SportsSports Blogs Local


3 big takeaways from the Sun Devils' easy win in their season opener

Posted at 11:49 PM, Sep 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-02 02:50:34-04

The Herm Edwards train came storming out of the station and, for the most part, ran like a well-oiled machine through ASU's first game of 2018.

The Sun Devils made short work of visiting UTSA, defeating the Roadrunners 49-7 in Edwards' debut as ASU head coach. Here are three big takeaways from the Devils' victory in front of 50,188 fans at Sun Devil Stadium.

1. N'Keal is still the real deal

It doesn't hurt to have N'Keal Harry on your side. The junior is arguably the best wide receiver in the country, and it showed when he turned a short pass play into a 58-year touchdown reception for ASU's first score of the season, and added an incredible 31-yard reception in which he appeared to break at least four tackles in the third quarter. Harry had six catches for 140 yards for the game.

2. Eno does more than enough

The Devils' one-two running back punch of Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage is gone, paving the way for sophomore Eno Benjamin to take the reigns in the ASU backfield. The four-star rusher shined vs. UTSA, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and adding two catches for 15 yards and a score.

3. Too many penalties

Todd Graham, ASU's previous head coach, prided him team on avoiding mistakes, and it showed: The Sun Devils were often one of the least penalized teams in college football during his six seasons in Tempe.

But despite the easy victory, the Devils were far from mistake-free Saturday, committing 11 penalties for 95 yards. ASU never committed more than 10 penalties in a single game under Graham. Edwards was not happy about this following Saturday's win.

No, this wasn't an issue Saturday -- but ASU will need to be more disciplined against more competitive opponents, preferably starting next week when No. 11 Michigan State comes to town.


-Senior quarterback Manny Wilkins was his usual efficient self, completing 16 of 24 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing six times for 28 yards. With the game in hand, Wilkins sat out the fourth quarter.

-The defense was collectively outstanding, recording nine sacks -- the most in a single game for ASU since 2013.

-The Devils did get away with leaving some UTSA receivers wide open. ASU was the beneficiary from some errant throws and dropped passes. The Devils will need to clean that up next week.