The Arizona State Sun Devils are in high spirits heading to Las Vegas.
Herm Edwards' first season as ASU head coach is being lauded as a success after the Devils finished the regular season with a better-than-expected 7-5 overall record and 5-4 mark in the Pac-12, including wins over a pair of ranked teams and a come-from-behind victory in the Territorial Cup game at archrival Arizona.
But the Sun Devils will have their work cut out for them when they face No. 21 Fresno State in the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 11-2 and coming off a win at Boise State in the Mountain West Conference championship game.
Who will get the victory in Sin City? Here are a pair of predictions for the Las Vegas Bowl, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. Arizona time Saturday on ABC15.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
Fresno State comes into the game as 4.5-point favorites -- but this will be the first game between these two teams since 1941, so there’s no familiarity between the two schools. ASU holds the all-time series lead at 3-0, winning all three games between 1931 and 1941.
Arizona State is looking to finish the season on a high note and wrap up an eight-win season, while the Bulldogs are looking for a school-record 12 wins.
My Prediction: Arizona State pulls off an upset. ASU 38, Fresno State 35
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
Fresno State might be the best defensive team the Sun Devils will face this season. The Bulldogs are allowing 13.7 points per game, tied for the second-lowest total in the country, and they have an NCAA-best 24-game streak of allowing 30 or fewer points. They're outstanding at keeping teams out of the end zone, as they've allowed an NCAA-low 24 trips inside their own 20-yard line.
ASU star wide receiver N'Keal Harry is terrific at finishing drives with touchdowns -- but he won't play in Saturday's game as he prepares for the 2019 NFL Draft. That puts a ton of pressure on sophomore running back and Pac-12 First-Team selection Eno Benjamin to carry the Devils' load.
Fresno State, however, is hardly an offensive juggernaut, and the Sun Devils' defense should help keep this game close. Ultimately, I think the Bulldogs will be a bit too much to handle for an ASU team that will be without its best player in Las Vegas. Fresno State 20, ASU 17