Season Opener Builds Confidence for Sullivan

Playing against some of his high school buddies and a college that is the alma mater of both of his parents, it's only fitting that Danny Sullivan would turn in his best game in his ASU career. The sophomore signal caller was thrust into the fire last season, and with a year under his belt comfort took over uncertainty as he settles into his backup QB role.

The 6-4 236 Danny Sullivan, who hails from Los Gatos (Calif.), has made a giant leap in maturity and overall skills since last season. He added 36 pounds to his frame, and in his first game of the 2007 campaign his total yards (73) eclipsed all of his last season's total of 46. Completing 9-12 passes with no interceptions, and passing for his first ever touchdown granted him a pass efficiency rating of 153.6 after the San Jose State game.

"In the first game of the year you wanna come out strong, so I was happy that I came out and played well and built some confidence for the rest of the year," said Sullivan who was forced not to redshirt last year after Sam Keller left the team. "It felt pretty good out there, and it was real ironic that my first ever touchdown pass at ASU was against San Jose State, a school from back home."

In the week leading up to the season opener, Sullivan admitted that he was lobbying starting quarterback Rudy Carpenter to do all he can so he would play meaningful minutes. The plan did materialize as the sophomore played for more than a quarter and a half, and wasn't just relegated to mostly handing off the ball. "I think I had a really good week of practice before that game, and their defense was pretty much like ours so I knew what to expect and what plays to run," Sullivan remarked. "This game was a good stepping stone and will help me get ready for Colorado."

Naturally his first touchdown pass in the maroon and gold, is one that he will remember for a long time. It's also one that the touchdown recipient, tight end Andrew Pettes (who caught a 5-yard pass), will also cherish since it was his first ever TD as well. "Kind of funny we both got our first touchdowns on the same play," Sullivan commented. "Andrew has been playing well and does a lot of things right. I was happy to be the first one to pass him the ball for a touchdown."

In that game and during the preseason, Sullivan really seemed to have been developing some chemistry with wide receiver Nate Kimbrough. The two hooked up in the San Jose State game twice for 27 yards – which includes a 10-yard and a 17-yard pass.

"He's trying to get back from that knee injury, and it was exciting to see him catching the ball and making plays out there," said Sullivan. "When he doesn't get the ball, he stresses out and I tell him ‘don't worry, your chance will come.' He's doing real well out there."

After struggling against NAU last year in the season's first game, Sullivan noted how refreshing it was to get a big win and get some confidence to start the season. Yet at the same time, he and the Sun Devils have no sense of cockiness since they realize that Colorado sports a better defense and will overall be a tougher team to play against.

"We have to come out strong again, because they really improved since last year," said Sullivan. "They have a lot of guys returning, and I think it should be a real good game. If we come out strong, we should put up some points and hopefully run away from them." Which in turn could turn into more playing time and a boost of confidence for Sullivan as he continues to grow as a quarterback.

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