Against California, three Arizona State players hailing from the Bay Area rose to the occasion Saturday night in ASU's 51-41 victory at Sun Devil Stadium.
ASU sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins, the Novato, California native, was 21-of-30 for 290 yards, threw one touchdown and had one interception on the night. He was also the Sun Devils' leading rusher with 23 carries for 72 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Wilkins led the Sun Devils to seven scoring drives on the night.
"I just play ball," Wilkins said. "It's just football and at the end of the day, some of those hits I can't take. But I tell these guys every day that I'm going to give it my all and I'm never going to give up. When I get to the ground, I'm never going to stay on the ground. I'm going to get back up and keep fighting."
ASU head coach Todd Graham said he is of course worried about Wilkins taking hits when he's carrying the ball so much, but that "this is football" and players are bound to get hit.
"I like the way Manny plays," Graham said. "I like that he plays with passion. I want him to protect himself, but you've got to win the game too. You've got to do what you got to do. I tell him before the game, 'Be you. Don't try to be someone else. Be you. Take what they give you."
ASU sophomore wide receiver Jalen Harvey was the team's second-leader in receptions against Cal, with five catches for 83 yards. Harvey finished only behind senior wide receiver Tim White, who had six receptions for 86 yards.
Harvey is an El Cerrito, California native and was originally committed to Cal before de-committing and committing to ASU.
After redshirting in 2014, last year, Harvey’s season was cut short before it really even started. The Northern California product broke his collarbone during the Camp Tontozona scrimmage in August and the injury kept him out for eight weeks.
When Harvey finally did return from injury in ASU’s Nov. 7 game against Washington State, he played only on special teams and was used sparingly at wide receiver for the final games of the season. He finished 2015 with four catches for 77 yards.
ASU junior linebacker D.J. Calhoun is also an El Cerrito, California product and a high school teammate of Harvey's. On Saturday night, he returned an onside kick for a touchdown with 48 seconds left in the game to put ASU up 51-41. In addition to his special teams play, Calhoun had seven tackles on the night.
ASU now has three kickoff returns for touchdowns under ASU head coach Todd Graham. The last was White's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Utah on Oct. 17.
Despite attending high school less than five miles from Cal's Memorial Stadium at El Cerrito High, it was a duo of Calhoun and Harvey from the Bears' backyard that ended up clinching the game against a program they grew up watching.
Fourth quarter surge
The 31 points ASU scored in the fourth quarter against Cal are the most by any FBS team in the fourth quarter this season. It's only the second time in the last five years that an FBS team scored at least 30 points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and win.
The last time this happened was when Arizona scored 31 fourth-quarter points against Cal in 2014.
Through its first four games this season, ASU is averaging 22.3 points in the fourth quarter alone. ASU has out-paced117 teams in total second-half points per game and 25 teams' total points per game. ASU is averaging 31.5 points in the second half and 17.3 points in the first half.
ASU in the first half total has scored 69 points while opponents have scored 75 points. In the second half, ASU has notched 126 points and the program's opponents' have scored just 62 points.
- Cal and ASU combined for 45 points in the fourth quarter (14 Cal, 31 ASU), which is the third most in a quarter by both teams in school history. The ASU record is 56 points in a quarter at Washington State in 2014 (third quarter), while Cal and Arizona combined for 50 points in a quarter in 2014 (4th quarter).
- The Sun Devils have rushed for 16 touchdowns this year after rushing for 19 in all of 2015.
- The Sun Devils have scored on 16-of-16 trips to the red zone in 2016 and have scored a touchdown on 13 of those trips.
- ASU sophomore cornerback Kareem Orr and senior linebacker Salamo Fiso both led ASU with nine tackles.
- ASU senior kicker Zane Gonzalez now has 84 field goals and is tied for fourth with former Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin (2006-09).