Feels Like the First Time

There were many newcomers taking part in ASU's season debut, but none of them had Division I game experience like Michael Marquardt. That fact may be inconsequential, since the defensive tackle admitted that he was just as nervous as any true freshman or JC transfer who saw action against NAU last week.

"It absolutely felt like my first game," said the 6-4 289 Michael Marquardt. "I was a nervous wreck. After the first series, I got back into my old game time grove. I think the first game jitters are out now, but you never know – I might be a nervous wreck before every game." At what point did he realize that he playing in his first meaningful game in two years? "The first thing that hits you is a helmet and it's coming at you real hard," he quipped. "When somebody tries to smack you that will really wake you up."

The junior had two solo tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss in his first game for the maroon and gold. He was part of a solid defensive line that gave up only 53 yards on the ground, but part of a defense that also surrendered two long touchdowns. "You never like for those big plays to happen," remarked the defensive tackle. "We were able to point out those mistakes really early in the game and adjust. We won't make those mistakes again – it's as simple as that."

Going into this season, much has been written about the improved depth at defensive tackle. Michael Marquardt believes that this theory did materialize during the game and that each member at his position had just the right number of snaps. "The rotation was good," he stated. "Everyone still had energy at the end of the game, and everyone was still playing well in the fourth quarter. I hope it stays that way."

Marquardt seemed almost embarrassed by the game captain honors that have been bestowed on him for this week's match-up against Nevada. However, he does realize that his solid play is the primary reason for this. "I did feel pretty confident about my game," he said. "I just set out certain goals, I was able to meet them and I'm happy with the way I played."

The junior defensive tackle is not one to dwell on the past, no matter how positive or negative it is. This is probably a healthy frame of mind to have, as the Sun Devils enter what should be a much tougher opponent this Saturday. "Not to discredit NAU, but we're expecting a whole lot better offense than last week," he explained. "That offensive line will be a lot bigger, stronger and faster. We can expect them to come out and be very physical and we have to match that."

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