ASU Football: Arizona Players to Watch

Sun Devils Nation… let’s ride.

It’s finally time to sit down on the couch and consume good food and good football while the family yells political slanders at each other for hours. Truly a magical time of year I think.

We are also blessed with the opportunity to watch the Sun Devils make a trip down I-10 to Tucson with a chance to defend the Territorial Cup for another year. Although this might be the toughest fight with the Wildcats we’ve seen in quite some time.

Arizona has been nothing short of a nuisance in the Pac-12 this year, progressing step-by-step with some of the best teams in the conference and even beating a senior opponent in UCLA a few weeks ago.

They’ve had their fair share of blowout losses against teams like Utah and Oregon, but this Wildcats offense is dynamic in their game. When executed, U of A is fast and can rack up points in a matter of minutes.

It all starts with the play of their seedy, unorthodox quarterback.

Watch out for: Jayden de Laura, QB

At his best, the second Washington State transfer looks like a young Marcus Mariota, playing with his legs and moving the ball down with precision. At worst, he can look like a poor man’s Johnny Manziel. It’s really about who appears on the field that day.

ASU is no stranger to de Laura, who won against the Sun Devils as a cougar last season when he threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns. The Hawaii-born quarterback has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five games, including 315 and two touchdowns in the upset win over UCLA.

As good as he’s looked in some of their big wins this year, he’s also had a few head-scratching performances. For example, against his former team last week, de Laura threw not one, not two, not three, but four interceptions in a game he also threw for 350 yards while also getting into a scuffle with teammates caught on camera became the sideline.

It almost feels set in stone that de Laura has a big game this weekend aside from those costly turnovers. But if he gets the ball within reach, the ASU defense will have to make him pay. Otherwise he could stomp up and down the field on the sun devils.

Usually when de Laura kicks the ball down the field, it goes 2022 to the Pac-12 leader in reception yards.

Watch out for: Dorian Singer, WR

Dorian Singer is an Arizona native and a Pinnacle graduate, so you know he has personal merits in this game. The 6-foot-1 sophomore had a great season, falling for 1,000 yards for the first time in his college career.

Not only does he lead the Pac-12 in receiving yards, he’s also in the top 10 in the country in the category behind receivers like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jalin Hyatt. Needless to say, this guy has great catch and run skills. Coupled with another top ten receiver in Jacob Cowing, Singer really stood out as a downfield threat for the Wildcats.

Singer has six touchdowns this season, including one against Washington State last weekend and a three-touchdown day against USC in late October. His score might not jump out of the stat sheet, but you don’t want him breaking tackles in the open field.

ASU has battled hard against the No. 1 wide receivers this year, so expect Dorian Singer to give you a headache watching from the stands or from the couch at home.

While Singer might not find the end zone as good as you’d think, her third-place receiver definitely has a nose for the cones, and he could play a big part in this one.

Watch out for: Tetairoa McMillan, WR

McMillan has scored but four goals in all games for Arizona this season and has eight touchdowns this season, ranking sixth in the nation. He’s conceded just over 700 yards as the No. 3 this year, which is impressive considering he’s averaging about three receptions per game.

He has a season-long 46-yard touchdown reception on his resume in 2022, which came against Washington last month. So you know he’s capable of taking the top off of a secondary if you lose sight of him.

As far as consistency goes, McMillan doesn’t get targeted as much as guys like Singer or Dowing. But, like I said, he’s the guy who can flip the swing or deliver the knockout punch late in the game.

Don’t lose sight of #4 on the field or in the red zone. It could cost you the trophy if you do.

Arizona defense gives up A TON of points. It’s no secret to the rest of the conference. They’ve conceded an average of 36.6 points per game, which is second-highest after Colorado, which has somehow given up nearly 43 points per game.

One defender to watch out for is California’s Junior Safety, Jaxen Turner. Turner leads the team with 71 in tackles and somehow catches with one all season. Arizona has two total interceptions in 2022, but they have nine forced fumbles, one of which is owned by Turner himself. If there’s someone standing in their defense to make a difference, look for Turner, who’s that guy.

ASU’s offense needs serious lifting to win what I believe will be a Territorial Cup 2022 shootout. I had a vision (or a nightmare) of Jayden de Laura having one of those outrageous performances quarterbacks love to have against the Sun Devils, so Trenton Bourguet has to put the team on his back like he was Greg Jennings in Madden 09.

If The Cup returns to Tucson, it will be thanks to de Laura’s credit and the Wildcats’ offensive attack.

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