ASU football suffers 28-21 loss in Boulder

The Sun Devils picked up a loss and some bruises in Colorado

With big implications in the Pac-12 South standings and while looking for their first road win of the season, the ASU football team sustained a 28-21 loss and some bruises along the way on a Saturday afternoon against Colorado.

To ASU's dismay and for the third time this season, the team suffered its third road loss by a touchdown. Although the games have been tight, ASU has still found themselves on the wrong side of the eight-ball.

"Another disappointing loss on the road. We seem to fall short," ASU head coach Herm Edwards said. "I thought we had some momentum early and we came out, we got points on the board and from there ... Opportunities present themselves, and they (Colorado) capitalized on the opportunities when we did not, and that's what the game boils down to." 

While the game was disappointing for the Sun Devils in itself, there were some other things to dissect from the contest. Specifically, a couple of plays on two ASU standouts that probably had Sun Devil fans grimacing.

First off was a hit on junior wide receiver N'Keal Harry on a punt return. Harry received the punt, made a couple of moves up the field, then was leveled by Colorado senior linebacker Drew Lewis.

Harry seemed fine after the hit, but his role in the second half of Saturday's game was limited. There was no official word on the standout receiver's status, but redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins shed optimism on the situation, and mentioned that Harry could only chomp at the bit to play in the second half.

"The kid wanted to be out there so bad," Wilkins said. "Somebody just has to show him the reality of it that if you are pretty hurt, that you can't do what you do, and it's not worth going out there and hurting yourself more. He wanted to come out there so bad, but that's just the drive and the fire in him. I am sure he will be okay though."

The second play that occurred happened late in the fourth quarter to Wilkins himself. On a third and seven, Wilkins had pressure in his face, and he was collapsed on by a number of white and black jerseys. The hit was gruesome, and the veteran quarterback walked off the field under his own power, but not without a grimace.

No official prognosis has been put on a specific injury or anything along those lines, but when asked if the fierce competitor would be able to step back out on the gridiron, Wilkins responded: "Yup, sure would have."

As for the actual play on the field, ASU led at various points throughout Saturday's game, but they weren't able to slam the door on the Buffaloes. Colorado sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. had all four of the Buffs touchdowns, with two rushing and two receiving scores.

He was a handful for the ASU defense all afternoon, and the NFL-caliber wideout was ultimately the thorn in the side of the Sun Devils. 

ASU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frank Darby hauled in his first touchdown grab of the season for ASU's offense, and the run game led by sophomore running back Eno Benjamin, helped sustain drives for the Sun Devils in the first half. Benjamin had 28 carries for 120 yards in a workman-like effort.

Nonetheless, the CU defense scoped in on Benjamin in the second half, and his runs were limited as the Buffs tried to dismount the agile runner.

"I think Colorado at halftime, they made an adjustment," Benjamin said. "...They started bringing a lot of corner blitzes that we weren't seeing. They were on the opposite side."

In addition to focusing on the run, Colorado also came up with a goal line stop that changed the tides heading into the fourth quarter. After a 72-yard completion to Darby to put ASU down near the goal line, the Sun Devils were stuffed on four straight plays that included a couple of incomplete passes and a sack of Wilkins. 

The Buffs got the ball back, and they were able to fend off ASU for the remainder of the game. 

"We kick the field goal down there, and we are still down four points," said Edwards of going for it on fourth down near the goal line. "We still got to score a touchdown. I just felt like at that point ... I am going for it. If we are going to win a game and we are going to beat them, you got to make it on fourth and two when you are down there."

Following another tightly-contested road loss, ASU will have a bye week before hosting No. 14 Stanford at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 18. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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