The Sun Devils struck first on Eno Benjamin’s 11-yard touchdown run. Benjamin run through two different Cal players for the score. A pair of key plays helped created the scoring drive. Daniels found fellow freshman wide receiver Ricky Pearsall for a 38-yard catch. Offensive coordinator Rob Likens called a draw to Benjamin on third and eight to pick up a crucial first down in the red zone.
Cal immediately responded to even the game at seven apiece. Cal wide receiver Trevon Clark beat cornerback Chase Lucas to bring in a 45-yard gain from quarterback Chase Garbers. Clark and Garbers later connected 16 yards out for the touchdown.
The scoring in the first half stopped after that, although not because of not having the opportunity. Sun Devil kicker Cristian Zendejas missed both of his attempts from 37 and 50 yards out. One wasted the blocked punt by Timarcus Davis.
Garbers landed hard on his shoulder and left the game in the second quarter. Devon Modster filled in his spot, but made a mistake. With no timeouts remaining, Modster tried to move Cal down into field goal but took one last chance into the end zone. Safety Aashari Crosswell came over and picked it off in the end zone for the touchback.
Modster continued to play quarterback after halftime, in his first drive in the second half he didn’t throw a single pass. Cal moved a 12-play — all rushes — 63-yard touchdown drive finished off by a one-yard score by Christopher Brown Jr.
Similar to Cal’s answer to the call in the first half, Jayden Daniels and crew marched down the field to tie it up. Daniels tossed it just once on a 13-yard pass to Brandon Aiyuk. Benjamin scored his second touchdown and racked up 29 rushing yards on the drive.
In the fourth quarter, Daniels attempted to climb the pocket until he was sacked and lost the ball, Cal recovered. The Arizona State defense forced a three-and-out, Cal kicker Greg Thomas hit the 47-yard field goal to make it 17-14.
Benjamin said get on my back for the ASU fourth-quarter-touchdown drive. He had six rushes, including his third touchdown, on the 15-play, 75-yard drive that erased over six minutes off the clock.
Zendejas redeemed himself after the Sun Devils tried running down the clock. After Cal stopped ASU three times, using each of its timeouts, Zendejas booted a 43-yard field goal to make it a seven-point game.
In Cal’s last attempt, down 24-17, on fourth down Merlin Robertson brought the pressure on Modster.
Daniels went 14-for-24 for 174 yards, he also added 84 yards on the ground. On 29 rushes, Benjamin totaled 100 yards and his three scores. The leading receiver was Pearsall with one catches for 38 yards. Kyle Williams had four receptions for 26 yards. Robertson led the Sun Devils with 11 tackles and a half of a sack.
The Sun Devils will have a bye next week before hosting Washington State on October 12.