Newcomer Report: ASU at New Mexico

For the first time in over 30 years, Arizona State started three true freshmen in a game as cornerback Armand Perry made his Sun Devil starting debut alongside fellow freshmen DJ Calhoun and Tashon Smallwood as the Sun Devils rolled to victory on Saturday, defeating New Mexico 58-23.

A week after 24 players made their first appearance for ASU, many of whom saw significant action, the Arizona State coaching staff played things much closer to the vest against the Lobos, relying more heavily on the Sun Devil veterans to pull out the impressive road win.

Armand Perry – The official stats say Perry had half a sack, but he should be given full credit for his play on the Lobos’ first possession of the game. Perry started at the corner and finished with four tackles, although struggled at times keeping outside containment on option runs headed his way.

Tashon Smallwood – Similar to last week, Smallwood jumped offside on a dummy count from the opposing quarterback. This time though, it came on a fourth and one play, something Graham didn’t quite like – pulling him from the game. He did get back in but did not record an official tackle. Sophomore Ami Latu split time with him at the Tiger position and played very well, recording four tackles and one tackle for a loss.

During one sequence in the third quarter, Latu recorded a TFL and consecutive tackles to stop a New Mexico drive and help the Arizona State maintain its second half momentum.

James Johnson – The redshirt freshman was very active in the first few minutes of the game, flying around and making plays. However, in the second quarter, Johnson was responsible for New Mexico’s longest pass play of the game with a blown coverage. He split time with Jordan Simone for the remainder of the game and finished with six tackles, including one for a loss.

Jordan Simone – Didn’t get the start, but did receive extensive playing time at the field safety spot. He definitely earned more playing time with his seven tackles along with one of the Devils’ three fumble recoveries. Was by far one of the best players on defense tonight.

D.J. Calhoun – For as good of a game as the true freshman WILL linebacker had against Weber State, Calhoun didn’t impress against the Lobos. He often looked lost at times and underperformed in coverage when New Mexico put it in the air. He finished with three tackles.

Kweishi Brown – One of the corners battling for the spot opposite Lloyd Carrington, Brown finished the night with two tackles. The corner unit as a whole did not perform tremendous in the first half, but turned it on in the second.

Marcus Ball – After backing up Laiu Moeakiola all week at the SPUR linebacker position, Ball was once again very limited. The redshirt freshman did see some time late in the game at SPUR, but did not have any stats.

Christian Sam – Yet another true freshman to see action late in Albuquerque. He didn’t record any tackles but did have a pass breakup.

Chad Adams – Saw extensive action in the second half when ASU was running away with the game. He was around the ball a lot, just didn’t have any tackles.

DeAndre Scott, Alani Latu, Demetrius Cherry and Edmond Boateng all finished with one tackle on the night.

Demario Richard - While the story of the night for the Arizona State offense on Saturday was the tremendous play of junior running back D.J. Foster, freshman Demario Richard made his presence felt again spelling the Sun Devil speedster. A week after rushing for 24 yards on six carries, Richard rushed for 57 yards on four carries against the Lobos while putting the finishing touches on the 58-23 win with a 46 yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

The young back also hauled in one catch for 18 yards to help set up a one yard Kalen Ballage touchdown run in the first quarter to put ASU ahead 22-0.

Aside from his ability to produce with the ball in his hands, Richard once again showed off his blocking ability, throwing a couple of solid hits at oncoming defenders in an effort to help ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly escape the UNM rush.

Kalen Ballage - Ballage continued to be the short yardage battering ram for the Sun Devils, rushing for 21 yards and two scores on just six carries. The freshman had a couple of mental mistakes, including a pair of botched handoffs, one of which resulted in a turnover and the other a short Kelly run under heavy pressure.

Mistakes are bound to happen to young players, though Offensive Coordinator likely won’t be pleased with the mental errors and missed assignments.

Ronald Lewis - A week after catching one pass for six yards and rushing for five yards on one carry, the redshirt freshman recorded just one catch for six yards in limited action.

Elis Jefferson - Ellis Jefferson was a late addition and did not register a catch. The redshirt freshman caught four passes for 37 yards last week in the season opener.

Jacom Brimhall - The shifty running back replaced safety Damarious Randall at punt returner late in the contest after Randall appeared to be shaken up after being blocked below the waist on a long Lobo run that was called back due to the infraction. Brimhall fielded one punt, which was fair caught.

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