Manny Wilkins, ASU have the deep ball going vs. NMSU
Arizona State’s running backs weren’t finding holes, and the defense appeared to be a work-in-progress — ASU had a 249-217 yard disadvantage at the half — as a 14-0 Sun Devil lead after the first quarter evaporated.
But two big downfield plays kept the Sun Devils out in front Thursday before they pulled away for good in a 37-31 season-opening win against New Mexico State.
Wilkins finished 22-of-27 for 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
More than a third of those yards came off two downfield plays.
First, it was Wilkins finding receiver Jalen Harvey for a 53-yard score that took advantage of a defenseless middle of the field. The score midway through the first quarter gave ASU its two-touchdown lead.
— Sun Devil Football (@FootballASU) September 1, 2017
After the Aggies pulled within 14-13 at halftime, and after ASU kicker Brandon Ruiz hit a 52-yard field goal to give his team a four-point edge, Wilkins again struck with the deep ball, hitting receiver John Humphrey for a 60-yard pass that put Arizona State ahead 24-13 in the third quarter.
When in doubt, air it out!
Wilkins + Humphrey = 6 for @FootballASU! 💥
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 1, 2017
Coach Todd Graham’s team would add a Kalen Ballage rushing touchdown — his second of the night — before the end of the third quarter to score 16 straight points and build a 30-13 lead heading to the fourth.