Marquardt Leaves SDS Making a Statement

Senior Defensive Tackle Michael Marquardt could have asked for a better last game at Sun Devil Stadium. Not only did ASU beat its University of Arizona in whirlwind fashion, but Marquardt ended the game with a blocked field goal, a fumble recovery, and a game MVP trophy to take home.

Michael Marquardt described the feeling as absolutely sublime Saturday night as ASU defeated the University of Arizona 20-17. "It's a tremendous feeling to be able to end on this note at Sun Devil stadium as a senior," Marquardt said after the game. "It's overwhelming and it's great to celebrate with my teammates and all of our fans."

The Sun Devils topped Arizona to claim their third straight Territorial Cup victory, and help their chances towards a possible Fiesta Bowl appearance. There is a rivalry involved as well, which got lost in the media hype of bowl predictions. But Marquardt and the rest of the defensive line didn't forget. U of A wouldn't let them.

"We are rivals," he said. "In the trenches there is a lot of things that take place that a lot of you guys don't know about. It's a scary place. I have to hand it to our guys who played in the trenches this game. A lot of plays were carried on their shoulders."

Marquardt gave the "PG-13 version" of what can happen during scrums at the line and concluded by saying: "I just try to protect my teammates and guys."

The Wildcats put up 272 passing yards despite ASU's defensive efforts to shut down the pass, according to Marquardt. "Our game plan was to stop them in the pass game and try to stop them on their big plays," he said. "Arizona has survived off of making big plays and I think for the most part our defense did a really good job of stopping them from any potential big plays like that." Not only did they shut down the big play, which was attempted numerous times, but Marquardt had a hand in stopping other plays as well, like the field goal block that came in the 3rd quarter.

"Our defensive line coach (Grady Stretz), who coaches also the kick block team, really emphasized the fact that a single play like that can make your game," Marquardt said. "Our defensive line and our field goal block team take it upon themselves to really give it their best effort and that was a manifestation of how much our players want it."

The maroon and gold defense kept ASU alive in this game while the offense struggled to keep a drive going in the second half. When quarterback Rudy Carpenter is having an off night the defense steps up their game, and vise versa, said Marquardt. "When we realize that things are not clicking for the offense and they have some guys down and things are not going so well; I think that our defense takes it upon themselves and take personal pride in what we do; to be able to pick up our offense whenever we can," he said.

Going out like that as a senior is what every college player dreams of when they are little kids playing Pop Warner. So how does it feel for Mike Marquardt now that it is a reality? "The first thing that comes to mind is shocked," he said. "And the second thing that comes to mind is lucky, and third thing is that I couldn't have done it without the teammates that were around me."

Marquardt stated that in part, thanks to the new defensive philosophy brought by Coach Bray, that the whole unit began clicking. He said that the entire team bought into what Bray had to offer, and that it has worked repeatedly this season. "Hopefully long after I leave, the Sun Devils will continue that philosophy," he added.

ASU now has a little time to practice and recover before they play in a bowl game, which its location will be revealed Sunday night. "I need to take this next week off and focus on school," said Marquardt who is an Urban Planning major. "I think the month of December is going to be an important month for our team. I think we need to take it easy for the next week and get some guys back that are injured."

"I think Coach Erickson is going to help us out a lot that way," Marquardt laughed referring to the player-friendly pace of practices.

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