Something clicked for Brandon Aiyuk the last time ASU and Utah got together.
Entering that game, the first-year Sun Deil wide receiver had 11 catches for 178 yards in six games.
On that Saturday, he brought in six catches for 101 yards, his first time surpassing the century mark as a Sun Devil.
Aiyuk was a fixture in the passing game that day, and a catch early on in the game – a screen pass that went 31 yards – showed ASU wide receivers coach Charlie Fisher it could be a special day for the wide receiver.
“He showed what he shows all the time, that explosiveness,” Fisher said. “He broke two tackles, went down the sideline and that ignited us.”
The Sun Devils went on to earn their first victory against a ranked Pac-12 opponent and Aiyuk’s performance showed a glimpse of what was to come for him.
Most yards after the catch, FBS WRs, through Week 7:
DeVonta Smith, Alabama: 435
Brandon Aiyuk, Ariz St: 424
Tylan Wallace, Okla St: 397
Dante Wright, Colo St: 393
Whop Philyor, Indiana: 333
Omar Bayless, Ark St: 316
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: 301
— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) October 13, 2019
“I think back to that game because they like to talk about (the Utah defense) a lot,” Aiyuk said. “It’s pretty much the same guys, so I know (N’Keal Harry) had a great game. Eno was able to run the ball, so we’re looking to do those same things.”
Since that win against Utah, the wide receiver has surpassed 100 yards in four of his next nine games. He’s averaging 108.5 yards per contest, which is ninth in the nation, and leads the conference with 21 yards per catch.
“He reminds me of Torry Holt with his ability to run after the catch,” Fisher said. “He’s built like (former Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett), who I had at Vanderbilt. He was a dynamic receiver. Brandon and Earl are both built like running backs.”
The questions surrounding who would be the featured receiver now that N’Keal Harry was NFL-bound were quickly answered by Aiyuk, as he tries to build off his 198-yard, three touchdown performance in last week’s win against Washington State.
“He’s a very talented player,” Fisher said. “Talented players get better every week and he works hard, he wants to do good and likes to be coached. When you put all those elements together, you have a chance to be good.”