Devils dominant in season opener

Even when playing such an inferior opponent as Portland State, some wondered if the ASU offense was going to be effective under a new scheme and truly be the high octane unit many projected it to be in 2010. A 54-9 victory over the Vikings was certainly not surprising but at the very least validated some of the expectations that were put on this side of the ball.

The 54 points scored by the Sun Devils (1-0) are the most for ASU in the past 49 games, and quarterback's Steven Threet's 237 yards passing is the most by an ASU signal caller in the first game of his Sun Devil career. Running back Cameron Marshall was impressive as well scoring on three of his four carries Saturday night against Portland State (0-1) and collecting 104 yards in the process. Deantre Lewis caught three passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns

"No disrespect to anybody, but we had some speed out there that they had a little trouble matching up with," Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson said, "and we were able to take advantage of that. Since I've been here, 54 points is I think the most we've scored since we've been here. The kids have confidence, and the thing about that offense is that you can run the football, and we ran the football extremely well.

"Obviously Cameron Marshall played extremely well. He gives us a pretty good balance depending on what people do, and the great thing about it is that you can see it and try to take advantage of people in the box, and when you have a chance to be successful running it. Our quarterbacks ran it pretty good when they had the opportunity too."

ASU's first possession was clearly no indication for what was about to come. Three dropped passes by the Sun Devil wide receivers forced ASU to punt on their first possession, but ultimately that was the last time the hosts ended a drive with that special teams unit on the field.

ASU scored a touchdown in five of their next six possessions, while the defense would never surrender a touchdown, and recorded three interceptions and a safety (via an intentional grounding penalty on the end zone). The game was never in doubt.

Four of the Devils' touchdowns were 28 yards or more, which is just more proof that this ASU offense can be one the most explosive units Tempe has ever seen.

The defensive supremacy was another expectation from this contest and once again the Devils delivered. The visitors had just 263 total yards with all but 83 coming in the second half when ASU had a commanding lead. The maroon and gold had eight tackles for loss and forced Portland State to punt five times and be scoreless for the last 25 plus minutes of the game.

An unlikely player, linebacker Colin Parker, paced the ASU defense with seven total tackles (all unassisted) including two stops for a loss.

There were some other blemishes in ASU's victory aside from the aforementioned dropped passes. The Sun Devils' penalty issues reared their ugly head once again as they committed 11 infractions for 93 yards. Senior kicker Thomas Weber's 52-yard field goal was one yard short of his career-long, but his miss from 33 yards would have to eventually be proven to be an aberration and quiet any fears about his ability to be a reliable kicker again.

But for now the mission has been accomplished and was largely done in the convincing fashion that it was expected to be carried out. Not a ho-hum occurrence in Tempe. Not after the last two years.


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