Sullivan ‘settles down' after early jitters

Making his long awaited debut as a starting quarterback, Danny Sullivan showed some excitement and a little bit of nerves in his first career start against the Idaho State Bengals, but ultimately gave Sun Devil fans some things to look forward to for the rest of the season.

For Sun Devil fans it may have been a little nerve racking seeing someone under center to start a game with no starting experience, but there was definitely more anxiousness for the guy who they we're putting their hopes into.

"I was way too excited," Sullivan admitted. "I knew that coming in that it might be a problem, but I calmed myself down. I didn't make any mistakes, threw the ball when I needed to and it was all right.

"I got pretty excited in the first half, probably first quarter, but then I settled down probably midway through the first quarter and started making throws and going to the right place. Third down conversions were good. Just being patient is all it was."

In his first career start, Danny Sullivan was 13 of 25 for 165 yards without a touchdown or interception. He made some nice throws and showed good decision-making throughout his time on the field. He even showed off some of his underrated mobility with five carries for 29 with his longest scamper of the night going for 17 yards.

"17? I thought it was 18," Sullivan said with a smile. "If I need to than I need to, I've said that before. I didn't get any ‘Vanilla Vick' chants this time, but I'm more mobile that people think, and that's the hard work I put in the offseason trying to get leaner, faster, and quicker. Making plays with my feet is gonna have to happen in this offense sometimes."

Sullivan was paced by a solid, though not spectacular running game, but had to battle through some tough drops by some of his receivers. Gerell Robinson and Kyle Williams muffed what would've been touchdowns. Still, Sullivan has faith in his aerial targets and is overall pleased with the performance by the offense.

"No, I don't lose confidence in my receivers," Sullivan claimed. "It's kind of interesting, they dropped a couple of balls, but they'll make up for it somehow, someway, they'll find a way.

"You just take the punches and roll with them, that's all. That's how the game goes, sometimes things don't go your way and you have to fight through it. I'd say we fought through it. We still got points out of it, that's all that matters and the defense played great.

"If anything there were not turnovers in the red zone, we still got points out of it. A bye week is good for us right now, I think we can learn from our mistakes and iron out the wrinkles, we'll be alright."

Though he was pretty pleased with the overall performance of the offense, Sullivan admits that there were some things he would've liked to accomplish in his first start. Most notably throwing for a score.

"A touchdown pass would've been nice, but just keep winning," Sullivan stated. "I don't care what my stats are as long as we win. You've got to hand it to that defense, they're pretty good. Mike Nixon is pretty good, isn't he? They gave us great field position, we've just got to start capitalizing, that's all."

The Sun Devil defense was outstanding in their first game, giving up only 3 points, and a 0 net-yardage at halftime. Mike Nixon alone had three interceptions. Having a defense naturally gives the offense peace of mind, especially to its signal caller.

"It takes a lot of pressure off, maybe we should put him at receiver because he's got great hands," Sullivan quipped. "We knew coming in that he'd be that way. Just making decisions in the red zone is key for us. We've got to start catching balls in there and things will come."

On the flip-side, Idaho State does not appear to be pushing into the BCS top 25 anytime soon, but Sullivan still believes they provided the offense with a good test tonight.

"They confused us a little bit tonight actually," Sullivan remarked. "They brought some blitzes that we haven't seen in any of their games, but we adjusted to it and made second half adjustments. It's just one step in the next direction, go through the bye week and get ready for La. Monroe."

Even though most of the yardage came in clock-killing mode, the offense ran the ball pretty well for most of the game, and with some injuries on the offensive line, the group looked good.

"I think we did alright," Sullivan observed. "There were a couple cases where pass protection didn't hold up, but that's going to happen. We ran the ball really well tonight. I don't know the exact total, but somewhere around 200 yards rushing and that's what we have to ask for. We have to run the ball and we'll get those passing yards."

Coach Dennis Erickson went with a running back by committee approach for his first game and all showed some good things. When asked who is his favorite was, Sullivan had a pragmatic reply.

"Whoever gets the most yards, and whoever protects my blind-side," Sullivan mentioned. "Nah, we got those guys, they're all pretty good. Shawn DeWitty ran the ball very well tonight and Ryan Bass was lightning in a bottle. All those guys can make big plays, and if we have to play them all, we'll play them all.

"It was a lot of fun out there. We had a lot of fun out there. Coming out of that tunnel was pretty exciting with all the fog, fireworks going, and band running out on the field. I calmed myself down finally at some point, and finally got a win. I'm 1-0, that's all that matters."

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