Arizona State survived UTSA 32-26. What are the 5 Things That Matter About ASU’s close call?
Arizona State 32, UTSA 28: 5 Things That Matter
The ASU defense came through when it had to
The Sun Devil offense struggled way too much for three quarters, but the defense stepped up the pressure to finish with nine tackles for loss and keep Dalton Sturm under wraps just enough to allow the offense chances to come through in the fourth quarter. It helped that …
Manny Wilkins wasn’t great, but he was when he had to be
He completed 15-of-31 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, but for all the misfires, he was able to keep things moving at times with his legs running for 51 yards. When the Sun Devils needed to get within range in the fourth quarter, Wilkins threw a perfect pass to a wide open Frank Gammage for a 45-yard score to allow everyone to exhale. Still down three, ASU still needed the D to come up with one more big stop. It did, and Wilkins lead the way game-winning drive.
Dalton Sturm is a baller
The UTSA quarterback gave ASU fits. He only completed 19-of-37 passes for 229 yards, but he threw three touchdown passes to capitalize on his chances. He did way too much dancing, but he also managed to keep plays alive, but he was a one-man gang for the running game with 82 of the team’s 93 rushing yards with a score. The Roadrunners needed him to keep the game alive, and he did. They had a chance to go on a game-winning drive in the final moments, and while it didn’t happen, that UTSA was so close was because Sturm was the most dangerous player on the field.
One week later …
The ASU running game is Demario Richard’s again. Kalen Ballage might have been the national star after scoring eight times in the win over Texas Tech, but he was held to a tough 62 yards on 14 carries with the game-winning touchdown his lone score. But Richard is still the team’s most talented back, running for a solid 95 yards on 22 carries. There weren’t any big dashes, but the Sun Devils stayed alive with 205 rushing yards and wearing down UTSA as the game went on.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
Take it and move on, Arizona State. It might not have been the blowout the team might have wanted, and the offense didn’t blow up like it did over the first two weeks, but now it has an extra day to prepare for a home game against Cal – it survived, and now it should be able to rumble for a 4-0 start before going to USC.
UTSA is playing hard and playing well under Frank Wilson. It might be 1-2, but the defense has been terrific so far doing a great job against Colorado State and now Arizona State. Those might have been losses, but this is going to be one tough team to deal with throughout the Conference USA season.