Arizona State Forces Six Turnovers to Beat Florida State 20-14 in the 86th Annual Sun Bowl
In a matchup that featured eight combined turnovers, 14 total punts and just two offensive touchdowns, Arizona State (8-5) prevailed and capitalized on Florida State's (6-7) mistakes, winning the 86th annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, 20-14.
The Sun Devils snapped a two-game bowl game losing streak in front of 42,412 attendees at the Sun Bowl, while the Seminoles finished with a losing record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.
And the game started with a turnover and pretty much ended on a turnover.
On the first play from scrimmage, ASU fumbled the handoff exchange and FSU took over deep into Sun Devil territory, moving the ball all the way to the 1-yard line. ASU safety Aashari Crosswell intercepted FSU quarterback James Blackman's pass in a first and goal situation.
The Seminoles had another red zone appearance in the first quarter but kicker Ricky Aguayo's field goal was blocked by ASU's Chase Lucas.
Two possessions later, ASU linebacker Merlin Robertson got a sack, stripped Blackman and recovered the fumble. The Sun Devils were unable to score a touchdown in the red zone but escaped with a field goal by Cristian Zendejas.
Zendejas rounded out the half with two more field goals, giving ASU the 9-0 slight edge at the half.
Both teams had zero offensive presence throughout the third quarter until the Seminoles grinded out an 11-play, 91-yard touchdown drive capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by receiver Ontaria Wilson on an end-around play. One possession later, Blackman found his top receiver Tamorrion Terry on a 91-yard touchdown pass, the longest passing play in Sun Bowl history.
Just like that, FSU led 14-9 on two unanswered touchdowns.
The fourth quarter started off by another ASU drive inside the red zone that ended up in Zendejas' fourth field goal of the day, tying a Sun Bowl record for most field goals made by an individual.
Blackman's pass on third down of the next drive was picked off by ASU defensive back Willie Harts, who returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Harts, a backup secondary member, helped steal the game for the Sun Devils with what would be the go-ahead score.
ASU's defense clamped down in the final minutes and forced an interception and fumble in the final four minutes of the game.
Sun Devils freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels won the game's MVP after tossing for 195 yards, rushing for 36 yards and set up four field goals for the team.
Blackman completed 14-of-26 passes for 244 yards, a touchdown pass, four interceptions and a fumble. The Seminoles had six turnovers on the day—four interceptions, two fumbles—but led in total offense (470-282). Defensively, the Seminoles didn't allow a touchdown and forced a pair of turnovers in the first half.