ASU football fell seven points short of taking the Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0) to overtime on Saturday. Although the Sun Devils (1-2) fell short in their comeback attempt, ASU fans can move on knowing that this team has a few high-caliber players.
TTU stormed out of the gates and took a 21-3 lead early on in what was one of the most one-sided first quarters in recent memory. Red Raiders’ senior quarterback Nic Shimonek and company tallied 178 total yards compared to ASU’s 69.
Shimonek tore up the Sun Devils’ secondary as he threw for 543 yards and six touchdowns. The worst part of the air assault was the fact that it wasn’t just one receiver taking over the game. TTU had four wide receivers with five or more catches, and two of which had over 160 receiving yards.
A determining factor in the lack of ASU defense was the fact that senior devil backer Koron Crump left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury.
After the loss, head coach Todd Graham said he didn’t have any update on Crump’s injury. However, Graham did make it known that his offense showed up for a dog fight.
“We had a breakout game we needed offensively. We weren’t able to slow them down at all,” Graham said.
As a whole, the Sun Devils put their defensive backfield’s inexperience on full display, but the ASU offense did the same to the Red Raiders.
There was lot that went right for the Sun Devils, redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins for example.
Wilkins threw the ball for 326 yards and three touchdowns. His 65.9 percent completion percentage was thanks to sophomore wide receivers N’keal Harry and Kyle Williams.
The unexpectedly dominating duo combined for 20 of Wilkins 27 completions. Not to mention the 259 receiving yards and three scores they added.
Wilkins acknowledged Harry’s undeniable presence on the field.
“He’s a man amongst boys out there,” Wilkins said.
If it weren’t for Harry’s 21-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, TTU would’ve halted ASU comeback attempt.
Due to the fast-paced nature of the two offenses there was little display of the teams’ ground attacks. Although neither team relied on its running backs, the Sun Devils finally found somewhat of a rushing attack with the return of senior running back Demario Richard.
ASU racked up 168 rushing yards on 44 carries, outing its combined total of week one and two.
Throughout the showdown it became clearer and clearer that the winner of the game would have to score in a way that would keep the opposing team from having enough time to make a run.
That’s exactly what TTU did with their final score coming with 1:55 left in the game.
Despite the heart-stabbing loss the Red Raiders handed to the Sun Devils, Graham was pleased with the way his team performed.
“Overall, loved the fight they had in them … everybody on (the) sideline was into it and convinced we were going to win,” Graham said.
*All statistics were retrieved from espn.com.