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Six Points: Devils pound overmatched Buffs 48-14

The bye week did Arizona State some good.

Dennis Erickson’s 21st-ranked Sun Devils were saddled with
a 14-point
loss to the Oregon Ducks two weeks ago. Two full weeks of
marinating
in that feeling of defeat. Two weeks of agonizing over
plays that could
have been made and opportunities missed.

But once the Devils ran through Tillman Tunnel and onto
the field at Sun
Devil Stadium, they took those frustrations on the
overmatched
Colorado Buffaloes to the tune of 48-14 before a
Homecoming crowd of
53,168.

The Devils maintained their hold on the Pac-12 South with
the win, moving
their overall record to 6-2 and 4-1 in conference.
Colorado fell to 1-
8 and 0-5 during their inaugural Pac-12 season.

Here are six things that stood out to me during Saturday’s
convincing Sun
Devil win…

1

Bowl Eligibility! – In the grand scheme
of things, if
you’re a supporter of a halfway decent college football
program, you
shouldn’t be all that jazzed about reaching six wins and
gaining bowl
eligibility. But if you’re a supporter of a program that
has endured a three-
year bowl drought, that’s something to be excited about,
and that’s what
the Sun Devils accomplished on Saturday.
For the most part, I think bowl games are cockamamie
rewards, often times
rewarding the truly mediocre. But failing to be mediocre
enough to
reach a bowl game is far worse than getting to play a
trumped-up
exhibition game.

2

The business-like approach – What
initially impressed
me on Saturday was the total lack of hangover from the
Oregon loss
or rust from the bye week. Arizona State took the field,
and dominated the
first 15 minutes, building an insurmountable 21-0 lead.
The first
offensive drive for the Devils was a thing of beauty–five
plays, 66 yards in
less than two minutes culminating in a Brock Osweiler to
Jamal Miles
touchdown pass.
In that machine-like first quarter, ASU’s offense rolled
up 222 yards of
offense on their way to a season-high 522 yards.

3

Osweiler’s stellar night – A lot of that
business-like
approach from the offense was the responsibility of
Osweiler, who came
out of the gates on fire, hitting on his first six passes
for 95 yards. All six
went to different receivers; Aaron Pflugrad, Mike Willie,
Miles, Gerell
Robinson, A.J. Pickens and Chris Coyle were the first six
recipients of
Osweiler’s generous field awareness.
In all, Osweiler had an impressive game, completing 18 of
28 passes for
307 yards and two touchdowns, for a passing efficiency
mark of 179.96,
and spread the ball to ten different receivers.

4

A defense with a nose for the football
Clint Floyd and
Keelan Johnson each came up with interceptions and Brandon
Johnson,
Grandville Taylor and George Bell recovered fumbles for
the Devils, who
continue to pile up turnovers.
In their last five games, the Devils have forced 21
turnover by opponents
and are a gaudy +14 in turnover ratio.
Safety Clint Floyd, who had a pick in the 2nd quarter that
stalled a Colorado
drive at the ASU 3-yard line, thinks it’s contagious.
“Once somebody gets a
turnover, somebody else on the team wants to get one as
well,” he said
following the game. “I just think everybody on the
defense is challenging
each other, and that’s making us better.”
I’ll say. The Sun Devils already led the Pac-12 in
turnover ratio, and
Saturday’s +4 performance pushes their season total to
+12.

5

Almost Burfict – Vontaze Burfict, the
much talked-
about and in some cases, much-maligned middle linebacker
of the Sun
Devils had arguably his best game of the season on
Saturday night. Burfict
was all over the field, tying a season-high with 9
tackles.
And he looked like his old, dominant self during a goal-
line stand in the
3rd quarter. Colorado had a first and goal at the Sun
Devils’ 3-yard line,
and the ASU defense rose to the occasion on four straight
running plays,
with Burfict involved in the tackle on three of those
plays.
After stuffing Tony Jones on 4th down at the 1-yard line,
the always
emotional Burfict ripped his helmet off in celebration,
drawing a dead-ball
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It turned out to be
about a six-inch
penalty. I think all Sun Devil fans can live with that
lapse of judgment.

6

Fashion Police – ASU wore yet another
uniform
combination that they had yet to sport in 2011–black
helmets, black
jerseys, gold pants. The look gave off a very Steeler-
esque vibe. Not a bad
team to emulate, and actually a good luck considering the
almost-complete
lack of traditional maroon in the uniform.
The ASU rebrand made waves nationwide when it was unveiled
in the
Spring. I liked it then. I like it even more now that
we’ve seen so many
different combinations on the football field.