2017 Sun Bowl: L vs. NC State, 52-31
Arizona State had made up its mind – Graham was to be terminated from the program, and Edwards was the man of the future. However, they did allow the sixth-year coach to conduct the Sun Bowl.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work like last time.
Even without NFL-bound defensive end Bradley Chubb, NC State thrashed the Sun Devils 52-31. Worse than that – it may have been the worst game ASU played all season.
For starters – Wilkins was uncharacteristic. After throwing five interceptions in ASU’s 12 regular season games, the redshirt junior had three in the bowl game alone.
Granted, there were levels to that. Richard, Kalen Ballage and Eno Benjamin were each held to 50 or fewer yards, forcing Wilkins to dial 40 passes during the afternoon. With the Wolfpack’s Nyheim Hines rushing for 73 yards and three touchdowns, the margin for error was slim.
Speaking of defense – ASU’s final game under Graham went in one of the worst ways possible. The Sun Devils gave up 487 yards of total offense, falling in a deficit as large as 28 points by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Across the board, these bowl results have shown many constants, including bad defense, a poor rushing attack and more pressure on the quarterback to deliver in a shootout.
If Edwards can change the type of result from these four games, his impact will become more profound.