It was an important win for the Arizona State Sun Devils regardless of the opposition, although a matchup with the Colorado Buffaloes was favorable from the start.
ASU led Colorado for the entire game, although the contest never felt in full favor of the Sun Devils until a three-possession lead was reached in the fourth quarter.
However, it was perhaps the best 60 minutes Arizona State has played in any of its four games. The 35-13 win over the Buffaloes marked the first time in head coach Herm Edwards' tenure at ASU that the team won their Pac-12 opener.
A lot went right for the Sun Devils in their third victory in four games, while remaining undefeated (3-0) at Sun Devils Stadium. ASU also managed to stuff the stat sheet before the lights turned out in the stadium:
By the Numbers: Arizona State's Victory Over Colorado
Saturday night marked the first time all season where a Sun Devils receiver eclipsed the 60-yard receiving mark, as LV Bunkley-Shelton emerged as the first pass-catcher to do so when he reached that number in the third quarter. Bunkley-Shelton was joined by fellow receiver Johnny Wilson (70) and running back Rachaad White (70) to also cross that mark.
Arizona State's offense advanced into the red zone four times, and managed to score touchdowns on all four opportunities. The Sun Devils offense has always flashed their scoring prowess, yet efficiency has never truly been their strength. That wasn't the case on Saturday night, as ASU's offense managed to move the ball both through the air and on the ground almost at will for the majority of the game.
The Sun Devils played their first turnover-free game of the 2021 season, and it couldn't have come at a better time. ASU looked night-and-day different than their previous three games, coming as no surprise for any team that knows how costly those mistakes could prove to be. Had the Sun Devils continued their streak of turning the ball over, Colorado may have just hung around more than Arizona State would have preferred.
Questions surrounded Arizona State's defensive front entering the Colorado matchup, and rightfully so. The Sun Devils (without Jermayne Lole, Travez Moore and eventually B.J. Green Saturday night) knew the Buffaloes would be placed in early passing-down scenarios and opportunities would be there. ASU has been widely criticized for the lack of ability to consistently rush the passer, yet those criticisms were momentarily silenced after three sacks.
Eight different receivers caught passes from quarterback Jayden Daniels on Saturday night, displaying just how effective spreading the ball around could be for the Sun Devils. Five of those receivers caught multiple passes. When game-planning, it's important not to show any tendencies or favorite targets on certain downs, distances and packages. Eight different pass-catchers makes that awfully hard, keeping defenses on their toes throughout the course of the game.