The Arizona State football team left Columbia with a loss yet returned with positives to build upon. Being down 17-7 at the start of the second half at Faurot Field, Sutton and the entire defense knew they could not afford to give multiple touchdowns in the later stages of the contest.
The Sun Devils defense stepped up to the challenge.
The Tigers managed just seven points in the second half, were shut out in the fourth quarter, giving Arizona State many chances to get themselves back in the game.
“We just had to make it click in our heads,” Sutton commented about the second-half adjustments. “We came out slow at first, but picked it up towards the end. We felt that we dominated toward the end of the game but came up short.”
Overall, Sutton accumulated eight tackles with 23 yards for loss against the Missouri offense. He also had his third sack of the season on Tigers’ quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, already passing his 2011 total of two and a half sacks.
Undoubtedly impressive numbers for the junior tackle that has more than half of the season left to play.
“I am surprising myself,” Sutton admitted. “But at the same time I’m not. The coaches have told me if I practice at 100%, I will make as many plays as I possibly can. My pass rush has improved. I’ve already got as many sacks as I did last year. I am more physical than I was last year.”
Sutton and his standout performances in the 2012 season has caught the eye of head coach Todd Graham, who was quoted during the weekly press conference saying that Sutton was as good of a defensive player that he has ever seen, and not even close to being as good as he can be.
“It is an honor.” Sutton remarked. “It means a lot for him [Coach Graham] to say that because he has been coaching for so long and around so many players. For him to say something about me is more motivation.”
Another standout on this year’s defensive line next to Sutton is true freshman Jaxon Hood, who had his first collegiate sack against Missouri this past weekend. With Sutton now an upperclassmen, he has offered valuable advice for the true freshman; guidance that could be taken right out of Coach Graham’s handbook.
“With him [Jaxon Hood] being a freshman, he is going to be hard on himself.” Sutton commented. “He is going to want to make every play. I told him he is a D-I athlete now so you have to stay humble, watch film, and do the little things right.”
The Sun Devils now turn their attention to the new challenge at hand as they begin Pac-12 play and take on a Utah squad who is coming off a hard-fought win over #25 BYU. For the Arizona State defense to be successful, containing Utah’s run-game is imperative, as that aspect accounted for almost half of the Utes’ total offense.
“The O-line for Utah is a lot bigger and more physical,” Sutton noted about the differences between Utah and ASU’s recent opponents. “They are going to try to run the ball more. They have good running backs and we have to stop the run to be successful.”