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Three Keys for Arizona State to Beat BYU

The Sun Devils will look to upend the BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah.

The time for talk is nearly over. 

The Arizona State Sun Devils have essentially showed it all in 2021, albeit against lesser opponents. Two victories in two games is a trend Arizona State would like to continue heading into Saturday night's matchup with BYU. 

The Sun Devils have passed both of their early quizzes against Southern Utah and UNLV. Can ASU now pass the test against a more legitimate Cougars team while playing on the road? Arizona State surely believes they can, and bettors do as well. The Sun Devils have had 73% of consensus bettors choose them to cover by four points on Saturday night. 

Football, broken down to its core, is a simple game. Score more points than the other team and you win. However, things get a bit complicated when game-planning for other teams. 

That will certainly be the case for Arizona State's biggest game of the season thus far, as BYU is ready to reel off its second consecutive win against a ranked Pac-12 team. 

The Sun Devils aren't intent on that happening, and will look to do these three things in order to become 3-0:

Three Keys for Arizona State to Beat BYU

1. Get off to a quick start: Sounds simple, right? Getting off on the right foot will be imperative for a Sun Devils team that isn't exactly playing against inferior competition. That's something Arizona State has struggled with through two games in its own stadium, let alone against better competition and away from home. 

There's no doubting football is a 60-minute game, and ASU has showed just that after two strong second-half performances. However, establishing themselves early will help settle a noisy crowd and remove positioning to play from behind, especially against a team such as BYU. 

Whether it be dialing up a big play on the first offensive possession, making a special -teams play or generating turnovers early, Arizona State's chances to control the game down the stretch would be built in the early foundations of the first quarter.

2. Contain BYU QB Jaren Hall: Hall is a true dual-threat quarterback, as described by Cougars Report publisher Casey Lundquist: 

"When he settled down against Utah and Arizona, he was able to make critical plays with his arm. He is also downright special running the football. Hall's dad played running back for BYU in the '90s, and his brother was a running back for the Cougars a few years ago. Hall will make you pay if you are not disciplined up front."

Last week against UNLV, mobile quarterback Doug Brumfield offered the Sun Devils problems when it came to properly containing his presence in the pocket. However, Arizona State quickly adjusted at halftime and limited UNLV's offense the entire second half. 

While Hall will indeed find himself in situations to take advantage of open running lanes, it will be vital for Arizona State to contain the running prowess of Hall. Bending but not breaking will be key for the Sun Devils in their effort to keep Hall in check throughout the game, including the coveted halftime break where defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce will be able to make adjustments similar to last week. 

ASU would be wise to spy Hall to limit his damage. 

3. Winning the turnover battle: This seems obvious, and it hasn't been something the Sun Devils have had to worry about with Jayden Daniels under center in his three years at Arizona State, thanks to his ability to take good care of the ball.

However, in what's expected to be a close battle through all four quarters, each possession will have to count, whether it's scoring or winning the field-position battle. Arizona State's defense prides itself on the ability to take the ball away at any given time. 

Eliminating miscommunications, especially in a hostile environment, will be instrumental in ensuring turnovers are less likely. Turnovers in the red zone, like the interception we saw from Daniels last week, could prove costly in a close game. 

It's not rocket science, yet winning the turnover battle is much easier said than done. 

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