For the third straight week, the Arizona State Sun Devils will play in front of their home crowd, as the ASU faithful are hoping to see the team pick up their first win against an FBS opponent in the Kenny Dillingham era. After hosting Oklahoma State last weekend, the Sun Devils will play host to a tough Fresno State team that has already beaten a power-five opponent.
Through two games this season, it looks like the Fresno State Bulldogs will be playing a cardiac kids style of football. After beating Purdue in week one on a touchdown pass with 59 seconds left, the Bulldogs returned home and came away with an overtime win over a solid FCS school in Eastern Washington. Despite closing as (-30) point favorites, the Bulldogs would need a 25-yard field goal in the second overtime to secure a 34-31 victory.
Behind transfer quarterback Mikey Keene, the Bulldogs offense ranks 38th in EPA per pass play and 20th in offensive success rate on passes, according to CFB Graphs. There is no denying the Bulldogs want Keene dropping back as much as they can, which is why they already rank 33rd in pass play percentage and why wide receiver Erik Brooks has 265 yards and three touchdowns in just two games.
Keene and the Bulldogs offense will have their work cut out for them this weekend against an Arizona State defense that is 19th in defensive success rate. It is worth noting that ASU has played two offenses that are not particularly explosive, so those numbers could be skewed, but regardless, the Sun Devils defense has far and away been the best unit on the team this season.
After only coming up with 24 points against Southern Utah in week one, the Sun Devils offense only managed 15 points last weekend against Oklahoma State, which has them ranked 97th in offensive EPA. True freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada has flashed some exciting potential, but he failed to lead one scoring drive in the second half last weekend, as he finished the game with 167 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The point total for this game can be found at 50.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my play. Fresno State wants to throw the ball, and they are not afraid to take shots downfield, as the team is currently averaging 8.2 yards per pass. Mikey Keene will be the most dynamic quarterback the Sun Devils have seen all season, and as a defense, they already rank 60th in EPA per pass play.
To put it in perspective, Oklahoma State is 76th in EPA per pass play, and the Sun Devils got beat through the air twice. Now they’ll line up against a Fresno State team that is 38th in EPA per pass play and averaging 371 passing yards per game. However, Arizona State should be able to find success on offense as well since Fresno State is 116th in EPA per pass on defense and just let Eastern Washington throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns on them.
Arizona State has been a run-first offense through the first two games of the season, but if Fresno State challenges them like they did Purdue, Jaden Rashada will be forced to drop back more. As it stands, ASU is 88th in time of possession on offense, so they will likely try to push the tempo even more if they fall behind early.