It’s homecoming night here at Sun Devil Stadium as the Arizona State Sun Devils trail the Washington State Cougars 17-14 at halftime.
For Arizona State, its been a matter of overcoming a bevy of injuries to bounce back from its pummeling on the road against Colorado last weekend.
ASU regulars who have not played or missed time:— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) October 23, 2016
FS Armand Perry
CB M Chandler
C AJ McCollum
LG Sam Jones
WR Tim White
QB Manny Wilkins
The Sun Devils’ offensive line, already without its starting left guard, Sam Jones (right foot), was forced to deploy a substitute at center in redshirt-junior Tyler McClure. This left ASU with two of its original five starters along the front to protect its already hobbled signal caller in Manny Wilkins (left ankle).
It didn’t seem to hamper the Sun Devils on their opening possession.
Aided by a 41-yard opening-kick return from Tim White, the Sun Devils scored on a three-yard run by Wilkins (5 of 6, 36 yards; four rushes, four yards, one touchdown) to take an 7-0 advantage.
The Sun Devils’ defense, which is lining up without starting field safety Armand Perry, started the game off well. Through the first quarter, ASU managed to hold the Washington State offense to 40 total yards, recording a sack and harassing Washington State starter Luke Falk (20 of 24, 161 yards, one touchdown) amidst inducing two three-and-outs.
Meanwhile, after suffering a sack at the end of the Sun Devils’ second series of the game, Wilkins was removed from the giving, making way for freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole to take over at quarterback.
Each of his first two series resulted in three-and-outs, missing on his two first two pass attempts during those sequences.
The Washington State offense appeared to finally find its rhythm when Falk offense when he drove the Cougars down inside the ASU 25-yard line, but the possession resulted in a field goal, leaving the Sun Devils with a 7-3 advantage in the opening stages of the second quarter.
On the Sun Devils’ ensuing drive, Sterling-Cole (2 of 5, 32 yards, 5 rushes, minus-2 yards) completed his first pass of the game—and his career—on a 12-yard pass to receiver Jalen Harvey. Three plays later, running back Kalen Ballage took a direct snap out of the Sparky formation 52 yards into the end zone, giving ASU a 14-3 lead.
The Cougars responded immediately, as Robert Taylor returned a Zane Gonzalez kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, the first return touchdown conceded by the ASU special teams unit this season.
With ASU leading 14-10 with 8:41 left in the half, it seemed as though the game was about become a shootout, however the Sun Devils were unable to answer.
The Cougars engineered an 11-play, 59-yard drive before scoring on a nine-yard touchdown strike from Falk to Tavares Martin Jr., giving Washington State its first lead of the night with just under a minute remaining in the half.
After converting in two third-down situations on its opening scoring drive, the ASU offense is 4 of 8 on the evening, compared to Washington State’s 3 of 7. The Sun Devils have recorded 162 total yards (91 rushing, 71 passing) on offense. The Cougars have tallied 155 (minus-6 rushing, 161 passing).
ASU’s defense has recorded five tackles for loss and three sacks (two by linebacker DJ Calhoun), while the Washington State defense has logged three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Tim White left the contest for several series before returning to the game, first only serving as a returner, then returning to offense as a receiver.
Manny Wilkins is considered questionable to return.