The Devils accomplished what they wanted they set out to do on Saturday in a 38-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe, taking another step forward as the big road game against the Georgia Bulldogs looms next Saturday.
With two full weeks of practice to prepare for the Warhawks, the Sun Devils looked well prepared for the 3-3-5 defense and the speed the visitors boasted.
Quarterback Danny Sullivan improved greatly from his first career start against Idaho State, throwing his first touchdown of the season, setting a new career high in passing yards, and scoring his first career rushing touchdown.
“We knew we didn’t play that well in week one (the offense) and people say the biggest difference is made between week one and week two and we did that today,” Sullivan acknowledged. “Louisiana-Monroe is a good football team, they’ve got a good defense, they’re very fast, and I think we rose to the challenge, we put up points and made plays.
“It (the 3-3-5) is exactly what we expected I think having an extra week helped us a lot, and they try to confuse you and they did a good job at times. They caught us on some sacks, but I did a good job getting the ball out of my hand and letting those guys make plays.”
Last week Sullivan expressed how even though he was pleased with his first career start, he really wanted to throw a touchdown pass. Well he got it this week, and it came on a highlight reel play from his fellow senior Chris McGaha.
“Chris made a great play on it,” Sullivan stated. “I was coming out of it and had to shake that end and I saw Chris with his eyes wide open and he started walling off his guy, and I was like ‘I shouldn’t make this throw,’ but I did, so he made a nice play and seven points.”
Last game against Idaho State Sullivan showed off some of his underrated mobility, even breaking off a run of 17 yards. Today’s rushing performance wasn’t as successful with three carries for -14 yards, but he did get his first career rushing touchdown on a QB sneak from the one yard line. When asked whether the touchdown pass or run felt better, Sullivan wasn’t 100% percent sure.
“That’s a good question,” Sullivan said. “They feel the same, but the touchdown run was probably least expected, so maybe I’ll say the touchdown run.”
One of the unexpected problems that haunted Sullivan in week one against Idaho State was the dropped passes by his receivers. Most notably several drops, one of which for a touchdown by his sure handed slot-man, Kyle Williams. Williams looked motivated and determined to make up for it this week with 8 catches for 129 yards, and Sullivan noticed.
“Definitely, he (Williams) told me after the game on Sunday that he was gonna make up for it somehow, and I don’t know what his stats were, but I know he probably had about eight catches, and a lot of yards. He broke some tackles and got some extra yardage for us,” Sullivan pointed out.
One position group that had some room for improvement after week one was the offensive line. They still gave up a few sacks and the running game only averaged 3.5 yards per carry average, but Sullivan remains upbeat about his group.
“Very confident. We’re going to have mistakes, it happens,” Sullivan mentioned. “But I’m pretty confident in them (the O-line), and we’re getting the ball out of our hands, to Kyle, Chris, Kerry, even our tight ends, and letting those guys make plays in space so it takes pressure off them.”
One good way to take pressure off of an offense is to spot them a touchdown before they even take the field, and Omar Bolden took that upon himself to execute that task tonight with an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game.
“We kept talking about how they were gonna make up for it because they wanted one on week one and they finally got it this week,” Sullivan declared. “So they held their word and did a good job. It took some pressure off me on that offensive drive when we started, and it was alright.”
Now at 2-0, and successfully avoiding an upset before meeting up with much tougher competition, ASU can look forward to a trip to Athens, and creating a possible upset of their own.
“It was definitely heart-wrenching in that UNLV game and we learned from it going into this year,” Sullivan admitted. “It’s all we talked about the last two weeks is don’t fall into the trap game, and Louisiana-Monroe is a good team and they could give us hell. And when then game’s over and you’re celebrating the victory, then you can talk about Georgia.”