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Lyons earns Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

HONORED: Senior linebacker Shelly Lyons trots back to the Pat Tillman Tunnel after the first half of the Sun Devils’ 43-22 victory over USC. Lyons was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance on Saturday. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)
HONORED: Senior linebacker Shelly Lyons trots back to the Pat Tillman Tunnel after the first half of the Sun Devils’ 43-22 victory over USC. Lyons was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance on Saturday. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

Southern California had already made one double-digit comeback Saturday.

And when ASU redshirt freshman kicker Alex Garoutte kicked the ball out of bounds after a Sun Devil touchdown to go up 14 points, the Trojans were set up in prime field position to start another rally.

But on the very next play, ASU linebacker Shelly Lyons put away any of USC’s hope with the biggest play of his college career.

The senior picked off junior Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley and returned the ball 41 yards for a Sun Devil touchdown.

Lyons was rewarded Monday by being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

“Shelly made some really good plays, not just the interception,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “He tackled and he played well.”

The linebacker also recorded four tackles Saturday, including one for a two-yard loss in ASU’s 43-22 win.

“I can’t even describe it, there are no words,” Lyons said about his performance. “My whole family was watching, everyone I know.”

 

Bolden recovering

ASU redshirt senior cornerback Omar Bolden has healed rapidly since suffering a torn ACL in spring practice.

The Sun Devil captain is ahead of the timetable most expected him to follow.

Because of the progress, there’s some renewed optimism he might play a role in 2011.

“He’s got a chance to return,” Erickson said. “I feel like after the bye week that he has a chance to come back and play.”

ASU’s first game after its week off comes Oct. 29 at home against Colorado.

Although there’s a lot of hope, because of the fickle nature of an ACL injury, no one’s getting ahead of themselves with Bolden.

“It’s up to Omar though,” Erickson said. “He’s the only one that can tell about his body, so he’s got to make that decision. When you’re a corner, there’s change of direction a lot.”

 

Ranked again

After falling out of the Top 25 when they lost to Illinois, the Sun Devils returned to one of the major polls Sunday.

ASU is No. 25 in the Associated Press rankings.

The Sun Devils received the third most votes among teams not ranked in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

 

Injury update

ASU sophomore cornerback Osahon Irabor suffered a mild concussion against USC but is expected to play Saturday versus Oregon State.

Junior running back Cameron Marshall scored three touchdowns against the Trojans, but is still bugged by a nagging ankle injury.

“He’s been bothered by it since the first day of two-a-days,” Erickson said. “But he’s fought through it.”

Reach the reporter at tyler.emerick@asu.edu

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