(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
In Arizona State’s 32-28 win over the University of Texas San Antonio on Friday, the team’s resilience was again on display.
Overall, the Sun Devils struggled on both sides of the ball, with missed tackles and allowing big plays on defense serving as the team’s main deficiency.
It was the Sun Devils first crack at playing on the road this season, on a short week no less, which could have played a role in the team’s slow start.
For the third consecutive week, the big play continued to be a thorn in the side of Todd Graham, but in this case, it was the rushing attack that caused problems. The team allowed eight plays of 10 or more yards, five of which came via the run.
Oddly enough, UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm accounted for a bulk of the production on the ground. He finished with 15 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
He added 229 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
In ASU’s case, it was a rough game for Manny Wilkins to start, but he made good on his first opportunity to bounce back.
He completed just 15 of his 31 passing attempts, but continued to take shots down field, compiling 264 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The rushing attack continued to play a key role in the offense, with Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard again shouldering the load.
The duo combined for 36 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.4 yards per carry behind an offensive line that again featured A.J. McCollum at center.
Zane Gonzalez kept the Sun Devils in the game when the offense lacked early on, capitalizing on four of his five field goal attempts.
After trailing 28-12 early in the third quarter, the Sun Devils took a 32-28 lead late in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 unanswered points in the second half.
A defensive stand on the last UTSA possession of the game sealed the deal for the now 3-0 Sun Devils, who continue to erase mistakes with plays when they mattered most.
ASU will return to Tempe next week to take on the California Berkeley Golden Bears.