Sun Devils aim to bounce back at Texas Tech

ASU football aims to recapture last year’s magic versus Texas Tech again Saturday as the two schools meet in Lubbock.

ASU football (1-1) heads on the road for the first time this season traveling to face Texas Tech (1-0) inside Jones AT&T Stadium Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.

Series History

The programs have only played three times in the modern college football era. The Sun Devils lead the overall series, 2-1.

Last year, ASU running back Kalen Ballage tied an NCAA FBS record by scoring eight total touchdowns and had 185 all-purpose yards, helping Arizona State outlast Texas Tech, 68-55.

Prior to last year, the teams met in San Diego at the 2013 Holiday Bowl when Texas Tech topped Arizona State, 37-23. In 1999, the Sun Devils won the first-ever meeting, 31-13, in Tempe.

Breaking Down Texas Tech

Texas Tech has only played one game this season. The Red Raiders notched a 56-10 win over Eastern Washington but did not play last week.

Kliff Kingsbury is in his fifth season as head coach for Texas Tech football. The Red Raiders have made two bowl appearances and have a 25-26 overall record under Kingsbury.

After losing star quarterback Patrick Mahomes II to the NFL Draft (now a Kansas City Chief), the Red Raiders new starter under center is Nic Shimonek.

Shimonek looked sharp against Eastern Washington, completing his first 14 passes and finished 26-of-30 overall for 386 yards and three touchdowns.

Texas Tech demonstrated the Air Raid offense in their first game with 75-yard and 68-yard passing scores. The Red Raiders also had 177 total yards on the ground.

This is the third season for the Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator, David Gibbs. His unit held Eastern Washington to 301 yards of total offense and just 10 points in their one game played this season.

Arizona State Preparation

Arizona State is 1-1 in the 2017 season. The Sun Devils won their first game against New Mexico State, 37-31, and lost last weekend to San Diego State, 30-20.

ASU has allowed 901 total yards through the first two games. The Sun Devil defense faces another tough challenge against Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense.

Sophomore defensive back Kobe Williams, a junior college transfer from Long Beach City College in his first season as a Sun Devil, talked about Saturday night’s upcoming match-up.

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“They run a great fast tempo,” Williams said. “So, we have to get our alignment right. We have to go in there ready for everything. We know Lubbock is going to be a crazy crowd.”

Williams has five tackles and one interception on the year. His one interception was returned for a 49-yard touchdown against New Mexico State.

After last year’s display of high-powered offenses, ASU coach Todd Graham is looking to do the same thing this Saturday.

“We have got to get rolling and score points on offense.” Graham said.

The Arizona State offense has 619 yards passing and 123 total yards rushing through the first two games. Manny Wilkins has been a bright spot for the Sun Devils, going 42-of-60 with 598 yards passing and four touchdowns without an interception.

However, the Sun Devil offensive line has allowed 12 sacks in two games, third-most in the nation ahead of Auburn and Massachusetts according to The running game has struggled as well.

“We have a whole lot of guys that are doing things right,” Graham said. “So much of it is us getting our execution down, and what’s hampering that is making mistakes.”

The receiving corps for ASU will look to continue its success against a Texas Tech defense that finished second-to-last in the nation last season.

Redshirt sophomore John Humphrey leads the team in reception yards with 123, sophomore N’Keal Harry has a team-high 11 receptions for 118 yards, and redshirt junior Jalen Harvey has five receptions for 105 yards.

Redshirt freshman Frank Darby got in on the mix last weekend with three receptions for 111 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown catch. He discussed the mentality the team needs going into Lubbock.

“Right now, the way I’m looking at it, we should go out there being angry. We should play angry,” Darby said. “We should not drop passes. We should not make minor and mental errors. It’s going to be a game.”

The Sun Devils will be wearing maroon and gold uniforms for the third straight week, according to Cole Streeper of ASU’s Uniformity provides the photos.

Arizona State and Texas Tech will kick off the action at 5 p.m. MST and will air live on FOX Sports Regional Networks.

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