EL Paso, Texas —Cornerback Willie Harts returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to lead Arizona State to a 20-14 victory against Florida State on Tuesday in the Sun Bowl.
It was definitely a defensive contest with very little offensive firepower. But these are the games Arizona State Herm Edwards likes.
“Obviously it was a game not pleasing to the eye,” he said.
James Blackman threw a 91-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass play in Sun Bowl history, to receiver Tamorrion Terry to give Florida State its first lead, 14-9, in the third quarter. The Seminoles trailed 9-0 at the break.
Cristian Zendejas kicked a Sun Bowl record-tying four field goals for Arizona State, including a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter to cut the FSU lead to 14-12.
The Sun Bowl loss is an example of how far FSU still has to go on the offensive side of the ball, but it’s also a strong indication of what direction the program is heading under Herm Edwards.
“Our D was on fire tonight,” Harts said. “It just shows the potential for our defense.”
Blackman’s fourth interception of the game was returned by Harts to put ASU up for good with 10:06 left in the game.
Jayden Daniels was 12-for-28 passing for 198 yards to lead the Sun Devils. He also ran 36 yards and a 2-point conversion. Daniels was named the game’s MVP.
Florida State played freshman Deonte Sheffield at running back, who finished the contest with 87 yards on 18 carries. Arizona State had freshman Demetrious Flowers and sophomore A.J. Carter handling the ground duties.
The first half both offenses made miscues after miscues the defenses had to step up in the absence of the teams’ top rushers. Eno Benjamin of ASU and Cam Akers of FSU both sat out to protect their NFL draft stock.
The Seminoles turned the ball over three times (two interceptions and a fumble) and had a field goal blocked, while Arizona State lost two fumbles when they were moving the ball.
Cornerback Stanford Samuels also sat out for the Seminoles,
Florida State played redshirt freshman Deonte Sheffield at running back, who finished with 87 yards on 18 carries. Arizona State had freshman Demetrious Flowers and sophomore A.J. Carter handle rushing duties.
Blackman finished 14 of 26 for 244 yards, with one TD. Tamorrion Terry had nine catches for 165 yards.
“The guys played hard,” FSU interim coach Odell Haggins said. “We made a few mistakes. We’ve got to keep creating great habits. We turned the ball over. We can play better. We are going to play better.”