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Arizona State defense stepping up early in season

The Sun Devils defense has been the driving force behind their 4-1 start in 2012.

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Arizona St. Sun Devils are off to a great start in 2012. They are 4-1 this season. with their lone loss coming on the road to Missouri, and they've made quick work of their first two conference foes with double-digit wins over Utah and California.

SB Nation's ASU blog, House of Sparky, took a look at how the offense and defense stack up statistically against the other FBS teams in the nation. While the offense has been pretty pedestrian, the defense has been superb. The Sun Devils rank seventh in passing offense, surrendering an average of just 137 yards per game through the air. They also rank 14th in scoring defense, giving up 13.6 points per game thus far.

Be sure to check out House of Sparky for their complete statistical breakdown.

All of these stats are impressive, but there is something to mention here: In ASU's five games, they've faced one quarterback that was projected as a starter at the beginning of the season. NAU, Illinois, Mizzou and Utah were all without their No. 1 QB when taking on the Devils, which was obviously a huge benefit to coach Todd Graham's team. It'll be interesting to see how the defense fares against some of the Pac-12's elite offenses in the second half of the year.