Arizona State football vs. NAU rewind: Sun Devils dominate Lumberjacks in season opener – The Arizona Republic

The Arizona State football team hosted NAU on Thursday in a Week 1 college football game.
Look back at our updates on the game, which the Sun Devils won, 40-3, to move to 1-0 on the season.
More: ASU football fans had jokes about Arizona’s 2021 loss to NAU after win over Lumberjacks
More: Urban Meyer as Arizona State football coach? Dan Patrick says ‘keep an eye’ on Sun Devils
Arizona State’s Emory Jones impressed in his first game as a Sun Devil, going 13-of-18 for 152 yards on his attempts in the game.
He also ran for 48 yards and two touchdowns on 11 attempts.
The transfer from Florida showed poise in the pocket and a lot of athleticism for Arizona State, albeit against NAU.
The going will be much tougher against Oklahoma State next week, but still, there is a lot to be pleased about with ASU’s new starting quarterback.
Jones did have a fumble on a sack late in the first half, really the lone blemish in his first game at ASU.
Trenton Bourguet came in to relive Jones with six minutes left in the game. Paul Tyson came in at quarterback with just over two minutes left in the game.
More: ASU vs. NAU score picks, predictions for college football Week 1 game
The defense for ASU really delivered against NAU, holding the Lumberjacks to 120 total yards and just 23 yards rushing in the game. NAU had 97 yards passing in the game.
The Sun Devils intercepted two NAU passes in the game.
NAU only had seven first downs in the game and averaged 2.3 yards per play.
It was a solid start for the defense, which saw a lot of turnover from last season and is relying on several new players to be key contributors this season.
Herm Edwards has to be happy with the performance in the first game of the season.
Arizona State’s running game shined in the team’s season-opening win over NAU.
The Sun Devils gained 267 yards rushing, led by Xazavian Valladay’s 116 yards on 15 attempts.
Valladay had two touchdowns in his debut for the Sun Devils, while Emory Jones rushed for two touchdowns and had 48 yards on 11 carries.
Daniyel Ngata had 10 carries for 60 yards as the Sun Devils have proven to have some depth at the position after losing their top rushers from a year ago.
ASU forced NAU to punt again, then after a time-consuming drive, saw Carter Brown hit a 43-yard field goal to give ASU a 40-3 lead.
Brown is now 4-for-4 on field goal attempts in the game.
Score: ASU 40, NAU 3 (7:54 left in fourth quarter)
ASU forced NAU to punt again and then added a 44-yard field goal by freshman Carter Brown to take a 37-3 lead with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
ASU didn’t list a starter on the depth chart between Brown and Jace Feely, another freshman placekicker, but Brown has delivered in this game, going 3-for-3 on field goals and connecting on all of his extra point attempts.
With a 37-3 lead, you have to think that ASU might pull Emory Jones and other starters for the fourth quarter and give some backups an opportunity to get some early-season reps.
Score: ASU 37, NAU 3 (:17 left in third quarter)
Carter Brown with his 3rd FG of game, this one from 44, @ASUFootball now up 37-3 with seconds left in 3rd. Brown ow with FGs of 27, 36, 44 yard. Last year the longest FG of the season was only from 40 yards so improvement in that department
ASU had its second pick-six of the game taken away on a penalty on NAU’s previous possession, but the interception still set up the Sun Devils in great field position at NAU’s 24-yard line.
Carter Brown hit a 36-yard field goal after the interception to give the Sun Devils a 34-3 lead.
Score: ASU 34, NAU 3 (9:42 left in third quarter)
Xazavian Valladay is having himself quite a first game as a Sun Devil.
The running back scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on a 31-yard run early in the second half to give Arizona State a 31-3 lead over Northern Arizona.
He has 107 yards on 12 carries for ASU.
It is his 15th career 100-yard rushing game, and his first as a Sun Devil.
ASU went 68 yards in five plays on the scoring drive. 
Score: ASU 31, NAU 3 (12:27 left in third quarter)
X with 27 yards run to make it 31-3 as @ASUFootball scores on first possession of second half. Sun Devils doing what they should be doing against this opponent
The Sun Devils took a 24-3 lead into the half in their season opener against NAU.
Quarterback Emory Jones impressed in his first game for ASU, going 10-for-12 for 120 yards and rushing for two touchdowns.
Another positive? ASU’s running game, which amassed 156 yards on the ground, including Xazavian Valladay’s 56 yards and a score on nine carries.
Tight end Messiah Swinson has three catches for 50 yards, proving to be a big target for Jones.
The defense has looked really good as well, holding NAU to 82 total yards.
The injury to offensive lineman Joey Ramos late in the first half in concerning for ASU, but overall it was a solid half after a slow start.
ASU had 21 points in the second quarter.
Score: ASU 24, NAU 3 (halftime)
First half thoughts:
1. Emory Jones looks good. Very poised in the pocket. Smart, aggressive runner.
2. Sack. Lost fumble. Lineman hurt, forcing a third-stringer into action. Can’t have that.
3. The ASU defense is doing what it should. NAU is throwing a lot of short passes.
4. X is fast. Like so fast that he probably gained 6 yards in the time it took you to read that sentence.
5. Merlin might not have huge stats, but he’s been all over the field, and I don’t think he’s missed a snap.
6. Kyle Soelle with the interception! Grandpa must be proud.
7. This crowd is a joke. Half of Flagstaff should have come out. Plus, all these Valley guys should have family here.
8. ASU has a 276-82 total yards advantage.
9. Too many penalties for ASU. One of which ruined a pick-6.
10. Messiah Swinson: Three catches, 50 yards. No bad.
Some defensive stuff for @ASUFootball
NAU has 82 yards on 33 plays
Merlin Robertson has 5 tackles
Kyle Soelle 3 tackles, 1 Int
Travez Moore 3 tack, 1 TFL
The Sun Devils turned the ball over late in the first half when Emory Jones lost the ball when he was sacked, but in more serious news, offensive lineman Joey Ramos, a transfer from Iowa State, was hurt on the play and was helped off the field.
Ramos started the game in place of the injured Des Holmes at right tackle, making ASU even thinner at the position.
NAU’s Collin Robbins hit a 47-yard field goal to put the Lumberjacks on the scoreboard after the ASU turnover.
Score: ASU 24, NAU 3 (:05 left in second quarter) 
A. I’m stunned that a Herm Edwards team would be looking to throw a deep pass up 24-0 with 1 minute left in the half, and they get the ball to start the third quarter.

B. IF you decide to be aggressive (as I might be, if I were a coach) you can’t give up a sack and a fumble.
Kyle Soelle intercepted NAU’s R.J. Martinez on NAU’s next possession and it didn’t take the Sun Devils long to take advantage.
Xazavian Valladay ran for 28 yards on the first play of ASU’s possession, then quarterback Emory Jones ran for a 17-yard touchdown, his second of the game, to put Arizona State up 24-0 with 2:19 left in the half.
ASU has 164 rushing yards in the first half. Things are clicking for the Sun Devils both on offense, with Jones and Valladay, and on defense, with the pressure the team is putting on NAU QB R.J. Martinez.
Score: ASU 24, NAU 0 (2:19 left in second quarter)
Emory Jones scores on 17 yd run on second play after Soelle interception. Set up by a nifty 28 yard run by X Valladay, now 24-0@ASUFootball
After the Sun Devils forced a three-and-out by the Lumberjacks, they drove 75 yards over six plays and 2:39 to take a 17-0 lead on a 4-yard run by Xazavian Valladay.
ASU benefitted from a targeting call on NAU on an incomplete pass by Emory Jones after appearing to need to punt, which kept ASU alive on the drive.
ASU’s drive included a 29-yard run by Daniyel Ngata.
The touchdown is Valladay’s first as a Sun Devil after transferring from Wyoming to Tempe.
Valladay rushed for 1,070 yards on 209 attempts and for six touchdowns last season.
ASU has passed for 120 yards and rushed for 119.
Score: ASU 17, NAU 0 (3:44 left in first half)
Emory Jones had four rushing touchdowns with Florida last season.
He got his first at ASU on the Sun Devils’ ensuing possession on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal for ASU.
On the previous play Jones had dived for the end zone but came up about a half-yard short on third and goal from the seven.
Herm Edwards decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the one and Jones delivered to give Arizona State a 10-0 lead.
Jones is 8-for-10 for 96 yards passing in his debut as a Sun Devil. He has also rushed for 20 yards on five attempts.
ASU’s drive was for nine plays and 72 yards and took 4:42.
Score: ASU 10, NAU 0 (8:05 left in second)
Emory Jones on 1 yard run
Caps drive that was 9 plays, 72 yards to put @ASUFootball up 10-0
Carter Brown with the PAT
NAU marched down the field against ASU early in the second quarter and set up for a 26-yard field goal in an attempt to tie the game, but the Lumberjacks couldn’t handle the snap on the attempt and didn’t get a kick off.
Still, Northern Arizona has to feel good about only being behind Arizona State 3-0.
NAU’s drive went for 55 yards over 13 plays and took 3:07 off the clock, but didn’t result in any points.
The first quarter of the season for the Sun Devils is in the books and ASU holds a 3-0 lead over NAU.
ASU outgained NAU in yards in the first quarter, 107-51 with a 60-32 advantage passing and a 47-19 edge rushing. 
NAU is currently on its third possession of the game, where earlier ASU had a pick-six by Kejuan Markham negated by an offsides penalty.
Penalties proved costly for ASU last season. In this game, Arizona State has been penalized twice for 10 yards. NAU has been penalized once for five yards.
Score: ASU 3, NAU 0 (end of first quarter)
End 1
ASU 3, NAU 0
Total yards: ASU 107, NAU 51
Emory Jones is 6-8 for 60 yds.
Only sccring on a 27 yd FG by Carter Brown

Also, something ASU faithful watching, just 2 penalties 10 yards total@ASUFootball
Good start on defense for ASU vs. NAU
The Sun Devils have allowed 17 total yards on defense on NAU’s first two possessions, a good start for ASU.
NAU has just two yards rushing on two attempts. Quarterback R.J. Martinez is 3-for-6 for 15 yards.
ASU had to punt on its second possession of the game after gaining 33 yards on six plays.
ASU quarterback Emory Jones shined on his first possession as a Sun Devil, leading Arizona State to a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Carter Brown kicked a 27-yard field goal to put up the first points on the scoreboard.
Jones went 4-for-5 on the drive for 54 yards. 
ASU’s drive took 11 plays and went for 69 yards over 5:07.
NAU gained 15 yards on the opening possession of the game before ASU forced the Lumberjacks to punt.
Score: ASU 3, NAU 0 (8:21 left in first)
The Sun Devils have 51 new players on their roster this season, including new quarterback Emory Jones, a transfer from Florida and Xazavian Valladay, a running back who transferred from Wyoming.
NB Jordan Clark, CB Timarcus Davis, DL Gharin Stansbury and OL Des Holmes aren’t expected to play for ASU.
ASU captains for the game are LB Merlin Robertson, LB Kyle Soelle, QB Emory Jones, OL LaDarius Henderson and FB Case Hatch.
Pac-12 football Week 1 picks, predictions:
ASU football coach Herm Edwards is back as the Sun Devils’ head coach this season, but questions loom about his future with the team amid an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations with his team. 
ASU football has seen five coaches depart amid the investigation, including offensive coordinator Zak Hill and recruiting coordinator Antonio Pierce, also the defensive coordinator and associate head coach.
Recruiting has suffered, as the Sun Devils have brought in few recruits and many key players have entered the transfer portal and found teams elsewhere.
As a result, the team is thin at some positions as its depth has suffered.
Speculation has swirled about Edwards’ security as coach, with many calling for him to be fired.
Radio host Dan Patrick added fuel to the fire of ASU coaching speculation Wednesday when he indicated that the ASU football team could be a team to “keep an eye on” for Urban Meyer if the former Jacksonville Jaguars coach and current Fox Sports analyst decided to get back into coaching in college, where he has had a lot of success.
You can read Dan Patrick’s comments here.
When was the last time Arizona State lost a season opener?
You don’t have to go back far to find the answer.
ASU fell to USC in its season opener in 2020, 28-27. The Sun Devils went 2-2 in that COVID-19 shortened year, also dropping their second game of the season to UCLA, 25-18.
They rebounded with wins over Arizona and Oregon State to end the season 2-2.
ASU opened up the 2021 season with a 41-14 win over Southern Utah.
The Sun Devils’ previous loss in a season opener before 2020 came in 2015, when Arizona State fell to Texas A&M in Houston, 38-17.
College football Week 1 picks, predictions:
These two teams haven’t played since Sept. 8, 2016, when ASU beat NAU in Tempe, 44-13.
Click here for The Republic’s game story from the 2016 game and click here for the game rewind.
Check out the photos from that game below.
The Sun Devils have won 15 straight games against Northern Arizona, dating back to Nov. 11, 1939.
Who will win the ASU vs. NAU football game on Thursday night?
Tipico Sportsbook hasn’t released a line for the game because NAU is an FBS opponent, but ASU football is considered a huge favorite in expert picks and predictions for the game.
Subscribe to to check out Michelle Gardner’s prediction and scouting report for the game.
Subscribers can also check out game-by-game predictions for ASU’s season, including the Sun Devils’ opener vs. NAU, here.
Those who subscribe can also access expert picks and predictions for every Pac-12 football game for Week 1 of the season here.
You don’t have to subscribe to check out these ASU football picks and predictions from other sites, including one that has Arizona State beating NAU, 51-0.
Everyone can also check out these picks and predictions for the game from The Arizona Republic’s sports staff.
ASU released a video showing its look for Thursday’s game against Northern Arizona.
Tried and true 🔱

Rocking with the classics for Week 1 😈
Pregame reading for ASU vs. NAU game
Reach Jeremy Cluff at Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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