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Arizona State's Path to Winning Goes Through Rushing Attack

Arizona State may just have the top running back duo in the country when it's all said and done.

For a team that boasts a quarterback with the prestige such as Jayden Daniels, the Arizona State Sun Devils sure do like to run the football. 

A lot. 

Four of five returning starters from last season on the offensive line certainly help. Touting what very much feels like the best running back duo in the country with Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum certainly solidifies what the Sun Devils are capable of doing when the ball isn't in the air. 

Southern Utah, like many teams last season, found out just how grueling and persistent Arizona State's rushing attack is. The Sun Devils gained 222 yards on 40 runs,  averaging 5.6 yards per attempt. 

ASU passed the ball only 18 times in the 41-14 victory over the Thunderbirds, dialing up a run play nearly 70% of the time. 

Trayanum and White accounted for 110 of those yards on a combined 13 carries, each scoring twice on the ground. Daniyel Ngata also found the end zone as time wound down in Thursday's game, while receiver Ricky Pearsall took a wide-receiver sweep to the house earlier in the game. 

"Well, I think the run game going into this had two very talented runners, and we ran the ball pretty well," said head coach Herm Edwards following the game. "When you look at the numbers, we ran 40 times for 220 yards and we got all our backs in there, but I thought we ran the ball and we took care of the line of scrimmage."

Daniels added to the ground-game prowess, totaling 40 yards on six attempts. 

He said, "The offense was in a good rhythm and I was in a good rhythm with the receivers making a couple good catches, but our run game was so dominant.

"The coaches made a business decision to run the clock out to get everyone out of the game healthy to build on this experience for next week."

For a team that led the Pac-12 in average rushing yards per game last season, it wasn't expected for Arizona State to change the recipe for success. That's not a discredit to Daniels or his passing abilities, although it appears ASU's aerial attack will be under construction for the next few weeks. 

With so many options out of the backfield, the Sun Devils are indeed hard to stop when the wheels begin to churn on offense. For a defense that has to worry about Daniels' mobility along with already having to game-plan for not one but two effective running backs, ASU's rushing attack picked up right where it left off in 2020. 

Should the passing game evolve like many expect it to, the Sun Devils feel genuinely excited for what the offensive side of the ball can accomplish. 

ASU will find themselves in a lot of competitive games this season, games that will require a lot of ball control, physicality and ability to effectively finish defenses at the end of games by controlling the clock. 

Arizona State is well equipped to handle all of the aforementioned duties, as the team's dominance first and foremost will be done through running the ball until the flood lights go out. 

Even then, either Trayanum or White may manage to pick up a few extra yards in the pitch black. 

Donnie Druin is a Deputy Editor with AllSunDevils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin, and AllSunDevils @AllSunDevils. Like and follow AllSunDevils on Facebook, and for more ASU news visit