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NMSU vs. ASU: Sun Devils lead Aggies 14-13 at halftime

The Sun Devils struck gold early, before struggling offensively to end the half.

New Mexico State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils began the 2017 season with a 14-13 lead over the New Mexico State Aggies at halftime on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Sun Devils scored less than four and a half minutes into the game after redshirt junior Joey Bryant caught an interception that setup a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended in touchdown via the sparky formation led by senior running back Kalen Ballage.

In Arizona State’s next offensive series, Jalen Harvey beat his defender, caught a Manny Wilkins pass and took off for a 53-yard touchdown, giving the Sun Devils a 14-0 lead.

Arizona State was first stopped on its third drive when Wilkins was sacked by Bradley Stody on the New Mexico State 28-yard-line and then threw an incomplete pass directed towards Nick Ralston. After an NMSU minus four-yard drive, the Sun Devils went three and out again near the beginning of the second quarter.

The Aggies then struck gold with an incredible 16-yard touchdown connection from Tyler Rogers to Jaleel Scott in the back corner of the end zone less than four minutes into the second quarter making the game 14-6. JoJo Wicker then blocked the extra point. After their longest previous drive of just six plays, the Aggies exploded for a 13-play, 89-yard drive that shaved off four minutes from the clock.

The Sun Devils then punted from their own 34-yard line after failing to score for a third drive straight. Michael Sleep-Dalton punted 51 yards to the Arizona State 15-yard line.

Midway through the second quarter, Rogers and NMSU drove down to the 46-yard line, before the Sun Devils stopped the Aggies and received the ball at their own 21-yard line.

Arizona State’s drive ended on 4th and fifteen near midfield. The Aggies then took over from their own 11-yard line setting up their second score.

In two and a half minutes, the Aggies drove down the field 89 yards once again for a touchdown when Rogers scrambled and dove into the end zone. The drive was sparked by a 38-yard pass from Rogers to Scott. The Aggies elected to kick an extra point, rather than a 2-point conversion, and trailed 14-13 with 32 seconds left in the half.

On the last drive of the half, Ballage returned a kickoff 51 yards to the New Mexico State 38-yard line. The drive ended in a 56-yard field that was missed by freshman Brandon Ruiz.

Notable Statistics

Wilkins started the game going nine for nine with 142 yards until he threw an incomplete pass in his third series.

NMSU running back Larry Rose III led all rushers with 51 yards on 11 carries. Ballage totaled 49 yards on 10 carries.

Scott led all receivers with 69 yards on four catches and a touchdown. N’Keal Harry sat behind him with 51 yards on four catches.

Koron Crump had two sacks.

NMSU linebacker Dalton Herrington led all defenders with seven tackles.

Notes

This is the third time in a row Arizona State has led by just one score at halftime in a season opener. The Sun Devils led Northern Arizona 10-3 at halftime in 2016 and Cal Poly 21-14 in 2015.