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Stout ASU defense allows 7 points for 3rd-straight week in win over MSU

Arizona State's Chase Lucas, left, Timarcus Davis, center, and Jermayne Lole, right, celebrate after Michigan State missed a field goal during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

The Arizona State defense stayed true to form. In each of its first three games of the season, the defense surrendered just seven points to their opponents.

Against a ranked Big Ten opponent on the road in Michigan State, the final points allowed may carry more significance.

The Sun Devils pulled off a stunning comeback win in East Lansing, 10-7, on a late fourth-quarter touchdown plunge by Eno Benjamin after a drive-saving conversion by quarterback Jayden Daniels on fourth and 13 with just over a minute left.

ASU held the Spartans to just 9-for-17 on third down and forced only one turnover in the game, but the bend-but-don’t-break defense held Spartans kicker Matt Coghlin to three missed field goals and only one redzone score on three trips.

It wasn’t all pretty as the Spartans ran 75 plays to ASU’s 52, and MSU dominated time of possession 33:46 to 26:17. But big defensive plays by Evan Fields, Ashari Crosswell, Tyler Whiley and Khaylan Kearse-Thomas kept a goose egg on the scoreboard for the Sun Devils’ opponents through three quarters.

Neutralizing opponents coming off big games might be ASU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales’ new calling card.

The Sun Devils held Sacramento State to just seven points in Week 2 after they hung 77 on their Week 1 opponent.

Michigan State had just come off a 51-point output against Western Michigan in Week 2 before they were held to seven by ASU in Week 3.

The win could vault ASU into the AP Top 25 poll. The Sun Devils finished with the 35th most votes in the Week 3 version, but a win over a top-20 opponent on the road and losses by No. 21 ranked Maryland, No. 24 ranked USC and three other teams that received more votes than ASU last week could be enough to get the Sun Devils into the national polls.

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