TEMPE -- Great teams find a way to fight through adversity after experiencing their first loss of the season, and that's precisely what the Arizona State Sun Devils did on Saturday night.
After dropping their first game of the year at BYU last week, the Sun Devils played host to the Colorado Buffaloes in their first Pac-12 game of the season. Arizona State defeated Colorado 35-13 and is 1-0 in conference play for the first time under head coach Herm Edwards.
It was a game where the Sun Devils weren't the most undisciplined team on the field, an odd sight for many ASU faithful who either attended or tuned in. The Buffaloes finished with eight penalties for 84 yards.
ASU got off to perhaps its best start of the season, hitting big plays on the offensive side of the ball and forcing third-and-long situations for Colorado when on defense.
The scoring started with a five-yard Jayden Daniels rushing touchdown. The Buffaloes nearly responded with a field goal of their own before defensive back Jack Jones got his fingertips on a kick to keep Colorado scoreless.
Arizona State then expanded the lead to 14-0 after an 11-yard Rachaad White touchdown run. White has scored in all four of ASU's games this season.
After a 51-yard Cole Becker field goal, the Sun Devils led 14-3 at halftime. Standout players in the first half were defensive lineman Joe Moore with 1.5 sacks and linebacker Darien Butler who made five total tackles.
ASU had its second player this season (defensive lineman B.J. Green) ejected for targeting, with Tyler Johnson previously being removed from the game for the same penalty against Southern Utah. Both ejections happened in the first half.
The third quarter began a bit more interesting for the Sun Devils, as Colorado received the ball to begin the second half and marched down the field (thanks to four plays of 10 or more yards) and drew within four points after an Alex Fontenot rushing touchdown.
However, Arizona State's offense began to find its groove, scoring 14 unanswered points to push the score to 28-10 in the fourth quarter. Freshman receiver Elijah Badger scored on his very first touch as a Sun Devil on a reverse, while fellow receiver Ricky Pearsall found White for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
It was a great night for Arizona State players across the board. Receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton became the first ASU receiver to hit over 60 yards receiving on the year, while D.J. Taylor nearly broke loose on a handful of returns.
The win didn't come at no cost however, as Butler suffered an apparent forearm injury in the third quarter and didn't return.
A 15-yard Daniels rushing touchdown with 8:30 left to play sealed the deal for ASU, pushing the lead to 35-10 and out of reach for Colorado. The Buffaloes were able to salvage a field goal in the final four minutes of play (and hit the over for those wagering on the game).
The Sun Devils finished with more than 400 yards of offense by sticking true to their bread-and-butter: Running the ball and playing an effective yet turnover-free game through the air. ASU finished 4-4 in red-zone trips while averaging 7.4 yards per play.
Daniels completed 18 of 25 passes for 236 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He added 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
It was an important win for Arizona State, as the team now receives a much-needed confidence boost and reminder of how well the Sun Devils can play when discipline and turnovers aren't an issue.
Now, Arizona State shifts its focus to a tough road game at the Rose Bowl next week as UCLA returns home following a 35-24 win over Stanford.