The game in Tempe has been all Sun Devils. Arizona State at the break hold a 28-0 lead, much different than the last time they played the UTSA Roadrunners.
The Sun Devils received the ball, and the Herm Edwards era officially started. Well, it didn’t start exactly how Edwards would want, as the opening drive began with a delay of game penalty.
After that however, Edwards and Arizona State took full control of the first half. Manny Wilkins completed his first pass of the season to N’Keal Harry for a 21-yard gain to erase the penalty.
Later in the drive, Wilkins and Harry connected again on third-and-3. The screen pass to Harry looked to be swallowed up by a UTSA defender. N’Keal had other plans shaking him off, and much like a train chugged into the end zone for the 58-yard score.
On the Roadrunners second offensive play, quarterback Cordale Grundy wishes he could redo his first throw as a starter. Grundy looking at an underneath route never saw defensive lineman Shannon Forman drop into coverage. Forman picked off Grundy’s pass and stormed into the end zone.
And within two minutes of the Edwards tenure, the Sun Devils already had a 14-0 lead. The action in the first quarter slowed after the pick six. The teams traded punts back and forth before entering the second quarter.
Defensive tackle and captain Renell Wren opened the second quarter breaking into the backfield with ease on third-and-1 to create a punt. Linebacker Tyler Johnson also got a coverage sack on that drive, but a personal foul call on Chase Lucas gave UTSA a first down. Thanks to Wren the penalty didn’t bite the Sun Devils in the butt.
The theme of the first half for the Sun Devils was also penalties. The biggest coming on safety Jalen Harvey with 10:14 left in the second quarter. Harvey dove at a sliding Grundy leading to his disqualification from a targeting call. ASU finished the half with eight penalties.
The defensive line once again bailed out the secondary’s penalty. On third-and-11 at ASU’s 27-yard line, Darius Slade got to Grundy, creating a fumble and scooping it up for the Sun Devils second turnover of the game.
Wilkins and the offense turned the fumble into points. Kyle Williams brought in a a 21-yard reception as he was wide open on the right side of the field. The Sun Devils then chose to go for it on fourth-and-3 on UTSA’s 27-yard line.
Wilkins dropped a beautiful fade to Frank Darby, who managed to get a foot in bounds at the three-yard line. Eno Benjamin then cashed it in with 4:26 left in the half to put ASU up 21-0.
Arizona State took advantage of good field position on their last drive of the half. Starting at the UTSA 43-yard line after a short punt. On back-to-back runs from Benjamin and Wilkins for a combined 24 yards.
Wilkins then rolled out on third-and-10 to find Terrell Chatman battling with his defender in the back of the end zone. Chatman rose up and brought in the grab for ASU’s fourth touchdown of the night.
Wilkins finished the first half with 183 passing yards, going 13-for-19 and two touchdowns. Harry had 4 receptions for 93 yards with the touchdown. Benjamin had 100 yards on 11 carries with a long of 34.
Lucas had a sack, two tackles-for-loss and a pass break up. As a unit the Sun Devil defense held the Roadrunners to 76 total yards. Including 0.5 yards per carry, and making UTSA one dimensional by suffocating the run.
Grundy went 8-for-17 with 70 yards through the air, and added 10 yards on the ground. He was replaced late in the half by D.J. Gillins.
UTSA will receive the kickoff to open the second half.