ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins: I left it all out on the field
There’s no doubt about it.
ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins would have liked to walk off the field one last time with a victory.
Especially a bowl game victory.
But although the Sun Devils couldn’t overcome the Fresno State Bulldogs, losing 31-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, the senior signal caller showed his true grit.
“I’m good, I left it all out there so that’s all I needed to do,” Wilkins said postgame with head coach Herm Edwards seated next to him.
The Bulldogs’ defense provided a tough task for Wilkins early on, picking off Wilkins to make it 10-0 in the first quarter.
But Wilkins kept with it, eventually making it 10-7 after connecting with Kyle Williams on the three-yard touchdown.
With the combination of Wilkins through the air and Eno Benjamin on the ground, the Sun Devils and the Bulldogs headed into halftime tied at 17-17.
The Fresno State defense picked up in the second half, however, making it difficult for Wilkins to get his offense in a rhythm. It would hold the ASU offense to just three points in the final two quarters.
Wilkins had one last chance to revive the comeback in the fourth quarter.
Starting on their own 36-yard line, Wilkins and the offense went to work, driving down to Fresno State’s 36-yard line.
Looking at a 3rd-and-10, Wilkins stepped back to pass in a collapsing pocket. As he threw, he was drilled by a Bulldogs defender, overthrowing his receiver for an interception.
To make matters worse, Wilkins went down with an apparent leg injury.
“I’m all right,” Wilkins said when asked about the injury. “Doctors said all the stuff with my knee checked out so we’ll go back and figure it all, but I can walk and everything so it’s all good.”
That would be the final play of his ASU career.
Wilkins finished the afternoon completing 19 of his 31 passes for 129 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Looking back at his career, Wilkins threw for 8,495 yards, 51 touchdowns and 21 interceptions and was over 63 percent passing in three seasons as the starter.
“These guys, Manny and the seniors, I told them I can’t thank them enough for setting the foundation of what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish moving forward,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said after the game.
And although his time as a Sun Devil quarterback has come to an end, Wilkins isn’t ready to hang it up just yet as he eyes the NFL.
“That’s the plan,” Wilkins said if he would be at the NFL Combine this year. “That’s the plan, God willing.”