Arizona State defeats Portland State 54-9By JOHN MARSHALL, AP College Football Writer Sunday, Sep 5, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)—Cameron Marshall scored on three of his four first-half carries, and Arizona State used its quick-hitting offense to overwhelm Portland State in a season-opening 54-9 win over the Vikings on Saturday night.
Needing a good start after two lackluster seasons, Arizona State turned the first of consecutive games against Big Sky Conference schools into an early rout.
Marshall made the most of his limited opportunities, scoring on runs of 50, 38 and 5 yards to help the Sun Devils build a 30-6 halftime lead. Steven Threet looked sharp in his first start for Arizona State, throwing for a school debut record 239 yards and a pair of swing-pass touchdowns to Deantre Lewis, who added a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Zach Brown hit three field goals, including a 53-yarder in the first half, in Portland State’s first game under coach Nigel Burton.
Running new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s snap-it-quick offense for the first time live, Arizona State shook off a sloppy, three-and-out first series by getting the ball to Marshall.
The elusive sophomore had too much speed for Portland State, bursting through a big seam on the left side for his 50-yard score, then skirting a tackle at the line and dashing in on the 38-yarder. He closed the first half with a backward-tumbling TD, landing his backside on the goal line after being dumped by Portland State linebacker Joel Sisler.
Marshall finished with 104 yards on four carries.
Threet, a transfer from Michigan, got the starting call five days before the opener after winning a long, close battle with Brock Osweiler and Samson Szakacsy. The junior looked like the right choice against Portland State, rifling on-the-mark passes on long out patterns and touch throws down the sidelines.
Threet hit an uncovered Lewis on a swing pass for a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter, then feathered in a 37-yard, sideline-hugging pass to Kerry Taylor that set up Marshall’s third score. He added a 62-yard TD pass to Lewis on another swing pass to open the second half, sending the Sun Devils toward their highest point total in the Dennis Erickson era.
Portland State had mystery on its side going into the game, but not much chance once it started.
Facing a first-year coach made it tough for the Sun Devils to game plan, and Burton added to the what’s-he-going-to-do intrigue by refusing to name a starting quarterback in the days leading up to the game.
Not that it mattered.
Portland State wasn’t able to contain Arizona State’s speed on offense, and QB Connor Kavanaugh, the choice over seniors Drew Hubel and Tygue Howland, had nowhere to go in the air or on the ground.
The junior left-hander was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter and had one big pass play, hitting Ray Fry on a 62-yarder over the middle in the third quarter. He finished 12 for 23 for 146 yards with an interception and ran for 15 yards on 10 carries.
Portland State had 54 yards rushing on 29 carries.