Arizona State Weathers The Storm For First Win Of The Season

Written by on 09/01/2023


August 31st, 2023

[TEMPE, AZ] “Arizona State weathers the storm for first win of the season”…… Literally.  Sure, new head coach Kenny Dillingham’s return to coach his alma-mater started out like any other late-August game in Tempe, Arizona.  The sky’s overhead were blue for kickoff as the season-opener against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds began.

Arizona State running back Cam Skattebo set the tone for the Sun Devil offense on the first drive punching it in from six yards out, giving them the lead over Southern Utah, 7-0 after a successful extra-point attempt by Dario Longhetto.  That score came with just over nine minutes remaining on the clock in the 1st Quarter.  The score would remain at 7-0 until early in the 2nd Quarter when Southern Utah capped off an eleven-play 72-yard drive with a rushing touchdown by Targhee Lambson.

Arizona State would then pick up the pace behind Freshman quarterback, Jaden Rashada.  Rashada would lead back-to-back scoring drives in the second quarter.  The first score came at the end of a seven play, 73 yard drive when Rashada would throw a 47-yard jump-ball to Wide Receiver Xavier Guillory on a 4th and 8 from the Thunderbirds 47 yard-line.  The next drive would be a little more conventional for the Sun Devils as Arizona State would run the perfect three-minute offense to end the half.  Rashada would find wide receiver Troy Omeire for a 3-yard touchdown reception with only two seconds left on the clock.  Arizona State would enter halftime with a 21-7 lead over Souther Utah.

Living in Arizona for a little over two decades now, I’ve seen my share of dust storms.  This however, would be my first at a football game.  On that last scoring drive from Arizona State, the dust started flying into the stadium.  If you live in the valley, you know what follows the dust…..the storm.  And boy did it ever come; to the tone of an almost three hour lightning delay.  The second half didn’t kick off until almost 11:30PM local time.

Not only did the storm wipe out the majority of the fans who started the game in attendance, it seemed to wipe out any momentum the Arizona State offense carried into halftime.  The Thunderbird defense would keep the Sun Devils off the board in the 3rd Quarter, while adding a late touchdown with :49 seconds left.  Justin Miller would complete a 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Mitchell to cut into the Arizona State lead 21-14.  ASU would add a 38-yard Longhetto field goal early in the 4th Quarter to extend their lead to 24-14.

Southern Utah would fight back, this time on the defensive end on the next ASU drive.  Having forced a punt situation on a 4th and 7, Jordan Washington would block the punt, recovered by George Ramirez, and taken 47-yards for the score, again closing in on ASU 24-21.

After ensuing back-to-back punts by both offenses, the Arizona State offense would run out the final 5:19 remaining in the 4th Quarter and secure head coach Kenny Dillingham’s first victory at his alma mater.

Arizona State will next face Oklahoma State at Mountain America Stadium on September 9th, at 7:30PM.  Hopefully this time, we’ll do without the halftime show sponsored by the Arizona dust storm.


QB Jaden Rashada 18-31 236 yards, 2 TD’s

RB Cam Skattebo 17 rushes, 71 yards, 1 TD

WR Xavier Guillory 5 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD


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