Football heads to Athens, Georgia for meeting with Bulldogs
After a 38-14 win over ULM last week, Arizona State will hit the road for its final non-conference game as they head to Athens, Georgia for a meeting with the 21/17 Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, September 26. Danny Sullivan threw for a career high 220 yards plus a touchdown pass and touchdown run to pace the ASU offense in the win over the Warhawks. Georgia comes into the game 2-1 thanks to its 52-41 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville.
ON THE AIR: The Sun Devil-ISP Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 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, while Doug Franz patrols the sidelines. The Georgia game will air on 92.3 FM. The game will also be broadcast nationally on Sports USA Radio with Rich Cellini, Gary Barnett and Justin Cazana. It can also be heard on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION: ESPNU will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Bulldogs. Eric Collins and Brock Huard will call the action from the booth.
SUN DEVILS VS. BULLDOGS: This will be the second all-time meeting between ASU and Georgia. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 27-10 last season in Tempe.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The trip to Athens marks Arizona State's first non-conference road game since the match-up with Colorado in Boulder in 2006. Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, the Sun Devils are 11-14 in non-conference road games, including a 2-2 mark in the Eastern time zone. The 1,913-mile trip to Athens is the farthest ASU has traveled for a regular season game since playing at Miami (2,529 miles) in 1997. The farthest ASU has ever traveled for a regular season game? 5,803 miles when the Sun Devils played the Houston Cougars in Tokyo, Japan in 1990.
ASU AND THE SEC: Arizona State holds an 0-4 all-time mark against SEC schools. ASU is 0-1 against Georgia, 0-1 against LSU and 0-2 against Arkansas. The only time the Sun Devils have traveled to what is now an SEC school was back in 1951, when they played the Razorbacks in Arkansas (who were then a member of the SWC). They also played Arkansas in the 1985 Holiday Bowl. The match-ups with LSU and Georgia were both played in Tempe.
NEXT UP: The Sun Devils will open up Pac-10 play when they host the Oregon State Beavers at Sun Devil Stadium on October 3.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• 20 different Sun Devils have made their debut in 2009.
• Senior Dexter Davis is fourth all-time in ASU history with 27.5 career sacks.
• ASU has 24 seniors on its roster, tied for 8th most in the nation.
ULM Recap: Omar Bolden set the tone for the Sun Devils early, returning the opening kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown to put ASU up 7-0, a lead they would never relinquish in the 38-14 victory. Danny Sullivan threw for a career high 220 yards with a TD pass and a TD run, while Dimitri Nance added two touchdowns of his own on the ground to go along with his 82 yards. The defense forced three more turnovers, giving them eight so far this year.
ASU vs. ULM Notes:
• Trevor Hankins booted a career-long punt of 57-yards, topping his previous best of 53-yards.
• ASU improves to 2-1 all-time against schools from Louisiana (1-0 vs. ULM, 1-0 vs. ULL, 0-1 vs. LSU).
• The Sun Devils improved to 6-1 against teams in the Sun Belt Conference (1-0 vs. ULM, 1-0 vs. ULL, 4-1 vs. North Texas).
• Arizona State picked up its first win following a bye week since 2007, ending a streak of three straight post-bye week losses.
• For the 16th time in 27 games under Dennis Erickson, the Sun Devil defense recorded at least one takeaway and their 12th time with three or more.
• The Sun Devils only scored 22 total first quarter points in all of last season and, through the ULM game, have scored 17 points already this year (14 vs. ULM and three vs. Idaho State in week one).
All The Way Omar: When Omar Bolden took the opening kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown against ULM, he became the first ASU player to ever return the game's opening kickoff for a score. It was the 13th kickoff return touchdown in ASU history and the first since Rudy Burgess took one back 98-yards against USC in 2007.
First Quarter Drought Over: When Omar Bolden crossed the goal line on his opening kickoff return for touchdown, it marked the first touchdown scored in the opening quarter of a game since last season's opener against NAU. That span included 29 drives that resulted in 20 punts, six field goals, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Faster Starts: Not only did ASU's opening quarter TD drought end against ULM, but the Sun Devils scored 14 points in the game's first quarter, giving them 17 first quarter points through two games this season. Last year, ASU scored only 22 points in the 12 first quarters combined. The 14 points in the first quarter against the Warhawks tied for the most first stanza points under Dennis Erickson, tying the 14 scored against San Diego State and USC in 2007.
Danny's The Man: Danny Sullivan has turned in two solid performances in his first two collegiate starts so far this season. Against the Warhawks, Sullivan threw for a career high 220 yards. His previous high prior to this season was 118, which he set against Texas in the 2007 Holiday Bowl. Sullivan also threw his fourth career touchdown pass and ran for his first ever score.
Debuts: 20 different ASU players have made their Sun Devil debuts so far this season. Those that have debuted are: Matt Hustad, Andrew Sampson, Derrall Anderson, Keelan Johnson, Toa Tuitea, William Sutton, Corey Adams, Dean DeLeone, Vontaze Burfict, Deveron Carr, Jonathan Carr, Jonathan Clark, Cameron Marshall, Brian Matsumoto, Brock Osweiler, Patrick Jamison, A.J. Pickens, Greg Smith, James Morrison, Bobby Wenzig and Steven Figueroa. Of those 20, seven (Sutton, Adams, Burfict, Marshall, Osweiler, Smith and Wenzig) are true freshmen. ASU played a school-record 10 true freshmen last season.
Start Me Up: Eight Sun Devils have made their first career starts so far in 2009. Gerell Robinson started at wide receiver against Idaho State, Andrew Sampson and Matt Hustad both started on the offensive line against Idaho State, William Sutton and Dean DeLeone started on the defensive line against the Bengals, Brandon Magee started at linebacker, Jarrell Holman started at safety and Danny Sullivan started at quarterback against ISU.
Player of the Week: Senior linebacker Mike Nixon did everything but lead the marching band at halftime of the opener against Idaho State. The 26-year old team captain intercepted three passes, returned one for a touchdown, blocked a punt and recorded four tackles, including one for loss. Now in his fourth season in maroon and gold, Nixon went the first 30 games of his career without an interception, but since picking off his first career pass at Cal last season, he has intercepted eight passes in his last 10 games. He tied for the Pac-10 lead with five last year, including returning one for a score. Nixon became the first Sun Devil with three interceptions since Nathan LaDuke against Houston (Sept. 23) in 1989. Nixon's blocked punt was the first by a Sun Devil since 2006, when Brandon Smith blocked a Colorado punt in Boulder. For his efforts, Nixon was named both the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week and the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week.
Emergency Kick: Freshman kicker Bobby Wenzig was expected to redshirt in 2009, but that all changed when he was forced into emergency action against ULM. With Thomas Weber out, Wenzig filled in admirably, going 5-5 on PATs and 1-1 on field goals in his collegiate debut.
Record Tying Night Against ISU: Thomas Weber had a memorable first game of the 2009 campaign, booting five field goals and scoring a career-high 20 points (5 FGs, 5 PATs) in the win over Idaho State. The five field goals ties a school record held by who else but Luis Zendejas. Zendejas kicked five field goals against Stanford in 1983. The 20 points by Weber surpasses his previous high of 15 (4 FGs, 3 PATs) set last season against Stanford and was also the most ever by a Sun Devil in school history.
Kicking His Way To The Top: Thomas Weber is 48-56 (86%) on field goal attempts and has scored 224 points in his ASU career. He connected on 43 made field goals during his first two seaons, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker in his first two years with the program, surpassing Luis Zendejas’ previous record of 40. His 48 career field goals also puts Weber in fourth place on ASU’s all-time made field goal list, one behind Mike Barth (1999-2002). The record is 81, held by Zendejas. Weber's 224 points is the fifth highest total in school history in points by a kicker. He also has kicked the third longest field goal in school history, a 53-yarder at the Rose Bowl against UCLA in 2007. His 24 made field goals in 2007 was the second most in a single season in school history, and his 19 last season was the fifth most. Weber scored 118 points in his debut season in 2007, tied with Mike Barth (2002) for the most points by a kicker in a single season.
Playboy Twice: Kicker Thomas Weber has been named a Preseason First Team All-American by Playboy Magazine, the second straight year he has made the Playboy team. Weber becomes only the second Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team twice. Cornerback Mike Richardson made the team in 1981 and 1982. Weber becomes the 14th Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team. It is the 16th time an ASU player has been named to the squad (Weber and Richardson twice). Former Sun Devil head coach Bruce Snyder was named to the team in 1997 as the National Coach-of-the-Year.
Disruptive Dexter: Playing in his senior season, Dexter Davis is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding career in maroon and gold. The Phoenix native put up great numbers for the third consecutive year in 2008, recording a team-high 11.0 sacks, third most in the Pac-10 and tied for the sixth highest single-season total in school history. Davis also owns the eighth highest total, 10.5 in 2007. Davis has 27.5 sacks in his Sun Devil career, fourth most in school history. The 11 sacks in 2008 established a new career high for Davis, who has eight career multi-sack games. He is a half sack shy of Vernon Maxwell (1979-82) for third place on the school's all-time list. Terrell Suggs (2000-02) is the leader with 44. Davis earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 last season and was a Second Team All-Pac-10 choice in 2007. He earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-American status from The Sporting News in 2006.
Mr. Dependable: Dexter Davis is the only returning player in the nation who has recorded double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons (10.5 in 2007 and 11 in 2008). He also has started 40 of a possible 40 games in his Sun Devil career, one of only three returning seniors in the Pac-10 who can boast that stat. The others are Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Cal's Syd'Quan Thompson. In the past 25 years, only five other Sun Devils have started as many games as Davis. Scott Peters started 44 games from 1998 to 2001, the most since 1984.
Ball Hawks: ASU collected three more turnovers against ULM, intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble. That gives the Sun Devils eight total on the year, including six INTs. Omar Bolden picked up his fourth career interception in the game against the Warhawks, while Travis Goethel got his third career pick and first career fumble recovery.
The Road Less Traveled: Arizona State heads to Georgia for a non-conference road game, something foreign to all but seven members of the roster. Only Dexter Davis, Gerald Munns, Chris McGaha, Mike Nixon, Dimitri Nance, Shaun DeWitty and Travis Goethel saw action the last time ASU played a non-conference road game, in 2006 at Colorado. ASU beat the Buffaloes 21-3 in that game, with Davis recording five tackles, including two for loss.
Push 'Em Back, Push 'Em Back: The Sun Devil defense has been stingy two games into the 2009 season. Opponents so far have run 103 plays, with 17 of those resulting in negative yardage. Opponents have lost a total of 44 yards while also turning the ball over eight times.
Six Pack From Corona: The 2009 Sun Devil football team boasts six players from Centennial High School in Corona, California. Sophomore RB Ryan Bass and sophomore LBs Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee will welcome former high school classmates Vontaze Burfict, William Sutton and Jarrid Bryant to Tempe this season. This marks the first time in school history that ASU has had six players from an out-of-state high school. Bryant spent three seasons at Centennial High School before spending his senior season at Salisbury Prep in Connecticut. Magee, Sutton, Bass, Lyons and Burfict are all expected to be major contributors this season, while Bryant is expected to redshirt.
Two-Sport Athlete: Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee is making the most of his opportunity to be a Sun Devil. Not only is he contributing on the gridiron for ASU, but he is also a member of the Sun Devil Baseball team. Magee was a member of the 2009 Pac-10 Champion Sun Devil nine and traveled with the team to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series, where they finished third in the country. Magee appeared in 13 games for the baseball team, all as a pinch hitter, as he juggled baseball with spring football. Magee was a 29th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 MLB draft.
Big Guy: Perhaps no true freshman made a bigger impact during the 2008 season than defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. The Las Vegas, Nevada product finished seventh on the team with 44 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. He also scored a touchdown after recovering a fumble during his rookie season. He was a consensus Freshman All-American and also earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. The sophomore will be expected to play a major role for the Sun Devil defense in 2009, teaming up with fellow d-lineman Dexter Davis to form a devastating pass rush duo.
Hail To The Chief: Sophomore corner Josh Jordan had an interesting offseason at Arizona State. The Las Vegas product ran for and was elected as a Student Senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Jordan will serve in that capacity for the 2009-10 school year.
Gaining Experience: 10 true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen saw action during the 2008 season, including six who started at least one game. 21 different players made their first career start last season, including six on the offensive line. The 10 true freshmen was the highest total to ever play in school history, eclipsing the nine that played in 1994.
Winning Tradition: Since 1950, Arizona State football has the 10th highest winning percentage in the national among all FBS Schools. Since 1950, ASU is 435-215-8 in their 658 games, a winning percentage of .667. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .758 winning percentage (513-160-12). Dennis Erickson is sixth among active coaches winning percentage among coaches with at least 10 years as a FBS coach.