TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona State opens their 2021 football season Thursday night as they host Southern Utah.
Entering head coach Herm Edwards' fourth season, the Sun Devils are ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll and have their sights set on making a run at the Pac-12 title. ASU finished the COVID-shortened 2020 season 2-2, but defeated rival Arizona 70-7 to retain the Territorial Cup for a fourth consecutive season.
Due to the extra season of eligibility offered because of the pandemic, 20 of ASU's 22 starters return from last season. Cornerback Chase Lucas, a Chandler native who will be an unprecedented fifth-year starter, leads a talented defense that figures to be the team's strength. On offense, the Sun Devils will rely on their dynamic stable of running backs led by Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum, while quarterback Jayden Daniels will aim to get a talented yet inexperienced groups of wide receivers on track.
However, the program remains under a black cloud as the NCAA is continuing their investigation into alleged recruiting violations. In recent weeks, ASU placed three assistant coaches on paid administrative leave relating to the investigation.
Southern Utah, a FCS program, enters the game 0-1 on the season following a 45-14 loss to San Jose State last Saturday. The Sun Devils are nearly a seven-touchdown favorite over the lower-division opponent in the game.
Thursday is the first all-time meeting between the two programs, who will square off again in Tempe in the 2023 season opener.
- Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Sun Devil Stadium
- TV: Pac-12 Network
- Radio: 98.7 FM
- Point Spread: ASU -47