Arizona State returns to Sun Devil Stadium in the wake of two consecutive blowout wins as the college football season reaches its midpoint.
The Sun Devils shellacked Colorado and UCLA by a combined margin of 41 points, improving to 4-1 for the season.
Herm Edwards’ team returns to Tempe for a Friday night showdown with the Stanford Cardinal in an ESPN-televised contest that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time.
Sun Devils a Heavy Favorite on Friday
The Sun Devils are expected to have little trouble winning at home Friday night, according to three major Arizona sportsbook operators.
Arizona State is 2-2 against the spread this season, covering against the Buffaloes (-14) and Bruins (+3), while failing to cover against BYU (-3) and UNLV (-35) for Arizona gamblers.
ASU’s Balanced Offense a Difference-Maker
One of the major threats ASU has on its side offensively is the team’s ability to attack defenses on the ground and through the air.
Junior QB Jayden Daniels has played a key role in that duality, throwing for 218.8 yards per game this season, while running for 120 yards and two scores in the team’s last two games.
ASU offensive coordinator Zak Hill has been able to replicate the dual threat offensive schemes he honed at Boise State in the desert so far this season. It helps the Sun Devils have a three-headed backfield of Rachaad White (325 rushing yards and eight touchdowns), Daniyel Ngata (216 yards and three scores) and DeaMonte Trayanum (119 yards and three scores).
Those three, in addition to Daniels, have jumpstarted ASU’s offense in the team’s wins over Colorado and UCLA, igniting the Sun Devils’ Rose Bowl dreams.
Scouting the Stanford Cardinal
Few teams in America have been as enigmatic as the Cardinal, who have collected a pair of top-notch wins, paired with losses to Kansas State and UCLA.
Stanford’s long-time coach David Shaw dialed up a quality game plan in the team’s 31-24 overtime victory over then-third-ranked Oregon a week ago, but the Cardinal opened the season by scoring just seven points in a loss to Kansas State.
The Cardinal have given up more yards per game (403.8) than they’ve averaged offensively this season (348.8), but feature a solid QB-WR combo, in sophomore Tanner McKee and junior Elijah Higgins.
McKee has yet to throw an interception this season on 138 pass attempts, while tossing 11 touchdowns.
The sophomore has thrown for two or more touchdowns in each of the Cardinal’s last four games, after finishing the team’s dismal opener against Kansas State with 118 yards and a score.
Higgins has been a revelation at times, hauling in 22 receptions for a team-high 273 yards and three scores.
Both will put the Sun Devils’ defense to the test Friday night as ASU looks for its first win over the Cardinal since Oct. 18, 2014.