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Football steamrolls UC Davis

IT'S TIME: The ASU Sun Devils take the field before Thursday night's game against UC Davis.  The Sun Devils came out on top 48-14. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)
IT'S TIME: The ASU Sun Devils take the field before Thursday night's game against UC Davis. The Sun Devils came out on top 48-14. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

Check out a slideshow from Thursday's victory over UC Davis!

Nine months of built-up energy and frustration from a lost 2010 season unleashed itself Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

And UC Davis was the ASU football team’s crash test dummy.

The Sun Devils (1-0) totaled 517 yards of offense while holding the FCS Aggies (0-1) to 214 in a 48-14 runaway win in front of 45,671 fans to open their 2011 campaign.

“We came out and played pretty well on both sides of the football,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “We have to play better next week but I thought we played a lot more disciplined than we had previously.”

For a team that had so much hype surrounding it in the offseason, finally performing for 60 minutes of football felt like a needed relief.

“Getting out there is the only way you can learn,” Erickson said. “Now we get a chance to look at the good and bad things we did and correct them. I would like thinking we will be a lot better next week but that’s why you play, so you can get better.”

ASU junior running back Cameron Marshall got the scoring started with two first quarter two-yard touchdown runs to give the Sun Devils an early 14-0 lead.

He finished the game with 23 yards rushing and a career-high 86 yards receiving.

“The first couple times I got the ball there were huge holes out there,” Marshall said. “The offensive line did their thing tonight.”

ASU senior wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Brock Osweiler on the first play of the second quarter to put the Sun Devils ahead 21-0.

The first three ASU scoring drives of the game lasted a total of three minutes and 28 seconds.

“We had times when we were flowing pretty well,” Osweiler said. “For the first night, I was happy with everything.”

After an Alex Garoutte 49-yard field goal to end the first half, ASU junior Jamal Miles returned the opening kickoff of the second half 98 yards for a touchdown.

“Jamal is very special,” Erickson said. “We have some talent back there. Our return game has been good for a couple years and that’ll be big for us. Hopefully we can win on special teams every week.”

Pflugrad caught another scoring pass from Osweiler and Garoutte added a 25-yard field goal to put ASU up 41-0 over the Aggies at the end of the third quarter.

ASU redshirt freshman running back Marcus Washington added the final Sun Devil score of the game with a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

UC Davis avoided the shutout in the waning minutes of the night with a Nick Aprile 48-yard rush down the middle of the Sun Devil defense followed by a one-yard touchdown run by Josh Reese.

Both scores came after ASU made substitutions for its starters.

Osweiler finished his night 19-of-26 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

He also scrambled for 25 yards.

“I thought he was very accurate for the most part,” Erickson said. “He threw the one pick but he handled the huddle extremely well and showed great leadership. He did what he should have done in this game.”

Freshman backup quarterback Mike Bercovici took over for Osweiler late in the third quarter and completed one of his two passes for seven yards.

Redshirt freshman signal caller Taylor Kelly played the final five minutes of the game and went 4-for-4 for 31 yards.

“Both (of the backup quarterbacks) had their moments,” Erickson said. “We didn’t do a lot of things with them though. We were trying to run the clock down but they did some pretty good things.”

ASU junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict began his much-anticipated season with three sacks on UC Davis sophomore quarterback Randy Wright.

In all, the Sun Devil defense tallied six tackles for loss against the Aggies.

“Our first unit came out early in the game and played real well,” ASU redshirt senior linebacker Colin Parker said. “There were a lot of blitzes in the game plan. When we got in I felt like it was time to show it off.”



Osweiler fell to the ground twice after plays with cramps in his legs.

He walked off the field both times.

“I just have to be better with my hydration during the week,” Osweiler said. “Tonight was a new experience for myself. Never in my life have I had those.”

ASU senior right tackle Aderious Simmons left the game on crutches with a sprained ankle in the first half.

“It’s not a high ankle sprain,” Erickson said. “So he could be back next week.”

Freshman safety Ezekiel Bishop suffered an ACL tear and will miss the remainder of the season.

“The doctor has to look at it again tomorrow but it was a tough deal,” Erickson said. “It’s unfortunate. But you get tired of seeing it. Those are the things that bother me the most.”


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