The ASU Sun Devils opened the season with a 49-7 blowout of UTSA, and it was what everyone would have hoped it to be. Head Coach Herm Edwards made his debut on the sidelines after nine years away from coaching. A game like this should build confidence that the team he put together may be able to compete in the Pac 12 conference.
Star quarterback Manny Wilkins lead the charge and the rest of the team followed his chip on the shoulder like play throughout the night. Wilkins finished 16/24 237 yards and four touchdowns. The mystery of how the running game would fare coming into the game was answered big by freshman running back Eno Benjamin who racked up 131 yards on 16 carries with an 8.1 yards-per-carry average.
After the game, Manny Wilkins raved about his new ball carrier “He was great tonight, good in protection as well, he didn’t look like a first time back out there” that can go a long way for the Sun Devils if Benjamin can keep up that pace and effort.
The night belonged to the star Heisman hopeful wide receiver N’Keal Harry, this kid is electric and seeing him up close in person, he is nothing short of a beast. Harry chipped in with 140 yards receiving on 6 catches and two explosive touchdowns.
Harry’s first touchdown was on the team’s first possession and just as you got comfortable in your seat, Harry was exploding down the center of the field catching a screen from Wilkins and taking it 58 yards.
His second score was even more electric, as he caught yet another quick receiver screen on the left side of the field and juked and bounced off would be tackles back to the middle of the field. Then, with his deceptive speed, raced to the right side of the field taking it to the house for a 31-yard score. Coach Edwards said of the run afterward “he had to have run 100 yards or so, I was like wow amazing”.
The team all agreed that they were a little sloppy after getting the 14-0 lead early and have much to correct. Star cornerback Chase Lucas said in the press conference “we have a lot to work on, as we know we can’t have so many mistakes with next week’s opponent coming in here”.
Overall, I would call this a good tune-up game and a game that shows that the Devils are good enough to beat soundly the teams they should beat. But next week starts the real test and we will see how coach Edwards makes his adjustments and handle a team he says, “oh they are going to run the football, and we have to be able to stop the run, we will see what we’re made of”.
One thing is for certain, get the ball in your super star’s hands as much as possible, N’Keal Harry will clearly be a high pick if not the first off the draft board, he is special.