ASU getting pass rush help

Oct 26, 2011, 3:10 AM | Updated: 4:10 am

Teams always believe they can get more pressure on the quarterback. ASU believes they’ll be able to do just that with the return of sophomore defensive end Junior Onyeali.

“Having Junior back (Saturday against Colorado) makes a big difference,” explained head coach Dennis Erickson.

Onyeali, who led the Sun Devils and all PAC-10 freshmen with 6.5 sacks last season, is coming off left knee surgery. He suffered a meniscus tear in the knee early in the game at Illinois and has not played since.

“You get in long yardage,” Erickson said, “and you put him out wide and let him pass rush he creates a lot to problems.”

ASU is fifth-best in the conference—tied with Utah, with 17 sacks. Only one player: Vontaze Burfict (4), has more than two sacks in the team’s first seven games.

Onyeali as a high school senior was the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year in the state of Colorado yet was allowed to leave the state by then Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins.

Erickson is glad the 5-11, 245-pound lineman chose the Sun Devils over TCU, Minnesota and Syracuse. “(Onyeali) plays with a great deal of energy.”

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