2018 Sun Devil Bowl Guide

7 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 1 | 8.31 .17 SUN DEVIL STADIUM • TEMPE, ARIZ. The Sun Devils eased past the New Mexico State Aggies for a 37-31 win. The victory was the program’s 19th straight in a home openers - good for the fifth- longest streak nationally. Quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns to lead Arizona State, while senior Kalen Ballage added a pair of scores on the ground in the winning effort. The first of those touchdown scampers came on the Sun Devils’ first possession of the night. After quickly marching down the field, Ballage took the snap himself out of the Sparky formation and ran seven yards for the initial touchdown of the season. Arizona State kept the heat on in its next drive, a possession that lasted all of 24 seconds. A 53-yard touchdown pass from Wilkins to Jaley Harvey not only marked the longest touchdown pass of his career (a mark he would go on to break later in the game), but also gave the Sun Devils a 14-0 lead at the completion of the first quarter. After New Mexico State (0-1) tightened things up with a 13-point second quarter, the home team responded with a dominating third stanza to put the game out of reach. Freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz got the second half scoring started with his first made field goal in maroon and gold, a 52-yard bullet that easily made its way through the uprights. It was just 60 seconds after Ruiz’s field goal when the Sun Devils extended their lead to double digits at 23-13, striking quickly on a 60-yard pass from Wilkins to receiver John Humphrey. Ballage then tallied his second score of the evening with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter, putting his team ahead by 17 with a 20-yard touchdown run. The running back finished the night with 79 yards on the ground and 10 through the air. Arizona State’s final touchdown of the night came with just under 14 minutes remaining as sophomore Kobe Williams intercepted an errant pass and took the ball back 49 yards to the end zone. The Sun Devils were penalized just once on Thursday, limiting their total penalty yards to just 10 as opposed to the Aggies’ tally of 59. Humphrey (123 yards) and sophomore N’Keal Harry (69) shined in the passing game, bringing in seven and six catches, respectively. NEW MEXICO STATE 31 ARIZONA STATE 37

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