In honor of the points on Sparky’s new pitchfork on display outside the newly renovated Sun Devil Stadium, here are three things that will stick with me from ASU’s 49-7 win over Texas-San Antonio in the season opener Saturday night:

Unreal N’Keal

If he keeps this up, he’ll replace Khalil Tate as the state’s Heisman contender.

Harry had six catches for 140 yards, but it was the “did you see that?!” factor that will have folks breaking out their thesauruses to try to describe what they saw.

On the first drive, Harry had 79 of ASU’s 81 yards, including turning a screen pass into a tall tale.

Harry made a spin move that left his defender with an arm full of frustration. He then took off down the middle of the field in what can only be described as a blaze of glory.

Then in the third quarter, he hit every button on the control pad to score on a quick slant. Catch. Spin move. Stutter step. Stutter step. Speed burst. Speed burst. Hurdle.

He caught the ball about seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Ran about 40 yards laterally, maybe 10 yards backward, then he got the edge and raced into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown catch.

“He had some big-time plays today,” quarterback Manny Wilkins said. “Some really, really big plays.”

About that defense

Let’s not overthink this, the numbers can speak for themselves.

– ASU held UTSA to 2 yards rushing.

–  Cordale Grundy and D.J. Gillins combined for just 44 percent passing, going 19 for 43.

–  ASU forced three turnovers.

–  ASU had nine sacks for a loss of 63 yards.

–  The Sun Devils had 15 tackles for a loss of 85 yards.

And a 6-foot-2, 300-plus pound defensive lineman, Shannon Forman, got a 25-yard pick-six.

“Shannon Forman had a pick-six, as a defensive lineman,” said cornerback Chase Lucas, half-impressed, half-incredulous. “He didn’t play that much last year, but he’s a dog. It just shows that it doesn’t matter your experience.”

Consider the source: defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales. He might well have been the brains behind the San Diego State operation that last year beat ASU and Stanford.

Gonzales comes to ASU, and the Sun Devils cooked the Roadrunners. SDSU, meanwhile, got thumped by Stanford 31-10.

Combine that with the defensive-minded Herm Edwards, and it was a potent mix Saturday.

UTSA didn’t score until there were six minutes left.

“It was lights out,” Lucas said. “We did our job. We game planned against UTSA and everything that Coach Gonzales and Coach Herm were talking about worked.”

He said later, “It was ridiculous. We knew what they were doing before they even did it.”

They looked good, but …

… there were a lot of penalties.

“It was sloppy,” coach Herm Edwards said. “You want to be a good football team, you can’t have 11 penalties. That’s what I call ‘bad ball.’ ”

He didn’t stop there.

“I don’t like fouls … that’s foolishness … drives me crazy.”

You can’t ask for much more than to go into halftime up 28-0, but it would have been nice to see more sustained offense throughout the half.

ASU got up early, thanks to Harry and Forman.

And the Sun Devils looked great going into halftime with two touchdown drives and smothering defense.

But it was like a pair of bookends on a shelf with no novels. There was nothing in the middle. ASU had three consecutive drives end in punts.

“Offensively, we sputtered at times,” Edwards said, low-key throughout his postgame comments. “We had a lot of big plays offensively, but we didn’t have sustainable drives.”

Picky? Sure. But if the offense got stagnant because players lost focus, that will be a real problem against an opponent like Michigan State, Washington or USC – all of whom are on the schedule.

“The biggest enemy of success is complacency,” Wilkins said. “If we get complacent with where we are, if we’re complacent with scoring 49 against UTSA, it ain’t gonna cut it next week. It’s not gonna cut it the week after. We’ve got to go back. We’ve got to see the mistakes that we made, correct them, and continue to get better every single day. We haven’t made it. We’re nowhere close to making it.”   

It was a good win, but “the key will be how do we handle success,” Edwards said.


Reach Moore at [email protected] or602-444-2236. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @WritingMoore.