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Arizona State Prepares for Conference Play Against Colorado

The Sun Devils welcome the Buffaloes of Colorado on Saturday, marking their first Pac-12 game of the season.

As fate would have it, the sun did indeed rise after the Arizona State Sun Devils experienced their first loss of the 2021 season, a 27-17 loss to the BYU Cougars. 

It was ugly in all three phases. It was even more hideous when factoring in four turnovers and 16 penalties. 

However the cookie crumbled, it did. There's no ignoring what happened in Provo, and after watching the film, the team will have surely addressed whatever mishaps and mistakes that can be corrected. 

Yet there's no time to continually harp over the previous week, for both players, coaches and fans. Tomorrow brings a new day, and just one day closer to Arizona State's next opportunity to get back on track. 

That opportunity will come Saturday night in a matchup with the Colorado Buffaloes at Sun Devil Stadium. 

The Buffaloes are coming an interesting two-week stretch, which first saw them lead a fifth-ranked Texas A&M team deep into the fourth quarter before ultimately losing. Then, playing their second straight home game, the Buffaloes were rolled by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 30-0.

With both programs sitting at 2-1, neither team is intent to drop back-to-back games, a move that would ultimately put them behind in the chase for an appearance in the Pac-12 title game in December. 

That's precisely what many around Tempe hoped for Arizona State to accomplish heading into this year, and it's easy to believe why. Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels was expected to break onto the national scene with one of the strongest rushing attacks in the country and a defense that boasted experience, depth and talent at all three levels. 

Yet through three games, ASU boasts a 2-1 record with little confidence from the team. 

That all can change, however, with a statement win over Colorado this upcoming weekend. A game where all four quarters are won by Arizona State with turnovers and penalties cleaned up could do wonders for ASU's confidence heading into an important date at UCLA the following week. 

Could this week be the game that turns the tide back in favor of Arizona State? Colorado recently set an all-time Pac-12 record by going scoreless on 20 consecutive possessions in their most recent run of games. 

Arizona State surely hopes that trend continues despite the loss of defensive end Travez Moore in the BYU game. Moore injured his knee and will be out for the rest of the year, becoming the second defensive lineman lost to a season-ending injury (Jermayne Lole). 

However, the team anticipates a handful of help returning to the field, most notably the presence of running back Chip Trayanum and electric return man D.J. Taylor. 

With games still remaining against UCLA, USC and Utah, the Sun Devils are still very much in control of their own destiny in terms of reaching the Pac-12 championship game. However, the pressure now intensifies for Arizona State to make a strong run as the month of September concludes and Pac-12 play opens.