NC State rides fast start to Sun Bowl rout of Arizona State

Finley, Hines lead Wolfpack offense in bowl win, ninth victory

NC State coach Dave Doeren and his team celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 52-31 in the 2017 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / USA TODAY Sports)

NC State quarterback Ryan Finley passed for 318 yards and a touchdown, and running back Nyheim Hines rushed for a career-high three touchdowns in the No. 24 Wolfpack‘s 52-31 victory over Arizona State in the Sun Bowl on Friday in El Paso, Texas.

Hines scored on three 5-yard runs in the first half and Reggie Gallaspy II had two touchdown runs in the second half as the Wolfpack (9-4) opened a 21-3 lead and never were threatened.

Finley completed 24 of 29 passes, Gallaspy had 78 yards rushing and Hines had 73. Gallaspy’s first touchdown run, a 23-yarder, made it 38-10 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Finley, considered a potential first-round pick in the NFL if he gives up his final season of eligibility, has said he will consult with his family before making a decision.

Quarterback Manny Wilkins completed 25 of 40 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown for the Sun Devils (7-6), but he also had three second-half interceptions.

Wilkins rushed for a touchdown and completed a 19-yard scoring pass to Kyle Williams in a 59-second span of the fourth quarter to make it 38-24 before Jaylen Samuels’ touchdown pushed the Wolpack’s lead to 45-24.

N’Keal Harry had nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown for Arizona State, playing its last game under coach Todd Graham. Former NFL player, coach and commentator Herman Edwards was hired after Graham was fired a day after the regular season ended.

Jakobi Meyers caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown and Stephen Louis caught three passes for 115 yards for the Wolfpack, ranked in the final college football playoff poll for the first time in school history.

NC State had 491 yards of total offense.

Hines scored his first two touchdowns in a 3 1/2-minute span late in the first quarter and early in the second for 14-0 lead. The Sun Devils went three-and-out in the possession between the scores.

Brandon Ruiz made a 24-yard field goal to make it 14-3 before Hines capped a 75-yard drive with his third 5-yard score.

Wilkins hit Harry on a 6-yard scoring pass to cut it to 21-10 with 2:29 left in the half, but Finley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Meyers for a 28-10 lead after the Wolfpack recovered an onside kick.

Ruiz missed a 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half.

NOTES: NC State senior defensive end Bradley Chubb, a consensus All-American and the Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards winner, opted not to play. He is a projected to be a high first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. … Arizona State redshirt junior LB Christian Sam did not play, seeming to confirm reports that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft. He led the Sun Devils with 127 tackles and had three sacks. … Wilkins became the ninth player in Arizona State history to reach 3,000 yards passing in a season with his 14-yard pass to WR N’Keal Harry midway through the second quarter. He 3,270 yards are sixth in school history.