EL PASO, Texas – An opportunistic Arizona State defense, under the direction of El Paso native Tony White, made play after play and held on to beat Florida State 20-14 Tuesday afternoon in the 86th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game.
White, a graduate of Burges High School, is Arizona State’s defensive coordinator.
“The boys played. It was fun to see them make plays and a lot of other guys made plays today too. It was fun,” said White. “Anytime you win a bowl game, it propels you into the offseason and they’ll feel good when they come back. It’s such a special day all around, but it’s because it’s El Paso. The city, the people, it’s El Paso.”
Arizona State freshman defensive back Willie Harts picked off a James Blackman pass and darted 25-yards the other way for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils would not look back from there, forcing six turnovers and tallying four sacks in their first bowl win under head coach Herm Edwards.
“100 ticket Tony White. He has a fanbase now,” said Edwards. “I’m happy for him. He had to take over as the [defensive] coordinator and I think he did a great job. He had a shutout going in the first half.”
The Sun Devils led 9-0 at halftime before the Seminoles offense scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, including a 91-yard touchdown pass from Blackman to Tomorrion Terry, the longest pass play in Sun Bowl history.
Following an Arizona State field goal in the fourth quarter, Harts and the Sun Devil defense made the play of the game. Harts read the play perfectly, darting in front of the receiver and then dashing to the end zone with what would ultimately be the game-winner.
Arizona State freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels won the C.M. Hendricks Most Valuable Player trophy, completing 12-of-28 passes for 195 yards. Daniels also rushed for 36 yards and a two-point conversion.
Arizona State finishes the season 8-5 with Tuesday’s win. Florida State closed out 2019 at 6-7. A crowd of 42,412 turned out on a sun-swept 50 degree day for the second-oldest bowl game in the country.