Erickson pleased with post-bye week display

Coming off the bye week hasn't always been kind to the Sun Devils, but on Saturday afternoon, in front of a homecoming crowd, the team got back to its winning ways. ASU greeted their new conference foe, Colorado, with a barrage of early scores, putting any chance of a slip-up out of the minds of the team and its fans, as the offense scored 21 first quarter points, en route to a 48-14 win.

"Obviously we're healthy, but sometimes you come rusty off the bye week, but we didn't," said Coach Erickson after the game. "We took it down right away and scored and pretty much dominated the first half. I thought it was a good effort, I really did. We ran the football better than we have because that's what we were given.

"But it's a really good win for us coming off that, in particular after our bye a year ago, when we weren't very good," he continued. "It's a good win. It puts us at 6-2 and now we go to the next one."

One of the key contributors Saturday was junior running back Cameron Marshall, who appeared to benefit the most from the bye week by allowing his ankle to heal. Marshall carried the ball 15 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns, vaulting him up to number 6 all-time at ASU in rushing touchdowns.

"Well, today you saw Cameron Marshall, finally," said Erickson. "He's been hurt off and on all year, and having him healthy is a little different ball game. He brings another factor to our offense. I thought he ran really well, I don't even know what his stats were, but when he's healthy it really helps."

Osweiler also helped pace the Sun Devil attack, as the signal caller completed 18-28 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions before being relieved in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes opted to blitz the Sun Devil offense throughout the game, and to their credit, ASU was able to counter by gashing them with deep passes and punishing runs.

"We picked it up both on the pass end and the run game, that's how we had some of those big runs," commented Erickson on the success of the offensive. "You are going to see something all the time. We knew we were going to see different things; we are going to see different things from now on defensively. I don't know that they can throw anything more than what we have seen but I thought our offensive line adjusted extremely well."

The Sun Devil offense wasn't the only unit clicking on all cylinders though, as the defense continued its torrid pace as of late. The defense yielded only one touchdown late in the contest and was able to force two interceptions and three fumbles. The Sun Devil defense has now forced 24 turnovers in its last six games and has intercepted the ball 13 times already this season after only picking off ten passes all of last year. The opportunistic Devils were able to make the most of their fortunes, and have the coach hoping the trend can continue down the stretch.

"I don't know if I've ever been on a run like this, turnover-wise," remarked the Erickson. "We're getting them, I just hope this run keeps going, but we're running to the football and knocking things out. I mean, we're just playing good defense.

"That goal line stand was pretty amazing when you have the ball at the one yard line," he added about the Sun Devils ability to stop a second half Colorado drive with a Vontaze Burfict tackle on 4th and goal. "But we're knocking the ball out. I think you start believing you can knock it out and you knock it out. And obviously we're going to need that in the next four games."

Not to be outdone Saturday was the special teams unit, as redshirt freshman Alex Garoutte connected on both his field goal attempts. He was able to push through a 38 yard attempt in the 1st half and followed that one up with a 46 yarder in the second half, as he continued his up and down season kicking the ball. "He made two," reflected Erickson. "He missed every one in practice (Thursday) though. I swear to God, he missed every one. I went home and I can't even tell you.

"I mean he was kicking them left and right, I just called timeout and said let's get into team," he added. "But then he comes out today and whacks them. I just try to stay away from him."

The Sun Devils' business-like throttling of Colorado allowed the head coach to play some of the lesser-used reserves, while also giving more rest to the starters. Along with both back-up quarterbacks, a number of other offensive and defensive were able to see the field, pleasing the head coach.

"Yeah it was great, I mean they got to play the whole fourth quarter and part of the third quarter," said Erickson. "It was nice to get those guys in. We were able to play that second offensive front and Mike (Bercovici) and Taylor (Kelley) got some shots in there. And defensively we got to play a whole bunch of guys, and that's what it's all about.

"But you get a little nervous, particularly when they went down and scored that one touchdown," he continued. "But they deserved to play, and that to me, and I've always felt that way, if you're in a game like that, you've got to play those guys. And I don't care about stats, other than winning. So you've got to give those guys an opportunity to play because they deserve to play."

Perhaps the only thing that didn't go the Sun Devils' way on Saturday was their inability to escape without suffering a new injury, as it appears as though cornerback Deveron Carr suffered a concussion on a collision with teammate Keelan Johnson in the second half. While the injury may not be serious, it will certainly test the depth of the Sun Devil secondary going into the showdown with UCLA next weekend.

"I thought all the corners and the safeties played well, unfortunately Deveron Carr went down with a concussion, I don't know what he will be like for next week which kind of puts us right down to the nitty gritty here."


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