ANOTHER ONE: 3 big takeaways from the Arizona State Sun Devils' comeback win against Cal

Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-25 02:07:37-04

The Arizona State Sun Devils earned some payback against the Cal Golden Bears and their quarterback Saturday night in thrilling come-from-behind fashion.

For the second straight game, ASU overcame a second-half double-digit deficit, turning a 24-10 halftime hole into a 51-41 win over Cal to improve to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in Pac-12 play. ASU overcame a 16-point second-half deficit at UTSA last week.

The Devils, who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007, paid Cal back for a lead they let slip away in Berkeley late last season -- and they also earned revenge on Cal QB Davis Webb, who beat ASU as a member of Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl three years ago.

Here are three big takeaways from ASU's huge win at home Saturday night.

1. Defense gets takeaways when it matters

In the days leading up to this game, ASU coach Todd Graham noted the importance of winning the turnover battle against the Golden Bears. 

When it mattered most, the Devils won that battle Saturday night.

After failing to force a single turnover during the game's first 3 1/2 quarters, the Sun Devils recorded back-to-back interceptions off Cal quarterback Davis Webb in the fourth quarter -- first by linebacker Salamo Fiso to set up a field goal that gave ASU its first lead of the game, and then this pick-six on Cal's next possession to seal the deal.

After being a Pac-12-worst minus-3 in the turnover department through their first three games, the Sun Devils stepped up in a big way late Saturday night, and it was the difference in the game.

2. Manny makes moves in second half

After struggling mightily last week at UTSA, redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins looked shaky once again during the first half of Saturday's game, completing just 5 of 10 passes for 62 yards and an interception.

It was a different, far more accurate Manny in the second half, as he went 16 of 20 for 228 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for three touchdowns, two of which came during the second half. 

Wilkins made better decisions than Webb, a senior, did during crunch time, and Sun Devil fans were reminded once again of his ability to be a special talent in Tempe.

3. Ballage returns, hurdles the competition

ASU received a scare early vs. Cal when running back Kalen Ballage went down with a knee injury and had to be helped off the field. ASU missed the offense generated by the junior, who scored a Pac-12-record eight touchdowns two weeks ago against Texas Tech.

Ballage made a surprise return in the fourth quarter -- and then, in an homage to Wilkins, who has already hurdled two defenders this season, he did this.

Ballage's return certainly energized ASU, and the fact that he appears healthy heading into next weekend's game at USC is absolutely huge for the Sun Devils.