There were mistakes made on both sides of the ball, but redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins' offensive contributions enabled the team to have formidable offensive success.
In total, Wilkins tallied 237 passing yards on 16 completed passes.
“I’m really, really proud of how are team played,” Wilkins said. “We made a lot of mistakes, but those can get cleaned up.”
Wilkins and junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry got the scoring started as Wilkins completed a 58-yard pass to Harry who charged the ball into the end zone.
“At times we lost our composure," head coach Herm Edwards said. "But it didn’t affect us. We were fortunate enough to make enough big plays to counter that.”
The aforementioned play was one of those "big plays," and Wilkins was the catalyst in that case and in many others. Additionally, as one of the team’s captains, Wilkins always plays a role in helping the entire team to succeed, whether it’s through his play, or his ability to motivate his teammates.
“We go out there and we see the defense get a pick-six. That is awesome for an offense to know that you have a defense out there that’s trying to take the ball away, and they’re taking the ball away,” Wilkins said. “They did a really good job, like I said I was very impressed with them.”
There was a lot of a lull in the offense during the second quarter, but once again, Wilkins was the one to get things started.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Terrell Chatman managed to catch a touchdown with 32 seconds left in the second quarter, as Wilkins threw him an 11-yard pass, which found Chatman already in the back of the end zone.
To start the third quarter, Wilkins hurled a pass to Eno Benjamin for another touchdown.
At this point, ASU had a 42-0 lead over UTSA, but the Sun Devil offense did not take that as a cue to stop.
“This team feeds off of each other a lot,” Harry said. “I feel like we were clicking not just offensively, but defensively. Our linemen were doing a great job tonight opening up a lot of holes. We were running the ball very well. Our running backs did a great job so it was really just feeding off of each other, the whole team.”
Wilkins threw another long 31-yard pass to Harry, who then scurried into the end zone for the second time that game.
“They’ve got a great feel for each other,” Edwards said. “N’Keal knows when Manny leaves the pocket. Manny can buy time in the pocket. He does a nice job of sliding in and making some time and N’Keal will find a way to get open.”
Wilkins managed to meet, if not succeed, the expectations placed on him for ASU’s first game of the season. With him at the wheel, the Sun Devils have a leader that can enable others to perform, as well as perform himself.
As far as what comes next, Wilkins is determined to keep improving prior to ASU’s game against Michigan State next week.