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Arizona State Loses to BYU, Drops First Game of Season

The Sun Devils fell to their first opponent of the season, as they couldn't complete the comeback on the road at BYU.
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Football is a 60-minute game. However, the Sun Devils have yet to fully grasp that notion in 2021. 

Arizona State, ranked No. 19 in the country heading into Saturday night's matchup with BYU, fell to the Cougars for their first loss of the 2021 season, 27-17. 

It was a game where the Sun Devils fell behind quickly, trailing BYU 21-7 at halftime. The Sun Devils turned the ball over three times in the first half, including a fumble on the opening kickoff that led to an early BYU touchdown. Offensive momentum was non-existent for much of the game on Arizona State's side of the ball.

ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels threw two interceptions in the opening half of play, throwing picks in back-to-back games for the first time in his career as a Sun Devil. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall found two wide open receivers for touchdowns early, exposing ASU's veteran secondary. 

Sun Devils cornerback Chase Lucas exited the game in the first half and did not return to action. 

However, the game wasn't in BYU's control throughout the entire game. Arizona State drew within four points of the Cougars in the third quarter thanks to a Daniyel Ngata rushing touchdown. Momentum had appeared to find itself on Arizona State's side for the first time in the game.

Then, it vanished. 

ASU linebacker Merlin Robertson nearly secured great field position for the Sun Devils to take the lead after intercepting an misplaced pass by BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, before he was stripped from behind and lost possession. 

The play was a perfect metaphor for how Saturday night went for the Devils, who turned the ball over four times and had 16 penalties for 121 yards. A late Cougars touchdown pushed BYU's lead to 27-17 in the fourth quarter. 

The Cougars indeed won the game, yet many within Tempe believe the Sun Devils were only defeated by themselves, stalling any momentum with penalties and keeping BYU in the lead by allowing big chunks of yardage at a time. 

Arizona State led BYU in time of possession, red-zone opportunities, average yards per play and third-down conversions. 

It was a learning experience for the Sun Devils, a crucial lesson learned the hard way early in their season. Arizona State will look to regroup and rebound next Saturday in their matchup with Colorado.