Sun Devils have a ball-hawking defense

Oct 13, 2011, 8:02 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

There is no better team in the Pac-12 at forcing turnovers
than Arizona State, and only Rutgers and South Carolina
are better nationally.

The ASU defense, as expected, is making its presence felt
on the field.

The unit though got off to a slow start, forcing only one
turnover in the first two games (UC Davis, Missouri).
Since then the Sun Devil defense has taken the ball away
17 times, including five in each of the last two games.

The 18 total turnovers are one more than all of last
season.

“Turnovers are hard to categorize,” said linebacker Colin
Parker. “Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. You
don’t really know why.”

Parker, a senior out of Chandler Hamilton High School, has
one forced fumble while leading the team in tackles.

“I kind of think it’s a contagious feeling now. The
turnovers have started happening. It kind of gets in your
head. Other people are getting turnovers, I’m going to try
to get a turnover. I think it kind of feeds on itself.”

Parker and company have been on a roll during ASU’s three-
game winning streak, causing a conference-high 14
turnovers.

“It’s tremendous,” stated quarterback Brock Osweiler. “I
can’t even really explain how much it helps us out as an
offense.”

Last week against Utah, the Sun Devils forced three second
half turnovers, twice allowing Osweiler to begin a drive
on Utah’s side of the field.

“Anytime you have to go and score from your opponent’s
territory or have a short field, it’s a huge help; rather
than them punting and you have to drive the length of the
field.

“[Our defense] going out there and forcing all those
turnovers, it’s then our responsibility,” Osweiler added,
“to hold up our end of the agreement and go and turn those
into points.”

Turnovers will be key this week against Oregon, a team
that has lost only one turnover in three conference games
and five over the course of the season.

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
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Sun Devils have a ball-hawking defense