Impact: ASU football takes care of business in Herm Edwards' debut

Sun Devil football is off to a good start with Michigan State coming to town this Saturday

The newest era of ASU football began with a 49-7 win over the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners during the first game of the season.

The Sun Devils came out of the gate looking to push the tempo and it showed in the very first drive. Redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins found his favorite target in junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Harry had two receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown to put the Sun Devils on top 7-0 early.

Harry finished with 140 yards and two touchdowns as he made an early case for being the best wideout in college football. 

The offense was balanced with sophomore running back Eno Benjamin having his moments to exploit the Roadrunners' defense. Benjamin bounced off tackles and recorded his first 100-yard game as a Sun Devil, finishing with 131 yards and two touchdowns. 

UTSA (0-1) struggled to find any positives over the night as they featured two quarterbacks, senior D.J. Gillins and junior Cordale Grundy. The team finished with two rushing yards with the Sun Devil defense swarming into the backfield.

ASU’s defense instituted a 3-3-5 defense over the offseason. The team's new system recorded nine sacks on Saturday, and ASU forced three turnovers. For ASU fans, a lot of positives could be taken out of the first game of a new era. 

Up next, a taller task will be at hand when the Sun Devils host Michigan State. Come Saturday night, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 will clash in a power-five showdown in Tempe.

Big Ten Storylines: No. 13 Penn State and No. 15 Michigan State fend off early upsets

ASU will host the No.15 Michigan State Spartans (1-0) Sept. 8 at 7:45 p.m. on ESPN. The Spartans had a nail-biting 38-31 win over the Utah State Aggies (0-1) on Friday. 

Sophomore running back Connor Heyward had the game-winning score for the Spartans with two minutes left in the contest, making the game one of many intriguing college football match-ups in the Big Ten and the Pac-12. 

The Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0) avoided an early upset on the 11-year anniversary of the last Appalachian State upset over a Big Ten team. 

The Nittany Lions squandered a 14-point fourth quarter lead and fans grew tense in Happy Valley. Penn State, led by Heisman hopeful senior quarterback Trace McSorley, pulled off a game-tying drive with less than a minute left in the final quarter to force overtime.

Penn State scored first in OT on a rushing touchdown by junior running back Miles Sanders. Sanders took over for former Penn State star Saquon Barkley, who is now in the NFL with the New York Giants. 

Then it was Appalachian State’s turn to try and relive history. After converting on fourth and one, the Mountaineers took a chance at the end zone from the 15-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas missed his intended target in the end zone, and the Nittany Lions intercepted the ball to stop the upset. 


Pac-12 Storylines: Newest Pac-12 coaches struggle in their debuts 

The Pac-12 conference saw five new coaches enter the conference as head coaches this past Saturday. Those schools were UCLA (Chip Kelly), ASU (Herm Edwards), UA (Kevin Sumlin), Oregon State (Jonathan Smith) and Oregon (Mario Cristobal). Only Oregon and ASU won in their head coaches' debuts. 

UCLA lost to Cincinnati 26-17, and UA could not complete a come-from-behind win and fell to the BYU Cougars 28-23. Oregon State had the toughest start to its season, as they went to the Horseshoe to face the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes. Even with a rain delay to cut some OSU momentum, the Buckeyes trounced the Beavers 77-31. 

With ASU and MSU set to square off at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, the date between a Big Ten and a Pac-12 foe will surely be a marquee matchup.


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

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