Sun Devils Escape With 23-20 Win: Five Things We Learned

(Photo Courtesy: azcentral)

The Sun Devils had to regroup and reassess leading into their game against the UCLA. They were coming off one of the worst performances in the Todd Graham era the previous week in their 41-20. Not only that, they would be without starting quarterback Manny Wilkins, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the USC loss as well.

The score was 3-3 at halftime and was, well, quiet. Then it all changed when the 3rd quarter came around….

Here are five things we learned from the Sun Devils’ 23-20 win against the Bruins:

In-Zane in the Membrane: While there are always inconsistencies on a football team, the special teams unit has been particularly reliable in 2016, namely kicker Zane Gonzalez. The senior kicker is 13/14 for field goals on the year and became the FBS record holder for most fields goals in a career (89) after hitting a 46-yard field goal early in the 4th quarter to give the Sun Devils a 23-13 lead. He ended the night going 3/3 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points.

Air Brady: With Manny Wilkins out, redshirt freshman Brady White was at the helm for the Sun Devils on Saturday night. White and the offense struggled early, putting up just 63 yards in the team’s first 12 drives.

White got his feet under him and threw some impressive passes, specifically a dart to N’Keal Harry for a touchdown in the 2nd half. He ended the day with 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Next Man Up: White navigated the offense until he went down with an injury with seven minutes left in the game. True freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole burned his redshirt Saturday coming into the game. Sterling-Cole’s only snap taken was an interception, and then Kalen Ballage ran the Sparky formation for the remainder of the game.

Defense Closes The Door: The Arizona State defense gave up 444 passing yards to the Josh Rosen and Mike Fafual – Rosen was knocked out twice as well due to injury – but the Sun Devils showed up on the last drive. ASU sacked Fafaul twice and intercepted his last pass of the game to seal the 23-20 win.

Who’s Next? The Sun Devils head to Boulder to take on a much-improved Colorado team, who sits at 4-2 on the year. Will Wilkins be healthy enough to play? Will White for that matter? Will Dillon Sterling-Cole need to step up on the road to lead the Sun Devil offense? Coach Graham has seven days to figure that all out.