Devils Spear Spartans in Season Opener

The frequent strikes of lighting in the Tempe sky were a fitting prelude to what was about to take place on the field. The maroon and gold walloped San Jose State early and often en route to a 45-3 win. The Dennis Erickson era at ASU couldn't have begun any better. It was a game that featured a balanced offense, suffocating defense, and a plethora of backup players getting valuable experience.

On a day that college football provided several unpredicted scores, the home team turned this contest into a laugher in the first half. The 54,405 in attendance didn't have to wait long to see Arizona State (1-0) score. In his team's first possession, running back Ryan Torain (123 yards on only 17 carries) leaped from one yard out to score one of his three touchdowns. San Jose State (0-1) answered with a field goal, which would ultimately be the first and last time they registered any points on the scoring board.

The Sun Devils scored their only field goal of the game in the first quarter, and followed that up with three touchdowns in the second quarter - two by Torain and one by ASU's leading wide receiver last year, Mike Jones catching one of two Rudy Carpenter touchdown passes. Fellow wideout, true freshman Kerry Taylor, scored his first ever touchdown in the third, and junior Andrew Pettes enjoyed the same honors himself registering the last score if the game. Ironically, his first TD catch came from backup signal caller Danny Sullivan who threw his first ever score at ASU against his hometown college.

"I thought we played very efficiently," said Head Coach Dennis Erickson following the game. "It was one of the most efficient games that I've had for a first game."

Carpenter, who was 14-20 for 197 yards, was pleased that the tone of the game was set in decisive way early in the contest. "Last year we got off to a slow start a little bit against NAU. We struggled offensively from that point forward," he recalled. "Today we got into a rhythm. We came out fast. We established the running game…I think once we establish the passing game a little bit more we'll be a good team."

ASU's 520 total offense yards were mighty impressive, but the Sun Devil defense limiting a Spartan team that was 9-4 last season, to 115 total yards may be borderline jaw-dropping. Coming off an injury riddled season, linebacker Robert James had a career high in a game of ten total tackles, a sack, and an interception. Defensive tackle David Smith had his second career interception, and a sack. The maroon and gold played disciplined, racking up just 40 yards on five penalties. The dominated the time of possession 37:10 to 22:50.

Up next for ASU is a home game against the University of Colorado who won its rivalry game with Colorado State in overtime 31-28. Some may have thought that San Jose State may ultimately be the Sun Devils' toughest non-conference opponent this season, and the Buffaloes' win may have those pundits rethink their statement.

Surely they'll be mistakes to be found from this first win of the 2007 campaign, and it would be shocking if ASU manhandled Colorado with the same ease as it did San Jose State. Nonetheless, Erickson's squad is entering its next game confident is its abilities. In a game where mental edges are consistently sought out, that just may be the difference in the team's next contest.

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