Offensive improvement noticeable in victory

The much-anticipated debut of the new offensive scheme implemented by offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, proved successful as the Sun Devils humiliated the Portland State Vikings 54-9.

Quarterback Steven Threet looked effective and comfortable in his maroon and gold debut and with the help of the entire offensive unit, the group was able to score seven touchdowns which is the highest offensive output in the Dennis Erickson era in Tempe.

"I think we did well," Threet stated. "It started with the offensive line, I think they really dominated the line of scrimmage for us; they did a phenomenal job in the run game just opening up big holes for the backs. And then the passing game, protection and communication, everything was on point.

"There's always room for improvement and I think there were definitely some mistakes out there but overall I think we played a pretty good game."

Despite an impressive overall performance, the Sun Devil offense got off to a rocky start on their first drive when dropped passes caused them to go three and out. However, in their next offensive series, the unit rebounded with a 50-yard touchdown by running back Cameron Marshall.

"We just knew we had to bounce back from it," Threet said. "We went three and out the first time out, we had an incompletion, a false start and another incompletion and that's not a great way to start a drive. So, going three and out we just knew we had to put it together and we'd be fine."

Marshall scored a total of three touchdowns throughout tonight's matchup and posted 104 yards on the ground. The running back attributed his success to the help of his teammates making sure he had space to make plays.

"The holes were really open so a big shout out to the offensive line up there," Marshall said. "The tight ends were lead blocking and we just had a productive day rushing."

The Sun Devils relied on the effectiveness of their running game against the Vikings, which yielded positive results. Although there were glimpses of success in the passing game, Marshall considers the two to be dependent on one another.

"Definitely," Marshall admitted. "The better we run the ball the better we can pass the ball and the better our offense and vice versa, the better we pass the better we can run. The offense is deadly."

Threet was equally as pleased with the productivity of the running game, noting that without the offensive line, much of it wouldn't have been possible.

"The offensive line did a tremendous job," Threet noted. "And then these guys, you get the ball in their hands with space and they're tough to take down one on one, its not going to happen often."

Freshman running back Deantre Lewis made his debut during tonight's contest, proving that he will be an impactful player for the Sun Devils. Lewis caught two touchdown passes of 28 and 62 yards from Threet displaying his blazing speed in the process.

"It was a good job by Threet getting me the ball," Lewis commented. "We had good down field blocking by the receivers and I thank them very much for letting me get into the end zone.

"Basically, me and Threet were talking about it in the back, and I said, ‘give me the ball' and I did something with it downfield blocking and I had backside blocking by Kerry Taylor and they lead me in the end zone (on his 62-yard score)."

During Threet's first appearance as a Sun Devil, the quarterback went 14 of 21 and had 237 passing yards. After spending last year on the scout team, Threet was eager to get back on the field and proved during tonight's performance that he has what it takes to lead the Sun Devils to victory.

"I was just anxious to get back on the field to be honest with you," Threet said. "It's been a long time since I've gotten to play in a game so it was just a lot of fun to get back out with the guys and have a chance to compete and have it count."

Since last spring the maroon and gold have worked to learn the new offensive, a no-huddle and fast-paced scheme. The unit was able to successfully execute well while playing with a high tempo throughout the contest.

"We were playing pretty fast," Threet commented. "I think we can play faster definitely but I think we did a good job of getting lined up and getting the plays off pretty quick."

"I think it is a great tempo," Marshall said. "Like Steven said, I think we could play a little faster too but it puts us at a greater advantage coming out there and running every play pretty quickly. "

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