2018 Sun Devil Bowl Guide

16 H Y U N D A I S U N B O W L | D E C . 2 9 , 2 0 1 7 A R I Z O N A S T A T E F O O T B A L L 2 0 1 7 B O W L G U I D E GAME 9 | 11 .4.17 SUN DEVIL STADIUM • TEMPE, ARIZ. COLORADO 30 ARIZONA STATE 41 Week in and week out this season, the resiliency of Arizona State’s football team has been tested. That toughness was measured once again on Saturday against Colorado, and yet again, the Sun Devils dug deep and battled back. This time it was to the tune of a 41-30 win, a victory that came despite trailing by a double-digit margin on three separate occasions throughout the night. That deficit was erased with a monster fourth quarter, one that saw Arizona State outscore the Buffaloes 24-3 in the final 15 minutes. Quarterback Manny Wilkins was on his game, hitting his targets late and keeping possessions alive early with some creative footwork. He ended the night with 297 total yards of offense (eclipsing his previous high) and three total touchdowns. The first of those scores came with just over five minutes left in the first half, as Wilkins and standout receiver N’Keal Harry teamed up to cut into an early 10-0 deficit. Wilkins put the ball where only his man could catch it and Harry did just that, adjusting to make the back-shoulder grab in the end zone. Colorado would go on to answer that touchdown with one of its own, but that paved the way for the Sun Devils’ most impressive drive of the night. With just one minute remaining in the opening half, the offense marched 77 yards in 54 seconds to cut the lead to 17-14 at the halftime break. Wilkins precision was on display during the drive, completing four of six passes in addition to a 14-yard scramble that picked up a first down. The last of those passes went 25 yards and found Kyle Williams in the back of the end zone, marking the sophomore’s fourth touchdown of the season. The game’s third quarter saw the visitors from Boulder go up by 10 points yet again, but the tough. Arizona State team started to build momentum as it chipped away at the Buffalo defense. That momentum ultimately boiled over in the final quarter, a comeback that started with a 37-yard field goal from Brandon Ruiz that made it a one-possession game. No less than five minutes later the Sun Devils evened things up, getting great field position on a blocked punt before running back Demario Richard scampered in for a five-yard touchdown run. That was Richard’s only score of the night, but he finished the evening with a career-high 189 yards on the ground. t was actually Richard’s backfield counterpart that ended up making the biggest run of the night. With just five minutes and change remaining, freshman Eno Benjamin twisted and bullied his way through the Buffalo defense for a 19-yard touchdown jaunt. The run and ensuing extra point answered a Colorado field goal and gave his team a 34-30 advantage, a lead that would never be relinquished. A one-yard touchdown run by Wilkins in the contest’s final minute put the game on ice, securing the team’s fifth win of the season and 600th victory in program history. Arizona State finished the night with an edge in total yards (583-454) and a major advantage on the ground, out- rushing their opponent 381-109.