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ASU football plays Host to UNLV

September 09, 2008
 NOTES: Game 3 - Stanford (pdf)
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Date: Saturday, September 13, 2008
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT
Site: Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) - Tempe, Ariz.
Television: FSN Arizona
   Play-by-Play: Trey Bender
   Color: Former ASU All-American Juan Roque
   Sideline: Jody Jackson
Sun Devil Radio: 620 KTAR AM & 92.3 KTAR FM
   Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
   Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst 
   Sideline: Amy Bender 


• Senior is putting his name in the Sun Devil record books, climbing the charts in several significant passing categories
• Carpenter had a string of 10-consecutive completions against Stanford
• Senior Mike Jones returns from a summer of Minor League Baseball to improve on his 10-touchdown campaign in 2007
• Arizona State has now now played nine true freshmen this season, tied for the most in school history with the 1994 team
• Seven members of the team have already earned their undergraduate degrees
• The Sun Devils were picked to finish second in the Pac-10 in the annual West Coast Media Poll. USC was picked to win the conference the seventh year in a row.


After a 41-17 win over Stanford in its Pac-10 opener, Arizona State hosts its third straight opponent as it welcomes UNLV to Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night, Sept. 13. UNLV enters the contest 1-1 following a 42-21 loss at Utah in their Mountain West Conference opener. Against Stanford, Rudy Carpenter threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns, his second straight game throwing for over 300 yards. Dimitri Nance and Keegan Herring each ran for a score in the win over the Cardinal. Dexter Davis added two more sacks for the Sun Devils.

ASU is celebrating 50 years at Sun Devil Stadium, home stadium of the Arizona State University football team. The Sun Devils have a 244-84-3 record at Sun Devil Stadium, including a 7-1 mark in 2007. In 1996, the playing field was named Frank Kush Field, after the legendary Sun Devil coach. Sun Devil Stadium has played host to 35 Fiesta Bowls, two Insight Bowls and Super Bowl XXX. Over 16 million fans have seen the Sun Devils play at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action. The UNLV game can be heard on 92.3 KTAR FM.

FSN Arizona will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Rebels. Trey Bender and former ASU All-American Juan Roque will call the action from the booth while Jody Jackson handles the sideline duties.

This will be the first ever meeting between Arizona State and UNLV.

The Sun Devils overcame a 7-3 deficit after one quarter, outscoring the Cardinal 34-14 over the final three frames for a 41-17 win in ASU's Pac-10 opener. Rudy Carpenter was magnificent for the second straight week, throwing for 345 yards and three touchdowns, completing 75% of his throws. Mike Jones had six grabs for 79 yards and a score while Kerry Taylor added five catches 92 yards and a touchdown. Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance each ran for a score and Dexter Davis recorded two QB sacks. The Sun Devil defense allowed only 233 yards, forcing three Cardinal turnovers.

• With the victory, the Sun Devils improved to 16-9 all-time against Stanford and have won three in a row, outscoring the Cardinal, 120-23
• ASU scored 41 points for the second game in a row against Stanford (W, 41-3 last year)
• Arizona State is now 12-17-2 all-time in Pac-10 openers since it joined the Conference in 1978

Now in his fourth season under center, senior QB Rudy Carpenter is tied with Purdue's Curtis Painter for the most consecutive games starting at quarterback in college football. Carpenter has started 33 straight contests and has seen action in 37 career games. In the Pac-10 last year, only two other quarterbacks did not miss a game. But here is the most impressive nugget...when Jake "the Snake" Plummer started the final 40 games of his career that ended in 1996, ASU began a stretch in 1997 that ended in 2004 (nine seasons) in which eight quarterbacks made at least one start. Rudy took over in the eighth game in 2005 and has started every game since. He has started every game the past two seasons, as only Andrew Walter in 2003 did the same in the past 11 seasons.

Rudy Carpenter continues to be one of the top QBs in the Pac-10 Conference. Carpenter is the active Pac-10 leader in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards, touchdown passes and 300 yard games. Carpenter now has 69 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 8,731 yards in his ASU career. He currently ranks 14th all-time in Pac-10 history for passing yards, trailing Sun Devil legend Jake Plummer (1993-96) by 96 yards.

Rudy Carpenter now has 69 touchdown passes in his career. He is only the fourth Sun Devil all-time to throw at least 60 touchdowns, joining Andrew Walter (85), Jake Plummer (65) and Danny White (64). The 69 career TD passes is good for 9th most in Pac-10 history, one shy of Washington State's Jason Gesser (1999-2002) for 8th all-time.

Rudy is also climbing the Pac-10's All-Time Total Offense chart. Carpenter currently ranks 15th all-time in total offense, accumulating 8,586 total yards. He is 54 yards shy of USC's Rodney Peete (1985-88) for 14th all-time in conference history.

With his 733 passing yards in the first two weeks of the 2008 season, Rudy Carpenter has established a new standard for passing yards through the first two games in ASU history. The previous record was held by Sam Keller in 2005, when he threw for 669 yards against Temple and LSU.

Rudy Carpenter is 23-10 as the starting quarterback for Arizona State, the fourth most wins as a starter in school history. Danny White holds the all-time record for wins by a starting quarterback, going 30-3 from 1971 to 1973. Dennis Sproul is second with a 26-11 record from 1974-77. Carpenter passed Jeff Van Raaphorst, who went 21-9-1 from 1983 to 1986, with the win over NAU on August 30. He is one win shy of Jake Plummer for third place. Plummer went 24-16 from 1993 to 1996. Van Raaphorst, Plummer and Carpenter are the only three QBs in ASU history who have led the Sun Devils to a Pac-10 title.

Against NAU on August 30, Carpenter tied a 56-year old school by completing 13 consecutive passes. The only other Sun Devil to complete that many in a row was Dick Mackey, who accomplished the feat against San Diego Navy in 1952. The NCAA record is 24, held by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998 and Cal's Aaron Rodgers in 2004. Carpenter also had a string of 10 straight completions against the Cardinal.

Carpenter continues to etch his name into the ASU annals of passing history. He is now second in career completions with 635, third in attempts with 1,022, second in touchdowns with 69 and third in yards with 8,731.

Over his three seasons at Arizona State, Rudy Carpenter has found success achieved by few who wore maroon and gold. Carpenter has started three bowl games (2005 Insight, 2006 Hawai'i and 2007 Holiday), only the second quarterback in school history to accomplish that feat. Danny White is the only other, starting the Fiesta Bowl in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Rudy also joins Jeff Van Raaphorst (1986) and Jake Plummer (1996) as ASU quarterbacks to lead the Sun Devils to a Pac-10 title.

Carpenter isn't just highly ranked in the Pac-10, but in the nation as well. The senior signal caller ranks in the top five among active FBS quarterbacks in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is fourth in yards, 17 yards behind Missouri's Chase Daniel for third. He is second in touchdown passes, trailing only Texas Tech's Graham Harrell.

300 GAME
Carpenter's 345 yards against Stanford was his 11th career 300-yard game and second straight, tops among active Pac-10 quarterbacks. The Sun Devils are 8-3 when Rudy throws for over 300 yards, including a 6-0 mark at home. He has thrown for over 300 yards against nine different teams, including Northern Arizona on August 30. Washington State and Stanford are the only schools he has done it against twice.

Carpenter went 22-28 against NAU on August 30, a completion percentage of .786. It marked his second-highest career completion percentage in a game he had at least 20 passing attempts. His career best was in 2005 against Washington at Sun Devil Stadium, when he completed 27 of 34 passes for a .794 completion percentage. In that game he threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-20 victory. Against Stanford, Carpenter went 27-36, a 75% completion rate.

Carpenter's 388 yards against the Lumberjacks set a new school record for most passing yards in the first game of a season. Joe Spagnola held the previous record of 369 on Sept. 20, 1969 vs. Minnesota.

Entering his final season, Carpenter finds himself a candidate for several major awards. He is on the Watch List for the Maxwell Award, presented to the top player in college football, the Davey O'Brien Award, awarded to the best quarterback in the country, the Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year award.

The meeting with Stanford featured several firsts for some Sun Devils. OL Garth Gerhart and DE Jamaar Jarrett each made their Sun Devil debuts, becoming the 23rd and 24th ASU players to see their first action in Maroon and Gold in 2008. TE Dan Knapp made his first career reception, which just happened to be a two-yard touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter. Last season, TE Andrew PettesT.J. Simpson also grabbed his first career catch, an eight-yard gain from Rudy Carpenter. TB Shaun DeWitty saw his first game action since the 2006 Hawai'i Bowl. DeWitty redshirted in 2007. In addition, two Sun Devils recorded their first career interceptions. LB Gerald Munns picked off his first pass, despite playing with a cast on his hand, and CB Terell Carr also intercepted a Stanford pass. made his first career reception, which also went for a touchdown. WR

Nine true freshman have seen action so far in 2008, which ties the school record for most true freshmen to play in a single season. The 1994 team also had nine true freshmen see game action. The nine who have played this year are: WR Gerell Robinson, S Clint Floyd, RB Ryan Bass, CB Josh Jordan, LB Shelly Lyons, LB Brandon Magee, DL Lawrence Guy, SN Thomas Ohmart and DE Jamaar Jarrett. Six redshirt freshmen have also played this year: OL Adam Tello, LB Oliver Aaron, DE James Brooks, TE Dan Knapp, WR T.J. Simpson and OL Garth Gerhart.

Thirty-eigth letterwinners return from the 2007 Pac-10 championship squad, including seven starters on both sides of the ball. Rudy Carpenter returns for his fourth season as the signal caller for the Devils. Carpenter will have an experienced and talented receiving corps, led by Mike Jones and Chris McGaha. The two combined for 107 catches, 1,599 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2007. Keegan Herring returns to lead the running attack, and he will be teamed with Dimitri Nance and Shaun DeWitty in the backfield. Herring enters 2008 as the 10th-leading rusher in school history, gaining 2,234 yards in his career. Dexter Davis will lead a stout defense that finished as the third ranked unit in the Pac-10 last year. Davis has totaled 18.5 sacks in his two plus seasons in maroon and gold. Travis Goethel and Mike Nixon will anchor the group of linebackers, after the two combined for 129 tackles a season ago. Troy NolanThomas Weber returns on special teams, looking to improve on a 2007 campaign that saw him go 24-25 on field goals and handle the punting duties. is the leader of the defensive backfield after intercepting six passes in 2007, returning two of them for touchdowns. 2007 Lou Groza Award Winner

Senior WR Mike Jones has been a two-sport athlete at ASU for three years, spending his springs with the Sun Devil baseball team. But this summer was different for Jones, who was drafted in the 29th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Jones spent his summer in Tampa, Florida as a member of the Gulf Coast Yankees in the Rookie League. He appeared in 15 games, collecting nine hits, including five doubles. Jones showed no rust from his summer of baseball, hauling in a team-leading 12 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown. He had 162-yards against NAU on Aug. 30, his fourth career 100-yard game.

Arizona State boasts one of the top returning wide receiving corps in the Pac-10. Mike Jones, Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams all return for the Sun Devils, giving Rudy Carpenter and ASU a dangerous arsenal. Kerry Taylor has added himself to that arsenal, grabbing nine balls for 185 yards and two scores so far this year. Taylor had 53 receiving yards all of last season. The four wide receivers have combined for 178 receptions, 2,638 yards and 21 touchdowns dating back to last season. McGaha led the 2007 team with 61 catches for 830 yards, while Jones was the scoring leader, finding the end zone 10 times. He had 46 receptions for 769 yards to go along with the 10 TDs. Williams caught 29 passes for 360 yards and six scores.

Sophomore kicker Thomas Weber returns in 2008, hoping to duplicate one of the greatest seasons by a kicker in Arizona State history. The winner of the 2007 Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation's top placekicker, a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press and a First-Team All-Pac-10 honoree, Weber was sensationally consistent during his freshman season, connecting on 24-of-25 field goals (96.0 pct.), with a long of 53 yards. A three-time Pac-10 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week in 2007, Weber set numerous Sun Devil records in only his first college season, including a record streak of 17 made field goal attempts to begin the year (also a nation-leading streak for the season) and a nation-high accuracy rating. The Downey, Calif., product ranked first in the Pac-10, fifth in the nation and tied the Sun Devil single-season record for points by kicking (118) set by Mike Barth as a senior in 2002, while also placing sixth in the country with 1.85 made field goals per game. A sharpshooter off the kicking tee and in the classroom, Weber added First-Team Pac-10 All-Academic honors to his list of accomplishments as a rookie in 2007. In addition to his near-perfect kicking reputation, Weber took on the added challenge of taking over punting duties midway through the season and averaged 39.3 yards on 47 punts for the year. He has not missed a beat so far in 2008, as he is 5-5 thus far on field goal attempts, including a long of 36. Weber has now made 29 of the first 30 field goal attempts in his collegiate career. He has scored 23 points and has also punted seven times for an average of 43.3 yards a kick.

Junior defensive end Dexter Davis has wasted no time this season establishing himself as one of the best pass rushers in the Pac-10. Through the first two games, Davis has 4.0 QB sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 total tackles. He has started all 28 games in his Sun Devil career and has already totaled 20.5 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss and 78.5 tackles. Davis enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history in 2006, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News. The Phoenix, Ariz., native recorded a team-best and Pac-10 freshman season-high 6.0 quarterback sacks, the third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. He was just as impressive during his sophomore campaign, posting a team-leading 10.5 sacks, third most in the Pac-10. He was a Second Team All-Pac-10 selection after recording 33 total tackles, including 13.5 for loss. He also forced three fumbles and recovered another. Davis is on the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, the Nagurski Trophy and the Lombardi Award. His 20.5 sacks put him sixth in school history. Terrell Suggs is ASU's all-time sack leader, recording 44 from 2000 to 2002.

Seven members of the 2008 Sun Devil football team have already earned their degrees from Arizona State University. Rudy Carpenter, Mike Jones, Wes Evans, Angelo Fobbs-Valentino, Nate Kimbrough, Troy Nolan and David Smith have all graduated from Arizona State University.

Mike Nixon will be writing a weekly diary for The Sporting News about the 2008 season. He is one of 22 FBS student-athletes who will write the weekly column, and one of only two from the Pac-10. It can be read at

Arizona State has one of the smallest senior classes in the nation. ASU has 15 seniors on their roster, one of five teams with that amount. The others are Colorado, Nevada, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. Only 12 teams in the country have fewer seniors.

From the moment he set foot on ASU's campus, senior Keegan Herring has had a smile on his face and a hunger for yards. Over his three seasons with the Devils, Herring has been one of the most dependable backs in the Pac-10. He leads all Pac-10 returners with 2,293 career yards, good for 10th most in school history. One of the quickest athletes in the conference and a home run threat on every carry, Herring has scored 18 times and has had at least one carry for over 65 yards in each of his three seasons. Arizona State's leading rusher a season ago, Herring totaled 815 yards on 154 carries, the third straight he has gained over 500 yards. Herring made his season debut against Stanford.

With his 2,293 career rushing yards, Herring finds himself 10th on Arizona State's all-time rushing list. He is 181 yards short of Ben Malone (1971-73) for 9th on the list. Herring also has six career 100-yard games, including three in 2007. His career high for yards in a game is 197 against Northwestern in 2005.

For the second straight season, Arizona State will begin the year by playing their first four games at Sun Devil Stadium. Last season, ASU went 7-1 at home, winning its first six. They are the only team in the Pac-10 to open with four straight at home, and one of only five teams in the nation to play their first four games on their home field. Duke, Louisville, Indiana and Nebraska are the others. Nebraska opens the season with five straight home games.

Several Sun Devils are on preseason watch lists for national awards. Senior Safety Troy Nolan, who led the team team with six interceptions a year ago, is on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Trophy, the Thorpe Award and the Lott Trophy. Seniors Rudy Carpenter and Keegan Herring are both on the Maxwell Award watch list, while junior Dexter Davis joins Nolan on the Nagurski Trophy watch list. Davis is also on the Lombardi Award list and the Hendricks Award list. Carpenter is also on the Davey O'Brien Watch List, given to the nation's top QB and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award Watch List. Junior linebacker Gerald Munns is on the Butkus Award Watch List. 2007 Lou Groza Award winner Thomas Weber is on the watch list for the 2008 award. Herring is also on the Doak Walker Award list.

Kicker Thomas Weber has found his name on a number of preseason All-American teams. Weber is a First Team selection by The Sporting News, Athlon Sports and Playboy, while Phil Steele has him on the Third Team.

Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter and senior safety Troy Nolan were named team captains after a vote by the team. Head coach Dennis Erickson will designate two additional game captains on a weekly basis. David Smith and Andrew Pettes were the game captains against Stanford.

Arizona State opened the 2008 season ranked #15 in the AP Poll and #16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. This marked the highest preseason ranking for the Sun Devils since 1998, when they were ranked #8 in the first polls. ASU finished the 2007 ranked #13 in the USA Today Coaches poll and #16 in the final Associated Press Poll. The Devils are currently #15 in the AP poll and #13 in the USA Today Coaches poll.

Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter is one of only five four-year starters at the quarterback position in the Bowl Subdivision. Curtis Painter of Purdue, Mike Teel of Rutgers, Willie Tuitama of Arizona, Pat White of West Virginia and Drew Willy of Buffalo are the others.

Head Coach Dennis Erickson has a combined record of 40-9 during his second season with a school. He has gone 50-44-1 in his first year at his seven college coaching jobs, including 10-3 last season at ASU. Erickson is now 12-3 in his first 15 games at ASU, the best record through 15 games for an ASU coach since Dan Devine went 12-2-1 in 1955 and 1956.

Arizona State will host the Georgia Bulldogs in a nationally televised game on September 20th. ABC will broadcast the game at Sun Devil Stadium, which kicks off at 5:15 p.m.
Arizona State will host the Georgia Bulldogs in a nationally televised game on September 20th. ABC will broadcast the game at Sun Devil Stadium, which kicks off at 5:15 p.m.