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Wilkins’ late game touchdown helps Arizona State escape UCLA

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By Kristi Larson

Tempe, AZ — It was an emotional day as Arizona State (6-4) took the 31-28 win against UCLA (2-8), improving to 6-4 overall for the Sun Devils. The team knew this was their last time playing in their home stadium, Sun Devil Football Stadium, for their 2018 season, making it an extra emotional game for the seniors.

The crowds’ noise helped carry the team to the victory, especially in the fourth quarter as Arizona State ate up more than eight minutes of time on the clock. The drive was capped off with a quarterback sneak from the Sun Devils Manny Wilkins.

Fans felt the emotion from its players as well as knew this was the final time the team would be playing in the arena. The Sun Devils wanted to walk out of there with a win for them as well as the university and they did.

Arizona State’s quarterback Manny Wilkins played his heart out in his final home game. He went 16-for-22 for 199 yards and threw for one touchdown and ran the ball 14 times for 60 yards for two touchdowns. Even when he wasn’t in the game, he was on the sidelines encouraging his teammates to close out the game.

Manny Wilkins, ASU
Photo by Kristi Larson/TheBallOut

Wilkins held back tears as his team celebrated their win. After beating the Bruins, Arizona State’s hopes of winning a conference title is still on the table, as well as now the Sun Devils have a bowl berth. But, while the team is excited to think about representing the Pac-12 South, they still need to take it one game at a time.

“We’d be foolish if we didn’t think about it,” Wilkins said on Arizona State representing the Pac-12. “But we got a tough game next week that we have to take care of, and we all know who comes after that, so business each week.”

Eyes weren’t only on Wilkins though, but also Eno Benjamin. He kept the crowd engaged in that game and carried the ball 34 times for 182 yards. By the end of the game, Benjamin broke Arizona State’s single-season rushing record in Pac-10/12 history (1977-2018 era). The sophomore now has 1,262 rushing yards this year, eclipsing Ryan Torain’s previous record of 1,229 yards from 2006.

With Saturday afternoon’s victory, the Sun Devils now have won three straight. Arizona State will travel next weekend to play at Oregon on Nov. 17. UCLA will look to bounce back against USC next Saturday after dropping its third straight game.

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