The Arizona State Sun Devils are looking to start a season 2-0 for the first time in two years on Saturday night, when the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels come to Tempe. It will be the first Sun Devils game with legal sports betting in Arizona.
The Sun Devils dismantled a Football Championship Subdivision squad, Southern Utah, in the team’s opener on Sept. 2, and is a heavy favorite with Arizona sportsbooks against the Rebels.
The Sun Devils and Rebels kick off at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time Saturday, with ESPN2 carrying the contest nationally.
Building on ASU’s Opener
Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards and his team will look to continue doing what worked well for them against the Thunderbirds — completing timely passes and pounding the ball on the ground early and often.
The Sun Devils finished Saturday’s opener with 222 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while junior QB Jayden Daniels completed 10-of-12 passes for 132 yards.
No single back finished with 100 rushing yards for the Sun Devils, though Rachaad White, DeaMonte Trayanum, Daniyel Ngata and Ricky Pearsall scored at least a touchdown apiece on the ground in the victory.
The Sun Devils’ dynamic rushing attack allowed Edwards to give his younger players time on the field, in a 41-14 romp in favor of the home side.
Final Tune-up for ASU
The Sun Devils’ game comes against a UNLV team that lost to Football Championship Subdivision team Eastern Washington last week, 35-33.
The Rebels lost their opener at home in overtime, after mounting a 14-point comeback in the contest’s final quarter.
Running back Charles Williams shined for the Rebels in the defeat, running for 172 yards and two scores, while receiver Kyle Williams had 87 yards on six receptions.
The Rebels are led by second-year head coach Marcus Arroyo, who has gone 0-7 across two seasons in the Sin City.
A Looming Test Awaits
The Sun Devils will face a much tougher college football test a week from Saturday, when they head to Provo to face a BYU squad that is coming off a 24-16 win over in-state rival Arizona.
A win over the Rebels on Saturday will put the Sun Devils in good position to vault up the Associated Press top-25 rankings, where ASU is currently 25th.
That said, they’ll also need to keep their foot on the pedal to avoid getting tripped up by a BYU squad that’s more than capable of pulling off an upset, especially at home.
For now, Edwards and company will look to pull off the program’s first victory over the UNLV Rebels in program history, after falling to them, 23-20, in Tempe 13 years ago.