Sun Devils close Graham era with dud in Sun Bowl loss
EL PASO, Texas — North Carolina State’s offense came up big in a Sun Bowl matchup that was supposed to be about defense.
Nyheim Hines had three of North Carolina State’s Sun Bowl-record six rushing touchdowns to help the Wolfpack beat Arizona State 52-31 on Friday. Hines’ three scoring runs were all from 5 yards.
“It just really goes to show how great our offensive line is,” Hines said. “I’ll definitely have to treat them when I get back to Raleigh.”
Hines was named the game’s MVP. He helped the team score on four of five first-half possessions to fuel the rout.
Hines finished with 72 yards on 16 carries for North Carolina State (9-4). The Wolfpack played in their fourth consecutive bowl game and sixth in seven years under coach David Doeren.
“Top 25 (in the College Football Playoff rankings) is the standard we want for this program,” Doeren said.
The Sun Devils put up 31 points, but their ‘D’ had trouble stopping NC State in a Sun Bowl loss today. pic.twitter.com/5gcGOuWlUC
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) December 30, 2017
Reggie Gallaspy added 79 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries for the Wolfpack, Ryan Finley completed 24 of 29 passes for 318 yards and a score, and Stephen Louis had three catches for 115 yards.
Arizona State (7-6) played its final game under fired coach Todd Graham, with former NFL coach Herm Edwards taking over the program. The Sun Devils had four turnovers.
“I don’t think we’ve turned the ball over four times all year,” Graham said. “But give them a lot of credit. They’re a very good football team. We just couldn’t stop them.”
Manny Wilkins was 25 of 40 for 352 yards and three touchdowns for the Sun Devils. He also threw three interceptions.
N.C. State played without defensive end Bradley Chubb. Chubb, a projected top-10 pick in the NFL draft, announced before the game that he wouldn’t play. It marked the second year in a row that the biggest star at the game didn’t play. Last year, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey skipped it.
THE TAKE AWAY
Graham called the plays Friday. It wasn’t a great showing for him. The offense was unable to run the ball. ASU had 469 yards of offense, but 21 of their points came in the fourth quarter.
CHUBB SITS OUT
N.C. State’s Chubb, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, announced Friday morning he wouldn’t play. “I just let them know that the decision I made is not anything about them,” Chubb said in a CBS interview. “It’s just looking out for myself. They all understood.”
AND ANOTHER ONE
Arizona State played without one of its leading tacklers, linebacker Christian Sam, who also sat out to prepare for the draft. Jay Jay Wilson had 13 tackles, but ASU missed Sam. The Sun Devils allowed 491 yards of offense. The Wolfpack ran 73 plays and had a 9:00 edge in time of possession.
The 42 points scored in the fourth quarter set a Sun Bowl record for points in a quarter. The 45 points in the second half tied a game record, and the 83 total points was the second most in game history.
BY THE NUMBERS
Arizona State is 14-15-1 in bowls and 3-2-1 in the Sun Bowl. Running back Demario Richard had 50 yards to become the first ASU runner with multiple 1,000-yard seasons since 1974-75.
Edwards takes over the Sun Devils, and he’ll have two new coordinators. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennet declined to return next season, and the team hired San Diego State defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales to replace him. ASU already had promoted quarterbacks coach Billy Napier to the role of offensive coordinator, but then Napier left to become the head coach at Louisiana. The team’s new offensive coordinator will be Rob Likens, who was the wide receivers coach. The Sun Devils will open the next season at home Sept. 1 against UT-San Antonio.
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