Football heads to UCLA for final road trip
Following a 44-21 loss to Oregon at Autzen Stadium, the Sun Devils hit the road for the final time this season, as they head to Pasadena, California for a meeting with UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, November 21. Arizona State is 4-6, 2-5 in Pac-10 play following the loss to Oregon. UCLA is 5-5, 2-5 in Pac-10 play following its 43-7 victory over Washington State.
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 UCLA game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be found on Sirius/XM Radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: FSN will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Bruins. Barry Tompkins and Petros Papadakis will call the action from the booth while Michael Eaves handles sidelines duties.
SUN DEVILS VS. BRUINS: This will be the 26th meeting between the two schools, with UCLA holding a 15-9-1 advantage. UCLA is 7-5-1 against ASU at home, but ASU won the last meeting at the Rose Bowl in 2007 24-20. The Sun Devils won last season's meeting 34-9 in Tempe, thanks to four defensive touchdowns.
MOVING ON UP: Thanks to his team-leading five catches against Oregon, senior wide receiver Chris McGaha moved into third place in school history for career receptions with 165. He passed Eric Guliford (1989-92), who made 164 catches at ASU. McGaha is one of only six Sun Devils to ever make 150 career receptions. Derek Hagan (258), John Jefferson (188), Eric Guliford (164), Shaun McDonald (156) and John Mistler (156) are the others. He has also topped the 2,000 yard mark for his career, gaining 2,210 yards. McGaha has two 100-yard games this season and three in his career. He also has caught four touchdowns this season, setting a new career high. His previous high of three was set in 2007.
NEXT UP: Arizona State returns home for the Territorial Cup match-up with Arizona on Saturday, November 28.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• The UCLA game will be the 250th career game for Dennis Erickson.
• Nine different Sun Devils have intercepted a pass this season.
• Thomas Weber is now third all-time in school history with 50 career field goals.
• 25 different Sun Devils have made their debut in 2009.
• 16 different Sun Devils have made their first career starts this season.
• Senior Dexter Davis' 48 straight starts is the most by ever by a Sun Devil.
• ASU has 22 seniors on its roster.
• 25 players on ASU's roster are from Southern California.
• Mike Nixon has been named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy.
Oregon Recap: The ground game for the Ducks was nearly unstoppable, as Oregon amassed 268 yards rushing in a 44-21 win. LaMichael James ran for 150 yards and three scores, while Jeremiah Masoli threw for 120 yards and two touchdowns while running for another 67 yards in the Oregon win. Brock Osweiler made his first career start at QB for ASU, but an injury would force Samson Szakacsy into duty. Szakacsy played well, throwing for 113 yards and score, but it was not enough to beat the Ducks.
• James Brooks recorded his first career interception.
• Trevor Kohl caught his first career pass.
• Arizona State did not attempt a field goal for the fourth time this season.
• This marked the fourth time this season ASU has held an opponent under 150 yards passing and to 10 or less pass completions.
Brock and Roll: Quarterback Brock Osweiler made his first career start at quarterback against the Ducks, becoming the third true freshman signal caller to start for ASU since 1978. Osweiler joins John Walker (1984) and Jake Plummer (1993) as the other first-year QBs. Since joining the Pac-10, Arizona State has seen 15 true or redshirt freshmen star under center.
Don't Touch His Hair: Forced into action after Brock Osweiler was knocked out in the second quarter, Samson Szakacsy shined in his first significant action of his Sun Devil career. Entering the game with three career snaps and one career pass (a touchdown) under his belt, Szakacsy led the Sun Devils on two scoring drives, including one that ended with Szakacsy's first career rushing touchdown. He finished the game 13-22 for 113 yards and a touchdown.
California, Here We Come: Arizona State's 2009 roster boasts 25 players from Southern California, including one, Tom Njunge, from Pasadena.
Start Him Up: With his start against Stanford, Dexter Davis took over sole possession of first place with 45 straight starts, the most by a Sun Devil since 1984. Davis passed Scott Peters, who made 44 straight starts from 1998 to 2001. Following the Oregon game, Davis has now made 48 straight. Starts weren't officially tracked as a statistic until 1984, so the 48 starts is believed to be an all-time school record.
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. The 11 sacks in 2008 established a new career high for Davis, who has eight career multi-sack games. Davis added a sack against USC, giving him 30 for his career, third most in school history. 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.
First Time For Everything: QB Samson Szakacsy made his first career pass a good one, connecting with Jovon Williams for a three-yard touchdown and ASU's first points against Cal. Not only was it Szakacsy's first career pass attempt, completion and touchdown, but it was the first score for Jovon Williams as well. Williams, a senior, entered the game with eight career receptions. He caught two passes against Cal for eight yards and the touchdown.
Boot It: Punter Trevor Hankins is quietly putting together a terrific season. The junior is third in the Pac-10 with his 43.8 yards per punt average. The school record for highest average per punt is 45.7, set by Stephen Baker in 1998 (minimum 46 punts). Hankins has punted 57 times, landing 16 inside the opponents 20 and has booted five of 60+ yards, including a 69-yarder at Georgia.
Run, Dimitri, Run: After coming close a number of times to topping the 100-yard mark in his career, Dimitri Nance finally did it, rushing for a career high 113 yards against Washington State on October 10. Nance has also topped the 1,500 yard mark for his career. He now has 1,709 yards and has run for 19 touchdowns. He leads the team this season with 570 yards and is third on the team with 25 catches for 193 yards. Nance set a new career-high with six receptions against Washington, eclipsing the old mark of five. The six catches against the Huskies led the team. He has run for six scores this season, one shy of his career high, which he set in 2007.
Mr. Williams Neighborhood: One week after setting a new career-high with 13 receptions against WSU, Kyle Williams showed his versatility against Washington. Williams threw his first career touchdown pass, a 32-yard strike to fellow wideout T.J. Simpson on a flanker pass play. It was the first time a non-quarterback threw a touchdown pass for the Sun Devils since November 5, 2005, when Rudy Burgess threw a touchdown to Derek Hagan in Pullman against Washington State. Williams added another big play to his collection against Cal, hauling in an 80-yard touchdown pass for the longest play of his career. Williams now has 42 catches for 557 yards and four scores on the season. Williams has set new career highs this season in receptions and yardage.
Spreading The Wealth: With Samson Szakacsy's touchdown pass against Cal, four different Sun Devils have now thrown a touchdown pass in 2009. Danny Sullivan has tossed eight, Brock Osweiler has thrown two and Szakacsy and wide receiver Kyle Williams have each thrown one. It marks the first time since 2001 that four different Devils have connected on a score through the air. Jeff Krohn, Andrew Walter, Matt Cooper and Justin Taplin all threw touchdowns in 2001.
Push 'Em Back, Push 'Em Back: The 2009 Sun Devil defense has established itself as one of the stingiest in the nation, routinely making tackles for loss or for no gain. In the win over Washington State, the ASU defensive unit was a negative play machine, causing 26 Cougar plays to go for no gain or negative yardage, a whopping 39% of WSU's total plays. On the year, ASU's opponents have run 616 plays, with 103 of them having gone for negative yardage or no gain (not counting incomplete passes). Opponents have lost 263 yards on those 103 plays.
Debuts: 25 different ASU players have made their Sun Devil debuts so far this season. Those that have debuted are: Jamal Miles, Samson Szakacsy, Matt Hustad, Trevor Kohl, Andrew Sampson, Derrall Anderson, Kyle Johnson, Keelan Johnson, Toa Tuitea, William Sutton, Corey Adams, Dean DeLeone, Vontaze Burfict, Deveron Carr, Jonathan Clark, Cameron Marshall, Brian Matsumoto, Brock Osweiler, Patrick Jamison, A.J. Pickens, Greg Smith, James Morrison, LeQuan Lewis, Bobby Wenzig and Steven Figueroa. Of those 25, eight (Miles, Sutton, Adams, Burfict, Marshall, Osweiler, Smith and Wenzig) are true freshmen. ASU played a school-record 10 true freshmen last season.
Truly A Lot Of Freshmen: Over the past two seasons, Arizona State has seen a combined 18 true freshmen get game action (school-record 10 in 2008, eight so far in 2009). Since 1983, that is the most true freshmen to play in a two year span at ASU. Lawrence Guy started eight games on the defensive line last season as a true freshman, earning Freshman All-American honors, while Vontaze Burfict has started the past seven games at middle linebacker.
Start Me Up: 16 Sun Devils have made their first career starts so far in 2009, including quarterback Brock Osweiler at Oregon. Vontaze Burfict, a true freshman, made his first career start at linebacker against Oregon State, while Brent Good, a senior, made his first start on the offensive line. James Brooks at defensive end, Keelan Johnson at safety and T.J. Simpson at wide receiver also all made their first career starts against the Beavers. They join wide receiver Gerell Robinson, offensive linemen Andrew Sampson and Matt Hustad, defensive linemen William Sutton and Dean DeLeone, linebacker Brandon Magee, safety Jarrell Holman and quarterback Danny Sullivan as Sun Devils making their first career starts in 2009. Burfict and Sutton are both true freshman, while Holman, Good and Sullivan are seniors. Freshman running back Cameron Marshall and redshirt freshman corner Deveron Carr each made their first career starts against the Trojans.
All The Way Omar: When Omar Bolden took the opening kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown against ULM on September 19, 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.
Player of the Week Against Idaho State: 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. 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.
Magee Making A Name In Two Sports: Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee is putting together a terrific football season, having made 33 tackles, sixth most on the team. He is tied for third on the Sun Devils with his six tackles for loss, including two sacks. He has also intercepted a pass. 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.
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.
Ball Hawks: The Sun Devils have compiled 24 total takeaways on the year, including 15 INTs. Nine different Sun Devils have intercepted a pass, including James Brooks, who picked off his first career one against Oregon. The ASU defense has also scored two touchdowns on interception returns. Mike Nixon took one back against Idaho State and Jarrell Holman returned one against Georgia. Nixon, Holman and McFoy are tied for the team lead with three interceptions each.
Making An Impact: Highly touted true freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been proving that he is worth all the hype during his first collegiate season. Burfict had a coming out party against Georgia at Sanford Stadium, leading the Sun Devils with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Burfict made several highlight reel plays, headed by his flying leap over the Georgia offensive line and subsequent tackle for loss on a fourth and one play, giving ASU the ball back. This season, Burfict is second on the team with his 57 tackles. He's recorded six tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He made his first career start against Oregon State and has started every game since.
Mr. Nixon Garners Awards: Senior linebacker Mike Nixon was named a First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII selection for the third straight season. Nixon is the first Sun Devil to ever earn First Team honors three straight years and is now eligible for Academic All-American honors. In addition to his Academic award, Nixon was named a finalist for the 2009 Wuerffel Trophy, awarded annually to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement. Nixon is the only finalist from the Pac-10. This season, Nixon has been named a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy, a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy and a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
Shuffling The Decks: The Sun Devils have been ravaged by injuries to their offensive line this season. Six different linemen have missed games with an ailment, forcing Arizona State to use six different starting alignments in its ten games. Only Shawn Lauvao (left tackle) and Jon HargisThomas Altieri and Garth Gerhart have both started at center, while four different players (Brent Good, Andrew Sampson, Matt Hustad and Brent Good) have all started at right guard. Matt Hustad and Tom Njunge have each garnered starts at right tackle. Mike Marcisz was lost for the season following the Georgia game, while Zach Schlink has been unable to play all season. Wide receiver is another position that has been hit hard, as five different receivers have missed games due to injury, including T.J. Simpson, who was lost for the year following the Cal game. CB Omar Bolden was lost for the season after the Oregon State game, while DL Corey Adams was lost following the Cal game. Before the season began, ASU lost WR Brandon Smith, CB Osahon Irabor and TE Chris Coyle to season ending injuries. (left guard) have started every game this season.
Kicking His Way To The Top: Thomas Weber is 50-59 (85%) on field goal attempts and has scored 241 points in his ASU career. He connected on 43 made field goals during his first two seasons, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker in his first two years with the program, surpassing Luis Zendejas’ previous record of 40. His 50 career field goals vaults him past Mike Barth for third place on ASU’s all-time made field goal list. The record is 81, held by Zendejas. Weber's 241 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. Weber missed four games this season with a hip injury.
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.
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.
When Last We Met: The last time Arizona State and UCLA faced off, the Sun Devils made history on Frank Kush Field at Sun Devil Stadium. Last year, ASU tied an NCAA record by scoring four defensive touchdowns in a 34-9 win. Paul 'Unga returned a fumble 17-yards for a touchdown, then Travis Goethel intercepted Kevin Craft and returned it 38-yards for a score. Troy Nolan tied a school record with a 100-yard interception return for touchdown after tipping the ball to himself in the back of the end zone. Mike Nixon finished it off with a 45-yard INT return for touchdown. Only Houston in 1987 and Florida in 1996 had ever scored four defensive touchdowns in the game. The only other scoring for ASU in the game was a pair of Thomas Weber field goals.
Shrine Game: Dexter Davis and Chris McGaha have both been selected to play in the 85th East-West Shrine Game. The game will be played on January 23, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. 66 previous Sun Devils have played in the East-West Shrine Game, with the most recent being Jamar Williams in 2006.