I don't know about you, but I really like this Manny kid.
Does he make perfect throws every time? No. Does he seem a little jittery in the pocket? Sometimes, but he shares both those qualities with just about every first-year quarterback in history.
What I love about Manny Wilkins so far is that he doesn't seem rattled by the moment. Two weeks in a row, ASU has been down and the offense appeared stagnant at times. Both games, Wilkins appeared to stay calm, collected, and efficient in double-digit comebacks.
Wilkins finished the game with with only one interception (made on a spectacular grab), four total touchdowns (three rushing, one passing), and spread the ball to eight different receivers.
Running Backs: B-
Neither Kallen Ballage nor Demario Richard finished with over 100 yards and the California defense did a decent job of keeping those two in check all night.
I give this grade at least a B- just out of sheer happiness that Ballage came back into the game after halftime when it seemed like he sustained some sort of serious leg injury in the first half.
I expected a little bit more out of these guys going up against a poor rush defense like the Golden Bears have.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A-
Kody Kohl did what he did best (be a fantastic run blocker), Tim White looked good since coming back from injury, but it was the emergence of Jalen Harvey that stood out to me most with five catches for 83 yards. It's tough not to get excited about the kind of tandem that Harvey and N'Keal Harry could develop into at ASU.
Eight different receivers for 290 total yards and a touchdown. That kind of production out of this group deserves an A.
Offensive Line: B+
Great fourth quarter performance from this group. Four sacks given up in the first three quarters were followed up with a shutout in the fourth quarter and ample time for Wilkins to lead ASU on three scoring drives.
Two of the big question marks coming into the season was the secondary and the offensive line, but so far the offensive line has been the most improved group. We will now see how they fare after facing some real tests in the upcoming weeks.
Defensive Line: C-
The simple draw play was way too successful for California to make me feel good about this group tonight. The only sack to come from the line was from Edmond Boateng and there wasn't much pressure from line throughout the game outside of Koron Crump blitzing on the outside.
As mentioned previously, Crump proved to be a dangerous pass-rusher for the Arizona State defense after finishing the game with two sacks and a fumble to seal the game in the fourth quarter.
Salamo Fiso came back from off-the-field issues with an interception late in the game when the Sun Devils desperately needed a stop. Fiso, Crump, and D.J. Calhoun seem to be crucial cogs in the Sun Devil linebacker corps and if they are all working in sync with one another, I feel good about the group moving forward.
An A+ after 478 yards and five touchdowns to Davis Webb and letting two different receivers finish with 100 yards each? Yep.
In the first half, receiver Chad Hansen was absolutely dominating Kareem Orr, but credit to Orr for some second-half magic because he made Hansen disappear.
Hansen in the first half: eight catches for 104 yards. Hansen in the second half: two catches for six yards.
That kind of adjustment coupled with the pick-six by Laiu Moeakiola in the fourth quarter receives an A+ because without those two factors, Arizona State is losing this game.
Special Teams: A+
Matt Haack was in the zone, averaging over 50 yards per punt. Wilkins chipped in with some quality pooch kicks of his own. ASU didn't fumble on a punt return and Zane Gonzales continued to be the best kicker in the conference and quite possibly the country.
All in all, a great performance out of this group.