ASU's Graham pleased with early play
What is surprising is the nature in which they've posted that record. ASU pounded in-state neighbor Northern Arizona 63-6 to open the season before routing Illinois last Saturday by the count of 45-14.
So, is new head coach Todd Graham surprised by the early-season developments.
"I really thought that if we played well, we'd win the first two games, even though Illinois -- we dominated them. It was a lot easier than I anticipated," Graham told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Monday. "I do think my guys have exceeded my expectations when it comes to really, really focusing on not taking stupid penalties."
The Sun Devils had earned the reputation being an undisciplined team under previous head coach Dennis Erickson. After all, ASU ranked dead last in FBS last season in terms of penalty yardage per game. In Erickson's last four seasons, they were in the bottom 12 in that category each season.
Through two games, ASU has averaged only 17.5 yards in penalties, which is 6th-best in the nation. In 2011, the Sun Devils racked up an average of just under 80 penalty yards per contest.
"You see guys that could take a hit on a quarterback that don't. You see a player that could hit a guy on the sideline that would be questionable on the sideline that doesn't," Graham said.
Once again, the level of competition gets stepped up for the Sun Devils in week three as they travel to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers -- now members of the SEC.
"We've got the toughest game yet coming up against a Missouri team that I haven't seen anybody stop them on film yet except themselves," he said. "They turned the ball over against Georgia late -- I think they would have won that game.
"We've got a heck of a challenge in front of us."
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