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Arizona State beats UC Davis 48-14

September 02, 2011

Brock Osweiler threw two touchdown passes to Aaron Pfugrad before leaving with leg cramps, Cameron Marshall ran for two more scores and Arizona State opened the season with a 48-14 blowout of UC Davis, Sept. 1.

Arizona State dominated UC Davis from the start, rolling up 517 total yards while holding the FCS Aggies in check until the backups gave up a couple of late scores. Osweiler was sharp in his first home start, throwing for 262 yards before limping off following a 13-yard touchdown pass to Pflugrad midway through the third quarter.

Marshall scored on a pair of 2-yard runs in the opening quarter to get Arizona State off to fast start and Jamal Miles made it a runaway by opening the second half with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, giving the Sun Devils some momentum before facing No. 21 Missouri next week.

With new pitchforked logos on their helmets and speed everywhere, Arizona State headed into the season with high expectations. Not the we-can-have-a-winning-record kind, either. The Sun Devils have a legitimate belief they can get to the inaugural Pac-12 Championship, maybe earn a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Coming off three bowl-less seasons, Arizona State returned 20 starters, including high-energy junior Vontaze Burfict, one of the nation's best linebackers, and Osweiler, who played the final two games a year ago.

The Sun Devils pulled off the commanding win despite a few key pre-season injuries. Starting cornerback Omar Bolden tore his ACL in spring practice, linebacker Brandon Magee blew out his Achilles' tendon in the preseason and running back Deantre Lewis, the second-leading rusher a year ago, still hasn't returned after being hit in the leg in a random shooting in February.

Even with the losses, the Sun Devils were expected to be among the elite teams in the new Pac-12.

They certainly looked good against UC Davis, racing over the Aggies in a brutally hot night; 104 degrees at kickoff.

Osweiler hit Marshall on a swing pass that went for 47 yards on Arizona State's first play, and Marshall punched it in from 2 yards out two plays later. Time of drive: 62 seconds.

Next drive, set up by Tom Hemmingsen's muffed punt, took 69 seconds, capped by another 2-yard run by Marshall.

Osweiler got his first TD pass of the season on the first play of the second quarter, hitting Pflugrad on a 31-yard post. That drive took a little longer: 77 seconds.

Arizona State's offense bogged down after that, hurt by Rashad Ross' fumble, a turnover on downs and a couple of momentum-killing penalties. Alex Garoutte finished the half off nicely, though, hitting a 49-yard field goal, then Miles took the second-half kickoff for a zigzagging touchdown romp to make it 31-0.

Osweiler tacked on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Pflugrad at the edge of the end zone midway through the third quarter, then limped off with his right leg straightened. He finished 19 of 26 with an interception.

UC Davis fullback Nick Aprile broke up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Josh Reese added a 1-yarder midway through, but by then it was far too late for the Aggies.