If you’ve watched any Arizona State games this season you know defensive tackle Will Sutton is a big-time playmaker who will one day use those skills to play in the NFL.
On the first offensive play from scrimmage he stormed the Oregon backfield jarring the ball loose from quarterback Marcus Mariota. Defensive end Davon Coleman recovered and the Devils were in business.
The roar at Sun Devil Stadium quickly subsided when ASU trainers rushed the field as Sutton writhed in pain on the turf.
It would be the last time Sutton would see the field as the Ducks dismantled defensive coordinator Paul Randolph’s defense rolling to a 43-7 halftime lead before cruising to an easy 43-21 win.
The loss of their defensive leader was too much to overcome explained senior safety Keelan Johnson.
“Will is one of our impact players,” he said in the post-game press conference. “He can put pressure on the quarterback and make everybody’s job in the back half [of the secondary] easier.”
Without Sutton clogging the middle and wreaking havoc, Mariota and running back Kenyon Barner gashed the Devils interior defense rolling up 329 total yards by halftime. Barner rushed 14 times for 136 yards and three scores while the redshirt freshman quarterback from Hawaii added 135 and a score before intermission.
Oregon finished with 454 total yards playing most of the second half with reserves.
“When we lost Will,” head coach Todd Graham said, “we were scrambling and they did a great job of capitalizing on that. That was tough.”
Sutton spent most of the first half on the trainer’s table icing his right knee. He was later seen on crutches watching the Ducks demoralize one of the Pac-12’s stingiest defenses with quick-strike drives or 15-play, 78-yard grinders like they did late in the second quarter.
After the game Graham said he would know more on the severity of the injury after the MRI on Friday.