There's Hope Again

Do you feel it? There's electricity pulsing through the smog-filled skies of the Valley. A buzz is traveling through the airwaves, across radio talk shows and television broadcasts. It has to do with the Arizona State Sun Devils, and for the first time in a long while, a positive karma is emanating from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. And it's contagious.

This past Saturday, the Sun Devils broke the 7-year California road curse with an impressive 41-3 victory over Stanford. Granted this was Stanford and not Cal, but Dennis Erickson will take the win. Such has been the case with the Sun Devils this season: Win the games you're supposed to win and things will take care of themselves. After seeing what happened on Saturday to eight ranked teams, a win on the road was not automatic on Upset Saturday.

There was no falling behind in this contest; the Sun Devils dominated from start to finish. Now ASU is sitting at 5-0 and climbing the AP Top 25 polls faster than any program besides South Florida.

And one thing is apparent with this Sun Devil team … confidence is not lacking. With a favorable early schedule, the team's confidence has been swelling. And that translates into an aggressive attitude and a little swagger on defense. This defensive unit might not put a lot of guys into the NFL, but what it will do is smack the opponent in the jaw and fly around the field.

"It was just a great effort defensively," Erickson said after the game. "We got pressure on the quarterback, flew around and got turnovers. When we play like that, it's pretty hard to lose."

Arizona State recorded seven sacks of Stanford quarterback T.C. Ostrander. True freshman Omar Bolden made his first start at cornerback in place of Chris Baloney, and after an interception return for a touchdown from the freshman; you can see why USC was recruiting him so hard. Bolden is going to be a good one, and Erickson's first incoming class looks like it will materialize into a pretty good unit and make some contributions right away.

Arizona State moved up five spots to No. 18 in the polls. But now the schedule gets a bit more difficult. A road game against Washington State is not a gimme, and that is followed by a home game against Washington at Sun Devil Stadium. These are two good tests to see how far along this program really is before it gets thrown to the lions with games against Cal, Oregon, UCLA and USC.

Of course the old football cliché is that you take it one game at a time. Which is just fine for a young emerging Sun Devil team that is taking on the positive characteristics of previous Erickson programs.

Next up are the Washington State Cougars, a team that got smacked around by the Arizona Wildcats pretty good down in Tucson this past Saturday. A 48-20 loss to UA will have Washington State seeking some revenge against the Sun Devils. Hopefully the players will stay focused and on track. Don't take the Cougars too lightly. Pullman is not an easy place to play, but a win will be another huge boost to an ASU team that has high expectations this season. Keep it going Sun Devils! The Valley is starting to feel it.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories