For the first time since BYU declared its independence in 2011, BYU will play in a ranked matchup in Lavell Edwards Stadium. The #23 Cougars host the #19 Arizona State Sun Devils in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Here are three keys to a BYU victory over ASU.
1. Limit turnovers
Over the last 13 games, no team has been better at forcing turnovers than Arizona State. The Sun Devils have forced an FBS-leading 38 turnovers, averaging nearly three takeaways per game over the last 13 games. ASU has already forced four turnovers this season in their first two games.
Fortunately for BYU fans, BYU has protected the football so far this season. The Cougars are one of only nine FBS teams that have not committed a turnover in 2021.
If BYU is going to pull out a win over the Sun Devils, they need to continue to limit turnovers.
2. Find the right balance when pressuring Jayden Daniels
According to Pro Football Focus, Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels has completed 30/40 passes (75%) in a clean pocket this season for 307 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
While not overly prolific in terms of statistical output, Daniels has proven capable of making defenses pay when he has time to go through his reads. BYU needs to get pressure on Jayden Daniels and make him uncomfortable in the pocket.
However, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki has to be calculated when calling blitzes against Arizona State. So far this season, Daniels has used his legs when he is under pressure. In fact, Daniels has decided to run 89% of the time when he is under pressure. If BYU is going to bring a blitz, they have to maintain gap discipline or Daniels will make them pay with his legs.
3. Find balance on offense
Through two games, Arizona State has only allowed 106.5 passing yards per game. That ranks fourth in the entire country. If BYU is going to consistently move the chains on Saturday night, they need to be able to move the ball through the air.
BYU has only thrown for 178 yards per game this season, but they've been able to make plays when it matters most: on third downs and in the red zone.
If BYU is going to beat Arizona State, they need to find balance on offense. They must establish the run like they have in the first two games, then they must take advantage of play-action opportunities in the passing game.