Arizona State Sun Devils take on Lumberjacks for 2022 home opener

Arizona State University football fans are excited for Thursday night's game against Northern Arizona University.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Tailgates, barbecues and more — college football is finally back! The Arizona State Sun Devils are kicking off their season against their neighbors to the north, the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks on Thursday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium.

Following the loss of quarterback Jayden Daniels to Louisiana State University, head coach Herm Edwards named transfer Emory Jones as starting quarterback for the Devils. Jones came from Florida and won the starting spot against Alabama transfer Paul Tyson. Jones finished his 2021 campaign with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Sun Devils will be running out of the Tillman Tunnel, ready to take on the Lumberjacks. The anticipation of the new season is exciting for many, with upperclassmen looking forward to taking the field once again.

Case Hatch, a junior fullback with the Sun Devils, gave us a glimpse of what goes through his mind right before taking the field. “That’s when, for me personally, that’s when I flip the switch, you know? Just mentally you go from being the nice guy to now, OK, it’s business, right? We’re stepping into war. You have the boys next to you, it’s a family walking out there. So I just get very kind of nearsighted as I walk out and it all opens up and it’s ready to go,” he explained.

LaDarius Henderson is a senior offensive lineman gearing up for his last season with the team. “I just try to soak it in every time, I love it. Especially with these guys trying to let everyone know don’t take a snap for granted. Like, even with our guy we love, (defensive end) Mike Matus, I’m sure he’d love to be running out that tunnel with us so, you know, I told him I won’t take it for granted at all,” he said. Matus will miss the entire 2022 season because of a knee injury.

Following an 8-5 season, the Devils had four players drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, including running back Rachaad White and former senior captain, defensive back Chase Lucas. White was selected 91st overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Detroit Lions scooped up Lucas in the seventh round. Defensive back Jack Jones also joined the New England Patriots and defensive lineman D.J. Davidson went to the New York Giants.

Last year, the Devils finished with a winning record but lost to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Lumberjacks finished 5-6 in the Big Sky Conference.