Osweiler shakes off first half struggles

The maroon and gold took their talents to Tucson this Thursday and will now return to Tempe with a 30-29 win in double-overtime. The Sun Devil offense struggled in the first half to put points on the board but returned in the second half ready for battle.

Sophomore quarterback, Brock Osweiler started his first game this season for the maroon and gold after redshirt junior, Steven Threet went down with a concussion against last week's matchup against UCLA. After the win, Osweiler struggled to contain his excitement and overall appreciation for his teammates.

"I'm speechless," Osweiler admitted. "I've never played in a football like this in my life and I'm just so honored to be a part of such a team like this. We have football players that refuse to quit, no matter what the circumstances are and we've proved that all season long and especially tonight. I'm just honored to be a part of this football team and be able to play for our fans that came out tonight to support us."

Osweiler struggled in the first half to connect with his receivers completing only 8 of 23 passes but came out after halftime ready for battle and ultimately lead his team to victory.

"First half, their secondary was covering our stuff pretty well," Osweiler stated. "I just wasn't making good throws, period. I wasn't playing very well, I was playing sloppy and then I kind of settled down a little bit at halftime, we came out, put together some good drives.

"Our defense played great and our offensive line played great. Cameron, I can't say enough about that kid and just the whole football program came out here and gave a tremendous effort tonight."

The 6-8 quarterback seems to have surprised the Wildcats with his mobility leading the team in rushing yards with a total of 19 carries for 81-yards.

"That just goes to what I was saying about them covering our stuff down field," Osweiler said. "They were bringing the four man rush and if they're going to cover our guys and only bring four, that only leaves running lanes for myself."

Aside from the success of Osweiler, the Sun Devils offense undoubtedly found most of their success in the run game, led by sophomore running back Cameron Marshall. Marshall accumulated over 66-yards averaging 2.7 yards per carry including the winning touchdown in the second overtime.

"We started wearing them down a little bit towards the end and the run game started opening up a little bit more," Marshall noted. "The whole offensive line did a great job coming out even stronger than they did in the first half."

Prior to the game winning touchdown carry, Marshalls first attempt into the end zone was initially ruled a touchdown, but after further review was ruled down at the 2-yard line. "I wasn't down on that play," Marshall commented. "But I was glad to do it again, so it's nothing big."

Marshall typically shares his responsibilities with true freshman, Deantre Lewis who was sidelined by a concussion that he suffered last week against UCLA. Although Lewis would have been a valuable addition to the offensive, Marshall handled the added responsibilities flawlessly.

" I knew all week there was a possibility that D. Lewis wasn't going to play and I had to prepare accordingly," Marshall admitted. "I love the load, I don't mind it at all but of course I do miss Deantre so if we go to this bowl game, hopefully he'll be back."

With the end of regulation approaching and the matchup tied 20-20, Arizona kicker Alex Zendejas attempted a PAT but was blocked by James Brooks to cause the game to go into overtime.

"Right before that, I was telling my players, my teammates to show some heart," Brooks said. "If we just come out here and play with heart good things will happen, we got a win.

If Brooks' first block wasn't impressive enough the 6-5 junior was also responsible for blocking Zendejas PAT attempt at the end of second overtime to tie the game, securing the Sun Devils victory over the Wildcats.

"The second PAT was weird because I think it hit one of their offensive lineman first," Brooks admitted. "Then it bounced off my chest and almost went in. It was crazy man, I'm glad it didn't go in."

The standout performance of the Sun Devil defense undoubtedly kept the maroon and gold in the game as the offense struggled find success. Keeping the Wildcats off the board throughout the entire first half was a victory in itself.

"We put up a goose egg in the first half," Brooks stated. "We wanted another one but they came out on offense and kind of got it rolling in the second half. We had crucial stops on third down because we knew we had to make those stops and once we get three and out, our offense can make points."

The sheer excitement that the Sun Devils showed after their victory was simply a testament to their dedication to salvaging an overall disappointing season. With the win over Arizona, the maroon and gold will not only walk away with bragging rights for the year, but also have managed to keep their bowl-game hopes alive.

"Anytime you come to Tucson and beat the Wildcats, its just great," Brooks said. "We lost two straight games to them, the last two years so it was a must win for us. We don't know if we'll go to a bowl game or not, but we had to get this win."

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