were stars on an otherwise forgettable day. Riggleman averaged 46.4 yards on six punts, and Skowron was 3 for 3 on field goals. The Wildcats thrived, even with four special teams starters out with various injuries.