(Photo: Brett Deckert/WCSN)
Ever since Brady White suffered a season-ending injury against UCLA, Manny Wilkins’ health has been thrust into the spotlight. After struggling through last week against Colorado but getting away relatively unscathed, Wilkins announced his return in a big way early in the first half tonight before being sidelined again.
A 59-yard opening drive that ended in a three-yard touchdown run by Wilkins was arguably ASU’s brightest spot of the first half, after which the Sun Devils find themselves trailing Washington State 17-14.
Before exiting the game with what appears to be a hand or arm injury, Wilkins looked like his old self. He ran the ball three times and completed all four of his passes. However, he lasted only one more drive before being replaced by Dillon Sterling-Cole. Wilkins’ status is uncertain, though it appears to be a hand or arm injury.
Sterling-Cole, a true freshman, looked like the inexperienced quarterback that he is, going just 2-for-5 for 32 yards. He was helped out by Kalen Ballage, who had a 52-yard run for the Sun Devils second score of the half.
The Sun Devils defense looked rejuvenated for parts of the half, sacking Cougars quarterback Luke Falk three times, including two from D.J. Calhoun. ASU ended up out-gaining WSU 162-155 although that was in large part due to the first drive and the Ballage run.
WSU scored on a field goal from kicker Erik Powell, a kick return for a touchdown and a Luke Falk touchdown pass to Tav Martin Jr. Falk completed 20 of his 24 passes but only had 161 yards to show for it.
ASU will have some work left to do if Wilkins is unable to return. Expect to see Ballage and Demario Richard have bigger roles out of the Sparky formation.