Who is the best punter in the land? According to the Ray Guy Award, there are now 10 players left in the running for that title in the 2019 season.
This year’s semi-finalists for the Ray Guy Award are Oscar Bradburn (Virginia Tech), Joseph Charlton (South Carolina), Max Duffy (Kentucky), Tyson Dyer (New Mexico), Sterling Hofrichter (Syracuse), Adam Korsak (Rutgers), Dane Roy (Houston), Tommy Townsend (Florida), Michael Turk (Arizona State), Owen White (Navy).
Somehow, last year’s winner, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann, didn’t make the cut. Mann is third in the nation in punting average (48.21 yards per punt). Not exactly sure how that happened, but there will be a new Ray Guy Award winner this season as a result of this slip form the award’s committee.
Jayden Daniels missed Arizona State’s loss to USC with an unspecified knee injury, but it will be just a 1-game absence. Sun Devils offensive coordinator Rob Likens told Sun Devil Source on Tuesday he expects Daniels to return this Saturday against Oregon State.
“Practiced well, went through the entire practice, made all the throws, did all the running, changing directions and all that,” Likens told the site. “He looked fine.
“I was very, very pleased. I was like, ‘OK, he’s back. He rolled out, he did some bootlegs, he disconnected on some run plays and ran, and I didn’t see him limp, favor, do anything. He looked 100 percent.”
A true freshman from San Bernardino, Calif., Daniels started Arizona State’s first eight games before missing its ninth. For the year, he’s 135-of-223 (60.5 percent) for 1,902 yards with 11 touchdowns against just two interceptions while adding 273 yards and three scores on the ground. Fellow freshman Joey Yellen played in Daniels’ stead on Saturday, going 28-of-44 for 292 yards with four touchdowns against two picks in the 31-26 loss.
Arizona State sits at 5-4, meaning the Devils will need to win one more game to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time under head coach Herm Edwards.
With the 2019 regular season rapidly drawing to a close, Florida has dropped some future scheduling news on the masses.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Florida confirmed that it has agreed to a future home-and-home series with Arizona State. The Gators will travel to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in 2028, with the Sun Devils making the trek to The Swamp in Gainesville in 2031.
The 2028 game will be played on Sept. 16, while the backend of the series will be played either Sept. 6 or 13 of 2031.
That first matchup in 2028 will mark the first-ever meeting between the football programs.
Arizona State last played at the home of an SEC school in 2009, a 20-17 loss to Georgia in Athens. Florida’s last trip to a Pac-12 school was a 1983 tie with USC. The Gators last played host to a school from that conference the year before, with the Trojans serving as the opponent once again.
As the kids these days would say, it’s now social-media official.
Last week, it was reported that Dillon Sterling-Cole had placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. Wednesday, the Arizona State quarterback took to Twitter to confirm that he has indeed entered the portal.
Sterling-Cole is on schedule to graduate from ASU in December and will have one year of eligibility that he could use at another FBS school in 2020.
Sterling-Cole was a four-star member of ASU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the country. After attempting 55 passes as a true freshman, the Texas native attempted just two more the next two-plus seasons.
As part of ASU’s quarterback competition this year, Sterling-Cole was beaten out by one true freshman for the starting job (Jayden Daniels) and by another true freshman for the backup job (Joey Yellen). Sterling-Cole had spent the first half of the 2019 season as the Sun Devils’ No. 3 quarterback.
A few weeks ago when UCLA lost to Oregon State at the Rose Bowl, many called it rock bottom for the program. While that disappointing loss may have been labeled as such, the good news for the Bruins is that there was nowhere to go but up.
And up they’ve gone recently.
UCLA notched their second win in a row for the first time in two years on Saturday night in Pasadena, rocking No. 24 Arizona State by a deceiving close 42-32 margin on homecoming to signal that maybe there is progress being made under embattled head coach Chip Kelly.
Leading the way was not surprisingly the ground game. Tailback Joshua Kelley scored four times on his way to a 164 yard night, putting the game out of reach early in the third quarter. The running lanes were open for just about everybody as the team rolled to over two bills on the ground for the fourth straight game and milked the clock to the tune of 34 minutes. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson also had a big game despite taking three sacks, throwing for 176 yards and two scores before leaving in the 4th quarter following a hit to his knee. He was replaced by backup Austin Burton, who didn’t throw a pass as the team the final ticks off.
An early fumble that gifted the Bruins points was a good sign that it just wasn’t ASU’s night. Freshman QB Jayden Daniels threw for 271 yards and three scores (rushing for 55 yards and another trip to the end zone) but it wasn’t enough as he was pretty much a one-man show for the most part in putting up most of his numbers when the game was out of hand. Eno Benjamin mustered just 46 yards on the ground while the defense gave up 27 first downs in the contest as they dropped their second in a row and play division leader USC next. It’s not often you win the turnover battle by +2 and get run out of the building but that’s exactly what the Sun Devils managed to do and will have to regroup quickly to put a stop to this recent slide.
UCLA however can celebrate this recent stretch as they continue to keep their slim chances for a bowl game alive at 3-5. They host Colorado next and end the year against in-state rivals Cal and SC (with a game against Utah sandwiched in there). Kelly’s team remarkably still has a shot at the Pac-12 South title and finally, at long last, are starting to show signs of taking steps forward rather than backwards in 2019.