Arizona State Football: The 5 Game Balls for the Sun Devils' Win over Colorado
Coming off their Week 8 bye, the Arizona State Sun Devils were in complete control of their destiny. At 5-2, with a 3-1 conference record, the Sun Devils had a clear path to the Pac-12 South division crown and a berth in the conference title game.
The road ahead was even more favorable, with all five games against teams that would be underdogs to the Devils.
First up on the slate was 1-7 Colorado, who was in the midst of a disastrous start to their tenure in the Pac-12. Riddled with injuries, it was expected to be an easy night for ASU.
And it was.
The Sun Devils started fast and never let up, winning 48-14. Here now are the game balls awarded to the five biggest difference makers from Saturday.
No. 5: Clint Floyd
One of the major reasons that the ASU defense has now forced 24 turnovers over the last six games has been safety Clint Floyd.
Floyd is having the best season of his ASU career, and he added to his impressive credentials on Saturday with another string effort.
He made five tackles and had a second quarter interception at the goal line that he returned 31-yards to end a Buffalo threat.
It was his third interception of the season, to go along with 38 tackles and two forced fumbles.
No. 4: Vontaze Burfict
Some people may be jumping off the Vontaze Burfict bandwagon after his solid, yet unspectacular, play thus far has failed to live up to the massive preseason hype.
However, he took a strong step towards silencing those naysayers with an excellent game on Saturday.
He led the team with nine tackles, but it was his performance during a goal line stand that earns him the game ball.
Colorado had a first and goal at the ASU three yard line. They ran it four straight times but were denied points, thanks in part to three Burfict tackles.
No. 3: The ASU Offensive Line
The ASU offensive line has received a lot of criticism this season for their uneven pass protection and outright bad run blocking.
Both of those areas were excellent on Saturday against an undermanned Buffalo defensive front.
The real gem was the run blocking. ASU ran for 207 yards as a team, their second highest total of the season, including 114 by Cameron Marshall, and the team averaged 5.8 yards-per-carry. They generated consistent pushes off the ball and Marshall was completely untouched on two of his touchdown runs.
They also kept a ferocious Colorado pass rush at bay, allowing Brock Osweiler to pass for 307. They allowed two sacks on the day, but for the most part Osweiler was able to take his time and progress through his reads, evidenced by 10 Devils making a reception.
No. 2: Brock Osweiler
Brock Osweiler has had a terrific debut season as the Sun Devils' starting quarterback. He's played his best in the biggest games, but has had some struggles against the lesser teams on ASU's schedule.
That was not the case against Colorado, who came into the game with the 114th ranked passing efficiency defense.
Given ample time by the terrific offensive line, Osweiler picked apart the Buffaloes. He showed off excellent arm strength and accuracy on his two touchdown tosses, the first a 25-yard strike to Jamal MIles and the second a beautiful 33-yard lob to Kevin Ozier.
For the day, he completed 18 of 28 passes for 307 yards with two touchdowns and he did not have an interception.
No. 1: Cameron Marshall
The workhorse of the Sun Devil offense, junior running back Cameron Marshall was having an excellent season, with a conference leading nine rushing touchdowns. However, he's battled gimpy ankles over the last several weeks, an issue that was hoped to be fixed with the bye week.
Oh, it was.
Marshall displayed his rare combination of speed and power as he topped 100-yards for the second time this season, and had three touchdowns for the second time as well.
With 12 rushing touchdowns, Marshall continues to lead the Pac-12 and is tied for seventh in the nation.