It wasn’t a game that was expected to break them into the Top 25, but Thursday night’s tilt between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the UC Davis Aggies did exactly what it was supposed to.
Unlike the expected thriller of a game we’ll see from Oregon and LSU on Saturday, Thursday was much more of what is to be expected on the opening weekend of college football. It was a tuneup game.
The Sun Devils struck early and often, and didn’t look back the entire game. It took a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns from UC Davis to stave off a complete embarrassment, after the Devils cruised past the Aggies, 48-14.
Of course, in a game like Thursday’s, you want to see how the big names played. With little else to care about in a game that’s decided before the opening kickoff, how did they look?
Brock Osweiler looked as good as advertised. Granted, it was against an FCS defense, but his throws were crisp, and he was as mobile as we saw him last year against the Arizona Wildcats.
He only carried twice, but they went for 25 yards, one of them an 18-yarder. His biggest production came through the air, obviously, where Osweiler was 19-of-26 for 226 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and a pick, which came off of a deflection. It’s unknown if Osweiler would have played longer had it not been for cramps that took their toll in the third quarter, but he was pulled in favor of true freshman Mike Bercovici, after he threw his second touchdown strike to Aaron Pflugrad.
Cameron Marshall ran the ball hard, though he only touched it 11 times. Seven of those were on the ground, which went for just 23 yards, but he managed to turn four receptions into 86 yards. He also had two scores, both of which came on short gains on the ground.
Defensively, the Devils looked strong against the Aggies. At one point late in the second half, UC Davis had minus-8 yards rushing. It took some nice rushes in garbage time, including a 48-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, to give them the 88 they had for the game.
The man everyone loves to talk about, Vontaze Burfict, made sure everyone knew where he was on Thursday night. The junior linebacker notched three sacks on the evening.
It was certainly a good start for the Sun Devils, who donned their new look uniforms for the first time this season. We’ll get a full taste of the new Sun Devil brand next Friday, when ASU hosts Mizzou, in the much anticipated “Blackout” against the Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium.