Sun Devils stave off New Mexico State to win opener
Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns, and halfback Kalen Ballage scored twice in the Sun Devils’ 37-31 victory over New Mexico State on Thursday in the season opener for both teams at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State transfer wide receiver John Humphrey, formerly of Oklahoma, caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Ballage rushed for 79 yards as the Sun Devils won their 19th consecutive home opener.
New Mexico State quarterback Tyler Rogers, the third-leading passer in school history, completed 40 of 57 passes for 398 yards. He had three touchdown passes and two interceptions.
Wilkins completed 22 of 27 passes, and his 60-yard scoring pass to Humphrey with 7:30 remaining in the third quarter for a 23-13 lead was the longest scoring pass of his career.
Ballage scored on a 20-yard run later in the third quarter, and cornerback Kobe Williams return an interception 49 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter to make it 37-13.
Aggies halfback Jason Huntley had a 50-yard touchdown run and on a 23-yard TD reception from Rogers in the fourth quarter, and Jaleel Scott scored on a 29-yard catch as time expired. New Mexico State put up the final 18 points.
Scott had eight receptions for 149 yards as New Mexico State outgained Arizona State, 549 yards to 400.
Wilkins completed his first nine pass attempts as the Sun Devils scored two touchdowns in the first seven minutes, and he was 10-for-10 when they scored 17 points in the third quarter.
Ballage opened the scoring on a 7-yard run after taking a direct snap to cap a 61-yard drive on the Sun Devils’ first possession.
Wilkins threw a 53-yard scoring pass to Jalen Harvey for a 14-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
Scott made a one-handed, leaping catch in the back left corner of the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Rogers early in the second quarter.
Rogers scored on a 1-yard run with 32 seconds left in the half to make it 14-13, capping an 89-yard drive.