Both teams stalled on their opening drives, but it was the Aztecs who were able to break through in a big way midway through the first quarter.
After the Devils pinned SDSU on their own 5-yard line with a terrific punt by redshirt sophomore Michael Sleep-Dalton, Penny found a gap in the line and exploded down the field for a 95-yard touchdown. It was SDSU’s third-longest running touchdown in school history and gave San Diego State a 7-0 lead.
The Sun Devils fired back: however, with an impressive 85-yard touchdown drive to tie the game a t 7-7 as time expired in the first quarter.
After the Aztecs jumped offside on third and seven - giving ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins a free play - Wilkins rolled out of the pocket and connected for a 29-yard strike to Kyle Williams down the left sideline to keep the drive alive. Wilkins then fired a 42-yard pass to redshirt freshman Frank Darby to the SDSU 1-yard line. Ballage then took a quick hand off into the end zone to equalize the game.
San Diego State didn’t take long to answer, as Penny took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to the house to regain the Aztec lead and move the score to 14-7.
While the Devils continued to force the ball into the hands of senior running back Kalen Ballage - often unsuccessfully - it was SDSU that had immense success utilizing its feature back Saturday night. As the game transitioned into the early seconds of the second quarter, Penny had already amassed over 200 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.
While the Sun Devils’ offense continued to sputter, the Aztecs efficiently marched down the field once again midway through the second quarter. Their drive ultimately stalled due to a couple key penalties that pushed SDSU out of the red zone and forced them to settle for a field goal, increasing the Aztec lead, 17-7.
The Devils opened up the playbook the next time they had the ball and it paid off with a seven-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that brought ASU within three at 17-14.
Wilkins completed four of five passes on the drive, including two for 15-plus yards and a beautiful touch pass to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to sophomore receiver N’Keal Harry.
The Devils attempted to get another long drive going before the end of the half but couldn’t escape own 20-yard line. Sleep-Dalton then lined up and shanked a punt, sending it just 12 yards and immediately putting the Aztecs in the red zone.
SDSU kicker John Baron II then nailed a field goal to extend the San Diego State lead to 20-14.
- Penny touched the ball 15 times on offense for 185 yards and 284 all purpose yards.
- ASU has 149 yards on eight catches. SDSU has received the ball five times for just 28 yards.
- SDSU has 198 rushing yards on 23 carries. ASU rushed the ball 17 times for 43 yards.