September 10, 2017 / 7:56 AM / 9 months ago

Preview: San Diego State at Arizona State

Arizona State has yet to lose to San Diego State, but its perfect record likely will be put to the test when it hosts their showdown on Saturday. Arizona State is 10-0-1 all time against San Diego State, the only team it has faced at least 10 times without losing.

The Sun Devils looked vulnerable in their season opener against New Mexico State on Aug. 31, giving back most of a 24-point fourth-quarter lead before holding on to win 37-31. San Diego State is coming off an 11-3 season in which they easily beat Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl, and junior quarterback Christian Chapman is back as the starter and playing confidently. Arizona State allowed 398 passing yards and three touchdowns to New Mexico State, so its secondary is an area the Aztecs might look to exploit early. Kalen Ballage appears to have solidified himself as the No. 1 running back for the Sun Devils as he produced 79 yards on 18 rushes in the season opener while former 1,000-yard rusher Demario Richard was limited to just one carry.

TV: 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Arizona State -3.5

ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (1-0): Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 2,133 yards and scored 17 touchdowns for the Aztecs last season, but he’s now a rookie for the Philadelphia Eagles, opening the door for Rashaad Penny to show what he can contribute on a full-time basis. Penny still had 1,005 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season, but expect more of what he displayed in the season opener against UC Davis, when he totaled 197 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns. Penny, at 5-11, 220 pounds, is a much different runner than the 5-9, 175-pound Pumphrey, but still possesses breakaway speed.

ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (1-0): The Aztecs will need to find an answer for Manny Wilkins, who completed 22-of-27 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns against New Mexico State to become the first Arizona State quarterback to complete at least 80 percent of his passes in a season opener. Wilkins has thrown for 300 yards or more in three of his last four games dating to last year, and his confidence level will be key in this matchup. John Humphrey caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in his Arizona State debut and might be the fastest receiver San Diego State will face this season.


1. The Sun Devils have scored 70.8 percent of the time following a turnover since 2012, with 54.6 percent of the scores being touchdowns.

2. Humphrey’s 123 receiving yards were the second-most by an Arizona State player in his debut behind the 201 recorded by Calvin Demery in 1969.

3. San Diego State is 22-3 in its last 25 games, and its .880 winning percentage since Oct. 3, 2015 is third-best in the FBS behind Alabama (.962) and Clemson (.929).

PREDICTION: San Diego State 31, Arizona State 30

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