Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (0-0) at Arizona State Sun Devils (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 3, 2016, 10:45 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Arizona State Sun Devils -25 -- Over/Under:
The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks and Arizona State Sun Devils open the season Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks hope for another successful season after seven or more wins in four straight years. Case Cookus returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,100 yards and 37 touchdowns. Emmanuel Butler and Elijah Marks return at wide receiver after combining for more than 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns while Kendyl Taylor had 21 receptions. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks ground game averaged 167 yards per contest last season and Corbin Jountti returns after racking up 378 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, Northern Arizona allowed 34.8 points and 474 yards per game. Jake Thomas returns after 68 tackles, Jake Casteel had three sacks and LeAndre Vaughn had two interceptions.
The Arizona State Sun Devils hope for a bounce back season after finishing the year with a 6-7 record. Manny Wilkins will take the field for the first time and replace Mike Bercovici at quarterback. Tim White and Kody Kohl return at wide receiver after combining for more than 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns while Ellis Jefferson had 12 receptions. The Arizona State Sun Devils ground game averaged 178 yards per contest last season and Demario Richard returns after racking up 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, Arizona State allowed 33.5 points and 463 yards per game. Salamo Fiso returns after 99 tackles, JoJo Wicker had four sacks and Kareem Orr had six interceptions.
Arizona State will continue to be solid defensively, while the offense can lean on Richard and others until Wilkins gets comfortable. The bottom line is that the Lumberjacks didn't play much defense last season, allowing 77 points against Arizona and 30 or more points in the final three games.
ASU should have a field day here.