ASU Football Vs. Illinois: Osweiler, Pflugrad Ideal Road Roommates

Good chemistry between QB, receiver is indicative of Arizona State's chemistry as a team.

Brock Osweiler and Aaron Pflugrad are a couple of Montana boys who are roommates when the Sun Devils go on the road.

They like their peace and quiet. They like to read books. They were workout partners in the offseason before Arizona State's 2011 campaign began, running up South Mountain together or calling each other to play some catch and run some routes. 

Clearly the camaraderie and time spent together has paid off, and it's only been two games into the season. Pflugrad caught eight passes -- tied for most in a game in his college career -- for a career high 180 yards on the grand stage last Friday against Missouri.

Plenty of people across America got to see their chemistry.

"We understand the opportunity we have this year," Osweiler said Monday. "We're always on the same page."

Where other teammates might turn on the TV or do something else at the team hotel, Osweiler and Pflugrad are on the same wavelength. They read, and when finished, watch a movie. It's as quiet as Big Sky country.

There's almost a serene sense of confidence among the Devils, says Osweiler, bolstered by the big win over Missouri.

"What happened Friday night wasn't a surprise to me at all," Osweiler said. "Nothing beats hard work."

Which is exactly what ASU (2-0) faces Saturday in Champaign, Ill., when they face Illinois in a key non-conference road matchup. It's a chance to truly see if this ASU team is for real, as it is the first game on the road against a quality opponent.

Coach Dennis Erickson said the Fighting Illini are one of the fastest and most athletic teams in the Big Ten. 

"First game on the road, we'll find out what we're all about," Erickson said. "You can't rest, so we're just anxious to go play again."

Erickson and his staff has much of the summer to study Illinois, as it didn't make major changes to its coaching staff. 

Offensive lineman Aderious Simmons is still out with an ankle injury and it appears doubtful he'll play Saturday. DL Davon Coleman is expected to play despite a sprained ankle. 

Asked if he's worried about a letdown after the emotional overtime win over Missouri, Erickson warned of what could happen. 

"We're going to have to play our rear ends (off) just to win the game," he said. "If we play to a letdown, we're not going to win. I don't think so. That's where leadership comes into play. When you come off a win, it's a lot easier playing a game then when you're coming off a loss."

Erickson, for good measure, added that poor tackling was the biggest thing that jumped out at him on film when reviewing the Missouri game. He said the Sun Devils must improve their open-field tackling.

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