ASU Gameday: Idaho State preview - East Valley Tribune: News

ASU Gameday: Idaho State preview

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Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2009 10:55 pm | Updated: 1:20 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A look ahead at Arizona State's season opener Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium against the Idaho State Bengals.                                                                                                                      

Burfict cleared to play  |  ASU looks for fast start  |  Sullivan rarin' to go

Rose Bowl? No, any bowl will do for ASU  |  College football preview

Idaho State at Arizona State

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sun Devil Stadium

TV/Radio: FSN Arizona/Sun Devil Radio Network

Records: Idaho State 0-0; Arizona State 0-0

The skinny

Arizona State will be without six or seven players due to suspension. Included in that list is starting defensive end James Brooks (who will miss the first three games) and wide receiver Kerry Taylor. It is unknown which other players will not play. Touted freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict is also expected to miss the game as he waits for an NCAA ruling on his academic eligibility. The Sun Devils have a lot of youthful talent, and this game could should give a glimpse of their ability. Coach Dennis Erickson has said the offense will feature more passing this year. The Sun Devils might choose to air it out, but don’t look for many tricks in this one. Arizona State won’t want to give anything away for games later in the season. While injuries and suspensions are leaving the Sun Devils depleted, Idaho State shouldn’t pose much of a threat. The Bengals went 1-11 last year and are picked to finish last in the Big Sky Conference. Arizona State has won nine of its past 10 season openers and is 2-0 under Erickson in such games.

Three things to watch

• ASU quarterback Danny Sullivan: After three years of patiently biding his time, it is the senior’s first career start. Sullivan beat out Samson Szakacsy and Brock Osweiler in the spring and fall for the gig, and he’s desperate to show he can be a capable Pac-10 quarterback. Osweiler, a true freshman, will be the backup and could get some time late if the lead is big enough.

• The defense: It’s supposed to be bigger, stronger, faster and deeper than last year’s unit, which was pretty good. Injuries and suspensions to a few key players (Shelly Lyons, Lawrence Guy, James Brooks) might not allow the defense to run at full speed just yet, but it should still dominate Idaho State. The secondary is the biggest concern. Idaho State doesn’t have the speed and athleticism to beat ASU through the air all night, but the defensive backs must limit blown assignments, because those things can come back to bite you big time, especially in important Pac-10 contests.

• Chris McGaha and Gerell Robinson: Both wide receivers struggled last year, McGaha because of a lingering toe injury and Robinson because he was adapting as a true freshman to the college game. McGaha has looked healthy in camp and many have pointed to Robinson as the most improved player on the team. The running game will probably be average this season, and the offensive line has been hit hard by injuries, so the passing game must keep defenses honest. These are two players who can make big contributions, and they’d like to show that in the opener.

Projected starting lineups

Arizona State offense

WR — Gerell Robinson

LT — Shawn Lauvao

LG — Jon Hargis

C — Garth Gerhart

RG — Mike Marcisz

RT — Matt Hustad

TE — Dan Knapp

WR — Kyle Williams

QB — Danny Sullivan

RB — Dimitri Nance

WR — Chris McGaha

Arizona State defense

DE — Dean DeLeone

DT — Lawrence Guy

DT — Saia Falahola

DE — Dexter Davis

OLB — Travis Goethel

MLB — Gerald Munns

OLB — Mike Nixon

CB — Omar Bolden

FS — Jarrell Holman

SS — Keelan Johnson

CB — Pierre Singfield

Idaho State offense

WR — Jaron Taylor

LT — Braeden Clayson

LG — Lance Cartwright

C — Ryan Henry

RG — Mitch Rudder

RT — Brad Shedd

TE — Josh Hill

WR — Isaiah Burel

QB — Kyle Blum

RB — Clint Knickrehm

WR — J.D. Ponciano

Idaho State defense

DE — Jeff Tuua

NT — Demetrius Amos

DT — Jason Jones

DE — Sean Rutten

OLB — Daniel Urias

MLB — J.T. Albers

OLB — A.J. Storms

CB — Keith McGowan

FS — Chris Holmesly

SS — Dustin Tew

CB — Michael Wright

Arizona State schedule

9/5    Idaho State    Sun Devil Stadium    7 p.m.

9/19     Louisiana-Monroe    Sun Devil Stadium    7 p.m.

9/26    Georgia    Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.)    TBA

10/3    Oregon State     Sun Devil Stadium    TBA

10/10    Washington State    Martin Stadium (Pullman, Wash.)    TBA

10/17    Washington    Sun Devil Stadium    7:15 p.m.

10/24    Stanford    Stanford Stadium (Palo Alto, Calif.)    7:15 p.m.

10/31    California    Sun Devil Stadium    TBA

11/07    USC    Sun Devil Stadium    6 p.m.

11/14    Oregon    Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Ore.)    TBA

11/21    UCLA    Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)    TBA

11/28    Arizona    Sun Devil Stadium    TBA

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