We are now 60 minutes into the 2016 college football season. The Sun Devils didn’t look as sharp as fans would have liked during their 44-13 win over Northern Arizona, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t players who stood out throughout the contest.
Below, we acknowledge which players earned our game balls for their performances.
Armand Perry, S (No. 13)
Perry let it be known before the game even started that he was excited to go, and that energy translated into activity on the field. The redshirt sophomore was every where Saturday, particularly against the run, as he was asked to roam into the box and help fill potential running lanes.
Perry finished with six tackles (four solo, one for loss), including a fourth-and-1 stop that stalled a Lumberjacks drive on the ASU 16-yard line on NAU’s opening possession.
Renell Wren, DL (No. 95)
Wren did well in the trenches, holding his own and making his presence felt both in the pass and run game. He laid waste to a Lumberjacks guard on several occasions, including during this tackle for loss in the first quarter.
Wren finished with four tackles (two for loss) and appears to be a nice complement to junior Tashon Smallwood on the interior defensive line.
D.J. Calhoun, LB (No. 3)
Calhoun tallied a team-high seven tackles (one for loss) as well as the team’s lone quarterback hit during a play defensive end JoJo Wicker cleared out an interior lineman, allowing Calhoun to burst through an open rush lane.
With the absence of linebackers Christian Sam and Salamo Fiso, Calhoun stepped up for the unit, displaying the versatility, speed and violence ASU has come to expect out of him. Amidst now maintaining a defined role, Calhoun looks comfortable and ready to lead the position group this season.
Manny Wilkins, QB (No. 5)
Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey played to Wilkins’ strength—his mobility—during Saturday night’s contest. In his first career start, Wilkins rushed for a team-high 89 yards on 14 carries (6.4 yards per carry) and scored on his first series.
He managed the game well too, completing 20-of-27 passes for 180 yards against one interception.
His game-breaking hurdle may have been the most memorable highlight of the game, but the potential his skill set induces the offense with is something to certainly be positive about moving forward.
Tim White, WR/RET (No. 12)
“El Tim Blanco” led the team in receptions (9), yards (95) and targets (10) during the contest. He reminded viewers why he’s such a dynamic athlete, reeling off several big plays against the NAU defense and special teams units.
The fight with which he ran with was especially impressive, as White seemed to shake off defenders and fall forward for extra yards throughout the evening. So much ASU head coach Todd Graham called him a “warrior” after the game.