ASU's variety of offensive players helped secure an upset victory against MSU

Kyle Williams and Frank Darby showcased their talent

The ASU football team faced a tough matchup on Saturday but pulled off a 16-13 upset against the No.15 Michigan State Spartans

Going into the game, the Sun Devils (2-0) knew that the Spartans would focus on junior wide receiver N'Keal Harry, with their number one junior cornerback Justin Layne lined up against the ASU star. 

That took away redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins' favorite target, but that didn't stop him from using the seven other options he had on the team. 

Wilkins completed 30-48 passes, going for 380 yards and finishing with a touchdown and an interception. Wilkins ran for 25 yards and had a big 12-yard run in the final three minutes of the game.

Junior wide receiver Kyle Williams and sophomore running back Eno Benjamin became the go-to punches in the passing game.

Williams finished with seven catches and 104 yards as he found himself in open spots of the field as the defense focused on Harry.

Benjamin also had a good day in the passing game as he recorded six catches for 54 yards off dump passes that pulled the defense to the sidelines instead of the inside the hashes.

"We have so many other weapons and we had so many guys step up tonight and they ended up being key at the end of the game," said Harry of his counterparts on offense.

On the final drive of the game, Wilkins found Benjamin on a check down throw and from there, it was all Benjamin. He caught the pass and found himself in the open field with help from his teammates blocking in front of him. 

"We knew that if we lined up Eno in the boundary, that linebacker was going to have to run with him," Wilkins said. "We made the perfect play call and coach (Rob) Likens called the perfect play. Rub for Eno and we put him in the flat, and that was the difference right there in the end of the game." 

Benjamin rushed for 12 yards on the final drive as he boosted his all-purpose yardage to 81 yards against a tough, defensive-minded Michigan State team. 

After the Spartans went up 13-3 with 3:15 left in the third quarter, the Sun Devils had to score before the final 15 minutes ticked away on the scoreboard. 

After a two-yard run by Benjamin, Wilkins found redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frank Darby for a 14-yard completion. As Darby evaded a tackle, he had his face mask pulled by a Spartan defender. His 14-yard gain turned into a 29-yard play to help ASU march down the field. 

Darby finished with two catches for 21 yards, with that catch being a huge positive for the Sun Devils with the ensuing penalty. 

Harry had his problems trying to get some space, but when he did, Wilkins found him. Wilkins threw a fade down the right sideline that fell perfectly into Harry's hands. Harry hauled it in for a 16-yard reception. 

The next and final play of the third quarter, Wilkins found another wide receiver. This time it was redshirt junior wide receiver Ryan Newsome. Newsome found himself open in the middle of the field for a perfect dime from Wilkins. 

Newsome went up to haul in the catch and protected himself from a possible big hit from a Spartan defensive back.

In the fourth quarter with the Sun Devil defense keeping the Spartans offense in check, the Wilkins-Harry connection was revitalized.

With 9:12 left in the game, Wilkins completed a quick two-play drive that resulted in Williams catching a 38-yard ball as he had no one around him, opening up the play for Harry.

With one-on-one coverage against Layne, Wilkins led Harry toward the left front pylon as Harry had a step on Layne. Harry caught the 27-yard pass, and he brought the crowd alive as he tied the game. 

In a game where he was the primary focus of the defense, the Sun Devil receiver showed up when his team needed him the most.

The Sun Devils were able to seal the Pac-12 after dark upset with a last second 28-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Brandon Ruiz

The victory was a statement for the program, and more than anything, it was a highlight of what some other talented offensive players can do for ASU, aside from the spectacle that is Harry. 

Next week the Sun Devils will head to San Diego to take on the San Diego State Aztecs (1-1) Saturday Sept. 15th at 7:30 PM MST.


Reach the reporter at sbemanue@asu.edu or follow @SebastianEman5 on Twitter. 

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