Willie Harts sprinted toward the end zone to give the Arizona State Sun Devils their final lead of the game. The pass from Florida State quarterback James Blackmon, which almost looked intended for Harts, was one of six turnovers forced by the Sun Devils.
Arizona State rode its defense to a 20-14 win in the Sun Bowl. Harts’ score was the only touchdown by the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils coughed up the ball twice, both by running back AJ Carter, starting in place for Eno Benjamin who sat out the game. Carter fumbled the first handoff exchange with Jayden Daniels to put the Semianoles in scoring position. Aashari Crosswell started the huge turnover day by picking off Blackmon in the end zone after Carter’s fumble.
Two other turnovers; Merlin Robertson’s sack fumble and Evan Fields’ interception led to two of Cristian Zendajas’ four field goals. On Florida State’s final drive, they started moving the ball until wide receiver Tamorrion Terry lost the ball on a tackle by Robertson to seal the win. Khaylan Kearse-Thomas also had an interception and Chase Lucas blocked a field goal.
For the most part the Sun Devil defense stood tall, rather than a few big plays and getting gashed at times on up-the-middle runs. A trick play pushed Florida State in position for the three-yard score for Ontaria Wilson. On the next third quarter drive, Terry burned Timarcus Davis for a 91-yard reception from Blackmon.
The Sun Devil offense struggled for most of the game, however they had two touchdowns taken off the board. A questionable penalty waved off a connection between Geordon Porter and Daniels. Frank Darby also caught a touchdown as it was ruled on the field, but replay overturned it despite it appearing Darby had a foot in.
This is the Sun Devils first bowl win since the 2014 season when they beat Duke in the Sun Bowl.