Instant Recap: ASU football falls short in epic comeback attempt

Despite a near comeback from the Sun Devils, Texas Tech beat ASU on the final drive of the night

In a true air show between ASU and the Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0), the Sun Devils (1-2) came up short 52-45 in Saturday's contest. 

Despite starting at its own 35-yard line, ASU was unable to capitalize on its opening drive. An eight-play, 42-yard drive ended with a missed field goal from freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz.

After forcing TTU to go three and out, fans saw senior running back Demario Richard carry the ball for the first time since week one – not to mention an 18-yard run from Wilkins and a 17-yard run from sophomore wide receiver N'Keal Harry.

Despite multiple promising runs, the Sun Devils ultimately settled for a 44-yard field goal. 

ASU led TTU 3-0. 

With the Sun Devils showing promise after the first two drives, TTU’s senior quarterback Nic Shimonek came out and methodically moved the ball down the field completion after completion. 

About five plays in to the Red Raiders' second offensive possession, ASU senior line backer Koron Crump went down with a leg injury.

TTU took advantage of the lost pass rusher when junior wide out Keke Coutee caught a 12-yard touchdown with 4:25 left in the first quarter.

Unable to respond, ASU was forced to punt.

Shimonek did not waste any time finding the end zone again; he took the Red Raiders 72 yards on three plays. Capping off the touchdown drive with an 11-yard pass to senior wide receiver Cameron Batson. 

The dominance continued for the Red Raiders when they recovered a fumble after a low snap to Wilkins with 1:09 left in the first quarter. 

Shimonek and company responded by delivering a beautiful 29-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dylan Cantrell for a touchdown. 

TTU led ASU 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. 

Wilkins and the Sun Devils offense was bailed out time and time again by Red Raiders penalties on the first series of the second quarter.

Fortunately for ASU, the team was able to put up some points thanks to a three-yard touchdown catch by sophomore wide receiver Kyle Williams.

TTU countered by putting together a fast-paced eight-play, 75-yard drive that looked like a sure score.

However, junior running back Desmond Nisby lost the ball after reaching for the goal line. Redshirt junior safety Dasmond Tautalatasi recovered the fumble in the back of the end zone to give ASU possession with 9:24 left in the half. 

The Sun Devils capitalized on the turnover by putting together a nine-play, 80-yard drive.

Two impressive plays from redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Harvey assisted in the drive, finishing with a one-yard touchdown run by Richard at the 5:34 mark.  

Despite ASU’s offensive line putting the team in a good position to make a comeback, the defense could not catch a break.

On TTU’s ensuing drive, the Sun Devils couldn’t find a way to tackle the Red Raiders. Shimonek threw his fourth touchdown pass with 3:31 left in the half.

Junior running back Mason Reed was the recipient of the 10-yard pass.

The Red Raiders quickly regained possession after blocking ASU’s punt, and Shimonek continued his air assault by throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cantrell.

ASU trailed TTU 35-17 at halftime.

TTU bolted out of halftime looking to continue its dominance, but ASU’s defense stalled the Red Raiders' first drive of the second half, forcing Tech to fail on fourth and one. 

The Sun Devils took advantage by hitting on a 54-yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Kyle Williams. A few plays later, senior tailback Kalen Ballage scored a one-yard touchdown with 11:49 left in the third quarter.

Shimonek didn’t flinch at ASU’s early score, and manufactured another scoring drive of his own.

His sixth touchdown throw was a 28-yard dime to senior wide receiver Derrick Willies.

Desperate to keep up with TTU, Wilkins kept the Sun Devils in the game. A nine-play ASU drive concluded with a 21-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt freshman wide out Frank Darby.

ASU was still down TTU 31-42.

Finally, able to stop the Red Raiders from scoring a touchdown, the ASU defense forced TTU to settle for a 39-yard field goal. 

Wilkins continued to keep the Sun Devils in the game with the help of multiple big catches from Williams and Harry. A nine-yard touchdown pass from Wilkins to Williams got ASU within seven points with :37 seconds left in the third quarter.

TTU let the quarter end up 45-38.

Another Red Raiders drive without a touchdown officially gave ASU momentum. 

The Sun Devils kicked off their first drive of the quarter by driving the ball to the TTU 44-yard line, before being faced with a fourth and three. 

Wilkins did not hesitate to continue the air show of his own by throwing a couple of passes to Harry, one of which was a 21-yard score that tied that game at 45. 

The defensive resurgence continued for ASU as junior defensive lineman JoJo Wicker put an end to the TTU three-play drive with a sack. 

The Sun Devils took possession with 7:58 left in the game.

Wilkins and company mimicked the Red Raiders’ ugly drive by following suite with a punt of their own. 

Although TTU was struggling to show any offensive efficiency, Shimonek regained his first-half touch, leading his offense 90 yards down the field to take the lead.

Cantrell capped off the drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown with 1:55 left in the game. 

ASU trailed at 52-45. 

With 115 seconds left in the shootout, Wilkins needed to put the team on his back, but he took an ill-advised sack. Ultimately, putting the game out of reach as TTU won 52-45.

The Sun Devils (1-2) will return to their home field for the start of conference play against the Oregon Ducks (3-0) next Saturday.  


Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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