Arizona State Football: 5 Things We Learned in ASU’s Victory vs. Portland St.
The ASU football season began Saturday night when the Sun Devils beat Portland State 54-9. Although the outcome was inspiring, there were some concerns that need to be addressed and were overshadowed because ASU was playing a team from the Big Sky conference.
Although ASU will play another Big Sky school in Northern Arizona University next week, they will need to improve offensively in order to compete in the Pac-10.
Saturday night’s game featured some good and some bad for the Sun Devils, but five things seemed to stand out.
Defense Is As Good As Advertised:
The ASU defense gave up some big plays on the first drive, but settled down and dominated the Vikings. The Sun Devil defense kept Portland State out of the end zone and limited them to three field goals. ASU also forced three turnovers, all interceptions, and recorded a safety.
The secondary showed some holes as it allowed 263 yards through the air, but the run defense was strong and only gave up 54 yards and an average of 1.9 yards per attempt.
There Is Depth In The Backfield:
ASU sophomore Cameron Marshall only had four carries in the game, but he made sure he made the most of them. Marshall rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 50, 38, and 5 yards.
True freshman Deantre Lewis also added 124 total yards, and three touchdowns (two receiving).
The Sun Devils combined to rush for 242 yards and five touchdowns as a team.
Drops Will Be a Problem:
The first offensive play of the game was a pass from Steven Threet which was dropped by Aaron Pflugrad.
ASU had numerous drops throughout the game, which is something that is inexcusable. Whether they are a result of playing with a new quarterback or first game jitters it is something that needs to be fixed. The most reliable receiver was running back Deantre Lewis who had three receptions for 100 yards.
If ASU wants their new quick strike offense to be effective all season, they will need to get more production out of the receiving corps.
Noel Mazzone’s Offense Is An Improvement:
Despite the drops, the Sun Devils had a productive day on offense. The ASU offense totaled 553 total yards of offense and 52 points (other two points scored by the defense on a safety). They averaged 6.9 yards per rush and 15.6 yards per completion.
This may have been more of a result of playing Portland State rather than a result of an improved offense, but either way it was a welcome sight for Sun Devil fans who had not seen that kind of offensive production for years.
The Sun Devils Finally Have a Quarterback:
After a quarterback battle lasted all spring and summer, ASU finally named Steven Threet as the starting quarterback.
After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Threet made his ASU debut yesterday and pleased ASU fans.
Threet threw for a school debut record 239 yards and added two touchdown passes. His numbers could have been higher if not for the drops, but overall Threet looked sharp with the exception of his one interception.