Arizona State Football needs all the help that it can get right now. After consecutive home losses to the No. 4 Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins, the Sun Devils need a big bounce-back victory to save their season. Injuries on the defensive side were piling up, but it looks like there is hope on the horizon with two standouts ready to return to action against Oregon State tomorrow night in Corvallis.
Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said Thursday that defensive star Will Sutton will most likely play on Saturday against No. 13 Oregon State after injuring himself in the first defensive series against Oregon on October 18th.
Sutton, the all-everything player for Arizona State, was on a tear through the season and was arguably one of the best defensive tackles not only in the conference but also in the country. Even after missing two straight games, he has 40 tackles, and his 8.5 sacks rank him tied for third in the nation; his 14 tackles-for-loss are fifth.He was also recently added to the Maxwell Award Watch List, an honor that is given out annually to the nation's most outstanding college player.
Graham said that he feels Sutton will be able to play about 75 percent of the game while rebuilding his strength. He has been limited in practice since the injury but having Sutton at 75 percent is likely better than most DT's in the country at 100 percent, so this is more than good news; this is incredible news for Arizona State Football.
Defensive end Junior Onyeali is also expected to return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him in the Oregon game as well. Onyeali, the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year, is looking to redeem himself after an abysmal sophomore year. After a knee injury sidelined him for four weeks last year, Onyeali was involved in a shouting match with then-coach Dennis Erickson and was suspended indefinitely.
With the arrival of new coach Todd Graham, Onyeali's suspension was upheld until he proved that he belonged on the team and respected the authority of the coach. Onyeali was reinstated prior to the season and has showed that he is a fighter and will do whatever is necessary for coach Graham and his teammates.
Also expected to play is linebacker Steffon Martin, who injured his elbow, and starting guard Andrew Sampson, who missed last week with an ankle injury, will be a game-time decision.
If this Arizona State team can get healthy and stay healthy, they can win in Corvallis. The Beavers struggled mightily against Washington last week with quarterback Sean Mannion returning from injury to throw four interceptions.
Their run game 111th in the country so I don't see them establishing anything against ASU. However, Sun Devils stud running backs D.J. Foster and Marion Grice are experiencing breakout seasons and I see another upset ready to shake the foundations of the Top 25.