To say the Arizona State Sun Devils struggled in the first half of its first road game against the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners would be an understatement, as UTSA ended the first half with a 14-12 lead.
After Zane Gonzalez knocked in a career-high 54-yard field goal, the Roadrunners marched 75 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown catch from Aron Taylor.
After Arizona State and UTSA traded three-and-outs, last week’s superstar Kalen Ballage was anything but. The junior running back attempted to field a bouncing punt, failed to do so, and the Roadrunners pounced on the opportunity. The Roadrunners needed just three plays to go 15 yards, finished by Jalen Rhodes’ 11-yard catch.
The bad times then kept rolling for the maroon and gold. After what looked like a long-range bomb from Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry was called back by a holding penalty, Wilkins was intercepted by UTSA defensive back Nate Gaines.
The Sun Devils struggled to tackle throughout the half, and it led to various large gains after contact. UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm broke several potential tacklers behind the scrimmage on numerous occasions, rushing for 20 yards on two attempts in the first half.
Arizona State remained within striking distance thanks again to Gonzalez, who banged in another 54-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the half to cut UTSA’s lead to 14-6. Gonzalez became the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer after his second field goal.
Wilkins struggled to find his rhythm in the first half, starting just 4-of-12 for 67 yards. The Roadrunners did a solid job of bottling up ASU’s ground game as well. The Sun Devils totaled just 87 yards on 18 carries.
However, Wilkins ended the half on bang. He found Harry down the left-hand side for a 27-yard touchdown. ASU attempted a two-point conversion but failed.