Arizona State closes out the 2017 season against NC State in Graham’s final game
By Harley Yearout // Football Writer for Blaze Sports
EL PASO, TX — After an offseason full of change in the program, the Arizona State football team finishes its season Friday in the Sun Bowl which features the Devils going up against the NC State Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack finished a rather tough regular season schedule with a record of 8-4, good for second place in the ACC. The schedule featured big-name schools Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida State.
The Wolfpack is led defensively by defensive end Bradley Chubb, who is projected by some to be a top-10 NFL draft pick. He also finished the season with 10 sacks. Offensively, quarterback Ryan Finley will be the man under center for the Wolfpack.
Finley had a great season, racking up 3,200 yards while throwing for 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. The high-powered NC State offense averaged over 30 points this season while picking up an average of 449 yards per game.
The junior from Phoenix, AZ may leave NC State for the NFL draft next year, where he is projected to be among the top quarterbacks.
Then there is Arizona State, which has had a busy offseason to say the least.
Through the coaching turnover, current head coach Todd Graham will lead the Devils out onto the field for his final game. The team will be without former offensive coordinator Billy Napier, who left the team for the head coaching gig at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Former ASU wide receivers coach Rob Likens was promoted to offensive coordinator shortly after it was announced Napier was leaving.
On the field, the Sun Devils should be motivated to pull one last win out for Graham in his final game. Quarterback Manny Wilkins finished the regular season with 2,918 yards and threw for 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise to ASU fans this season was the play of senior running back Demario Richard, who accumulated 977 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. Last time Richard played in the Sun Bowl was against Duke, where he scored four total touchdowns in a 36-31 victory.
Sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry hit the 1,000 yard mark this season to go along with seven touchdowns. No matter who comes out on top in this one, it will be an offseason that could impact both programs for years to come.
It will be the end of the Todd Graham era in Tempe and the beginning of a new chapter under new head coach Herm Edwards.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Arizona time in El Paso, TX and the game can be heard right here on Blaze Radio Online.
Harley Yearout is a reporter for Blaze Sports. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Harley on Twitter @HarleyYearout