Blackout fever descends on Sun Devils

Brock Osweiler competed at Wednesday's ASU football practice while wearing a black long-sleeve under shirt, black wristbands, black shorts, black tights, black socks and black shoes.

The message was clear.

The junior quarterback can't wait for the Sun Devils' first significant challenge of the year, a nationally-televised Friday night game against No. 21 Missouri, where fans are asked to wear black.

"Man, it's something I've been looking forward to for a while," Osweiler said. "I have a decent picture in my mind of what it might look like, but I know when I come out of the tunnel for the first time, it's probably going to blow my mind."

In addition to the fan "Blackout," the Sun Devils will debut their new all-black uniforms, which were unveiled during a much-publicized announcement by the university this offseason.

ASU's uniforms for last week's 48-14 season-opening win against UC Davis featured the school's new pitchfork logo and some minor tweaks, however the typical maroon and gold coloring was prominent. The all-black jerseys to be worn Friday, however, represent a major shift from tradition.

The players, Osweiler said, couldn't be happier with their new duds.

"It's kind of something with the age of kids now," Osweiler said. "We really do like all black. It's something I wore in high school. So it's good to get back into it. I feel at home with all black."

ASU coach Dennis Erickson said the new uniforms and fan "Blackout" should serve as inspiration for his players as they prepare for the first ranked non-conference opponent to visit Sun Devil Stadium since Georgia in 2008.

"Any time you play at home and you have an atmosphere and the crowd is into it, it helps a heck of a lot," Erickson said. "I've been in stadiums where it's pretty hard to play as an opponent, and I've been in stadiums where it's not that hard to play as an opponent. When our fans get cranked up, making noise in there, it's a great place for us."

Erickson also said Missouri will be a great test for an ASU team that finally has a wealth of experience under its belt.

Last season, the Sun Devils lost four games by a combined total of nine points. They also put scares into three teams (Wisconsin, Oregon and Stanford) that went on to compete in BCS games. But ASU lost all three contests by an average of just five points.

"We have a better team than we've had, plus these guys have been around, and they've been in games like this," Erickson said. We know how to win them, and it's just a matter of doing it."

Osweiler said if ASU can limit turnovers and penalties, he is confident the Sun Devils will have a positive outcome against Missouri.

"That's something that comes with age and game experience, and those are two things this team has a lot of," Osweiler said. "It's easier said than done to control those emotions, but I think when the bullets start flying Friday night, we should be playing pretty well. We're a lot older and a lot more mature."

Injury update

Sophomore cornerback Osahon Irabor suffered a slight wrist sprain at Wednesday's practice but Erickson said Irabor "is fine."

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Sil Ajawara is expected to play after suffering an undisclosed injury last week.

Erickson added senior Aderious Simmons will likely miss this week after suffering an ankle sprain against UC Davis.


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