Impact: ASU pulls off last-second upset in Pac-12 after dark

The Sun Devils are ranked for the first time since 2015

ASU football upset No.15 Michigan State Spartans 16-13 in a grueling, smash-mouth, old school game.

The Sun Devils extended their undefeated streak (10-0) against Big Ten opponents who visit Sun Devil Stadium. Sophomore kicker Brandon Ruiz was the star of the game, as he made all three of his field goal attempts from 49, 24 and 28 yards, the last being the game-winner as time expired. 


The Sun Devils defense had to keep themselves in check since the Spartans offense is known for their heavy run game. ASU pressured Michigan State’s redshirt junior quarterback Brian Lewerke into only throwing for 314 yards. The Sun Devils also only gave up one touchdown, while forcing an interception in the end zone.


The Sun Devils front seven stood strong, as they only gave up 63 rushing yards on 27 rushing attempts. Since implementing the 3-3-5 defense under defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales, the defense has allowed 65 total rushing yards.  

ASU’s offense recorded 424 yards as redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins had to find other weapons outside of junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry. MSU played Harry tight and double teamed him on occasion. 

Junior wide receiver Kyle Williams and sophomore running back Eno Benjamin took over as the go-to players for Wilkins.

MSU put together a strong final drive that almost sealed the deal, but the saving grace for the Sun Devils was freshman linebacker Merlin Robertson, who sacked Lewerke on back-to-back plays with less than seven minutes remaining in the game. 

Those sacks gave ASU one last drive to pull off the upset, and with the team being ranked No. 23 in the country, it's fair to say the Sun Devils were successful. 


No. 2 Clemson Tigers survive a late scare in College Station, Texas 

The No. 2 Clemson Tigers (2-0) went on the road to College Station, Texas to take on the Texas A&M Aggies (1-1). 

Clemson sophomore wide receiver Tee Higgins made a miraculous catch over an A&M defender and took it to the house, putting the Tigers up 14-3 before halftime. 

Graduate quarterback Kelly Bryant had to prove his worth to stay as the Tigers' quarterback. He completed 12 of 17 from the field for 205 yards and a touchdown. His counterpart, freshman Trevor Wallace, completed 5 of 9 from the field for 93 yards and a touchdown.   

Down 21-6, the Aggies sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond, put the team on his back and had the country watching his talent shine through the television screen. Mond threw for 430 yards, completed 23 passes and threw three touchdowns. 

With 50 seconds left in the game and the Aggies down by eight, Mond riffled a ball into traffic and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kendrick Rogers made a tremendous catch. The Aggies had to go for the two-point conversion, but they failed. 


The Tigers squeaked out the nail-biting win and will host the Georgia Southern Eagles (2-0) for family weekend Sept. 15. 

Pac-12 storylines: The Northern division is far better than the Southern division 

The North, led by the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal (2-0), No. 10 Washington Huskies (1-1) and the No. 20 Oregon Ducks (2-0) are three teams with legitimate chances to make the Pac-12 stronger in the polls. 

In the South, the No. 22 USC Trojans (1-1) have not looked as up to par as USC teams in the past. The Trojans struggled to put points on the board, as they only put up three points in their 17-3 loss to Stanford. 

The biggest surprise in the whole conference is how poor the Arizona Wildcats (0-2) have played with the Heisman hopeful, junior quarterback Khalil Tate, under center. The team has lost to the BYU Cougars (1-1) and the Houston Cougars (2-0) thus far. 

Tate has thrown for 538 yards with only one touchdown this season. Defenses have been able to mold their game plan around Tate, and the Wildcats have yet to respond.

Next week: No. 23 ASU football looks to stay undefeated against the San Diego State Aztecs (1-1) as the teams battle it out in San Diego on Sept. 15. 


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

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