Devils' approach nets homecoming victory

Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium the maroon and gold officially became bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. The Sun Devils came off the bye week looking anything but lackadaisical defeating the Colorado Buffaloes in a 48-14 blowout.

"We came out really focused," running back Cameron Marshall said. "In the past years we've come out of bye weeks kind of flat and this year we really stressed that we need to come out focused and ready to go and I think that's what we did."

Marshall come off the bye week strong with 15 carries for 114 yards for the night after being held out of practice all week to heal the sprained ankle he has suffered from since fall camp.

"I felt like the bye week helped a lot," Marshall admitted. "I'm feeling great right now, probably the best I've felt all season so the bye week came just in time."

Having a healthy Marshall translates into a more versatile and productive Sun Devil offense and the strength of the running back, who was responsible for 3 of tonight's touchdowns, has not gone unnoticed by his teammates.

"Cameron is a monster," wide receiver Gerell Robinson said of his teammate. "I've never seen somebody that big hurdle somebody and run people over like he does. He brings a different dimension to our running backs. We have a lot of running backs and they all have speed and they are all different. They bring something to the table that the other might lack or not be as solid in and that's good for our offense."

In just the first half the Sun Devil offense, lead by quarterback Brock Osweiler, was able to put 31 points on the board and continued their dominance throughout the night.

"We're very determined to meet our team goals and in order to do that we have to win every football game from here on out," Osweiler began. "Regardless of the opponent we're going to be ready to go and I think today we showed that. I think the offensive line did a great job opening up holes and getting me time to throw the football and our playmakers made big plays."

Of those big plays was the first drive of the contest where Osweiler connected with wide receiver Jamal Miles for a 25-yard touchdown.

"That play with Jamal is one that we've worked on all week," Osweiler said. "It pretty much gives me the option to decide who I'm going to send to the middle of the field just by the defensive leverage I gave Jamal that call and he did a great job getting on that safeties toes and he made a great catch."

Offensively, one of the most solid performances of the night could be the wide receivers The group used a plethora of players including sophomore Kevin Ozier who had his first touchdown against the Buffaloes.

"We came out focused," Robinson said of his unit. "We didn't want to come out lethargic like we have the last few times we've played a lesser opponent. This is a different team with a different mindset and we know that we control our own destiny and this is the first time we've been in this position and we're not going to let it slip."

The Sun Devil offense relies heavily on their lateral passing game, but as teams are beginning to recognize their tendencies the maroon and gold have responded by showing the strength in their vertical game.

"They try to take away our swing game," Robinson said. "We have a bunch of receivers that are big and athletic and we'll go up to catch the ball and make plays when we need to and you're starting to see that. They're trying to take away our short game and we're starting to throw vertical and that's opening up our run game as well."

Defensively, the maroon and gold held the Buffaloes to a mere 14 points, but possibly the key aspect tonight was the forced turnovers of the unit. With 5 turnovers against Colorado, that makes brings the count to 24 forced turnovers in the last 6 games.

"Its just practice," safety Clint Floyd said. "We practice turnovers and every time we hit we try to strip and create turnovers and as a defensive we've been doing good this year. We just try to rally to the ball and make plays"

Both Floyd and teammate Keelan Johnson intercepted Buffaloes quarterback Tyler Hansen. Floyd's interception can early in the game while Colorado was knocking on the ASU goal line.

"They threw it straight to me, so what can I say," Floyd said. "Basically just seeing the quarterback. The quarterback doesn't lie, the receiver does so I just keep my eye on the quarterback to see what he's doing."

As for Johnson, the safety attributes his interception to the efforts of his entire defensive unit.

"My interception was just having the ability to read the quarterback," Johnson said. "The linebackers having great drops which allowed me to be a free player and use my abilities to do what I need to do."


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