If you can’t have Frosted Flakes for breakfast, what do you have? If you are Florida State, you have turnovers; six of them, in fact. They cost the Seminoles scoring opportunities in critical points of the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, as Arizona State held on for a 20-14 win in El Paso Tuesday.
ASU Beats FSU In Sun Bowl
The turnover festivities started early for both teams. Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels fumbled the running back hand off at his own 13-yard line and the Seminoles recovered the ball. FSU quarterback James Blackman returned the favor by throwing an interception in the end zone. Sun Devils defensive back Aashari Crosswell returned it 29 yds.
Neither team was converting on the other’s mistakes. Florida State got to the ASU 19-yard line. But Ricky Aguayo’s 37 yard field goal was blocked by ASU’s Chase Lucas.
After both teams traded punts and turnovers, the Sun Devils finally got on the board with a 40-yard field goal by Cristian Zendejas. ASU had a 3-0 lead with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.
Longing For Offense
With all of the turnovers and punts, neither team generated much in the way of stats. Near the end of the first quarter, ASU had all of 66 yards of total offense. They more than doubled that on one play. On third and nine from their own 10-yard line, Daniels connected with Kyle Williams along the sideline for a 77-yard pick-up to the FSU 13-yard line. In typical first half fashion, the drive would bog down. The Sun Devils would settle for a 26-yard Zendejas field goal for the 6-0 lead.
On Florida State’s next drive, Blackman was hit from behind while throwing. The ball floated and was picked off by ASU’s Evan Fields at midfield. The Sun Devils would get a 24-yard Zendejas field goal and take a 9-0 lead into halftime.
Seminoles Find The End Zone
The first four possessions of the third quarter resulted in punts, two by each team. It took nearly 12 minutes of the quarter before someone found the end zone. The Seminoles utilized both their quarterbacks on one play. Blackman threw back to Jordan Travis for a 16-yard pick-up tp the three-yard line. From there, Ontaria Wilson ran it in for the touchdown and FSU had cut the deficit to 9-7.
The Seminoles would take the lead at the end of the quarter when Blackman hit Tamorrion Terry on a slant-and-go for 91 yds for the touchdown and a 14-9 lead at the end of three.
Arizona State would answer with another Zendejas field goal. This one was from 34 yards out, early in the fourth quarter to shrink the FSU lead to 14-12.
The turnover bug would bite Florida State again. On third and four from his 20-yard line, Blackman was intercepted by Willie Harris who returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and the 20-14 lead.
Blackman had another interception and Terry also fumbled after a four-yard run. Arizona State could not convert on any of the last two turnovers, but they did not to. As long as FSU was coughing the ball up, they were no real scoring threat.
Blackman finished the game 14 of 26 for 244 yards (91 on one play to Terry), and four interceptions with one fumble. He added 87 yards rushing on 18 carries. While the redshirt sophomore is a better passer than Jordan Travis, (a redshirt freshman), and Travis is a better running quarterback, new head coach Mike Norvell is going to have his work cut out for him at the quarterback position next season.
Arizona State’s freshman quarterback, Daniels, was only 12 of 28 for 195 yards, and he did not have a touchdown pass. But he also did not turn the ball over at all. Head coach Herm Edwards will have to figure out where his offense is going to come from next year. Starting running back Eno Benjamin and leading receiver Brandon Aiyduk are both headed to the NFL. That was roughly 60% of the 2019 offensive production for ASU. Based on the Sun Bowl performance they need to hope Zendejas, a junior placekicker, will be back.