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Football opens Pac-10 play by hosting Oregon

September 22, 2010

Game Four vs. Oregon Get Acrobat  Reader

After a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, Arizona State returns to Tempe to open Pac-10 play against defending Conference Champion Oregon. The Sun Devils and Ducks will square off on Saturday, September 25 at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. The Ducks enter the contest 3-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country after a 69-0 win over Portland State.

On the Air:
The ISP-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 Oregon game will be air on 92.3 FM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM radio.

Lights, Camera, Action:
Fox Sports Net will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Ducks. Barry Tompkins and Petros Papadakis will call the action from the booth.

Sun Devils vs. Ducks:
The Devils and Ducks have met 30 times, with Arizona State winning 16 of them. However, Oregon has won the past five match-ups, including last year’s 44-21 victory at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. ASU is 8-6 all-time against the Ducks in Tempe, but Oregon has won the past three meetings in Tempe.

2010 Hall of Fame Class:
Arizona State will induct the 2010 class into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame at halftime against the Ducks. Members of the 2010 class are Aaron Cox (Football), Eddie House (Basketball), Paul Casey (Golf), Attila Czene (Men’s Swimming), Kellee Booth (Women’s Golf), Amanda Burbridge (Volleyball), Shawn Charles (Wrestling), Dwight Phillips (Track & Field).

Coach to Cure MD Game:
Head Coach Dennis Erickson will be participating in the third annual Coach to Cure MD event this weekend. Coaches across the country, including Coach Erickson, will wear a special patch to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.

Jon Hargis, Omar Bolden, Thomas Weber and Gerald Munns have been named the captains of the 2010 Sun Devil football team.

Next Up:
Arizona State begins a three-game road trip by traveling to Corvallis, Oregon for a meeting with the Oregon State Beavers on October 2.

Many Happy Returns:
Omar Bolden proved that he is a dangerous return man against Wisconsin. Bolden took a kickoff back 97-yards for a touchdown, his second career kick return for a score. The touchdown was Bolden’s first kickoff return of the 2010 season. His last kickoff return of the 2009 season also went for a touchdown, an 89-yarder against ULM.

Collecting 100-Yard Days:
Freshman Deantre Lewis had a career day on the ground against the Badgers, running for 122 yards, his first career 100-yard rushing game. Lewis also broke a 38-yard run, a career long. Against Portland State in the season opener, Lewis had 100-yards receiving on three catches. He is the first Sun Devils since George Montgomery in 1993 to collect a 100-yard receiving and rushing game in the same season. ASU is now 252-53-5 all-time when a Sun Devil runs for over 100 yards. Cameron Marshall had a 100-yard game against the Vikings in the season opener.

The Long and Winding Road:
Following ASU’s home game with the Ducks, the Sun Devils will not play another game at Sun Devil Stadium until October 30, a span of 34 days between home games. The last time Arizona State played three consecutive road games was in 1990, when they finished the season with games at Washington State and Arizona and a neutral site game against Houston in Japan. The last time they played three straight games at an opponent’s stadium was in 1988 when they traveled to Stanford, Washington State and Oregon.

Kerry the Load:
Senior Kerry Taylor is off to great start in 2010. Through three games, Taylor has made 13 receptions, tying his single game career high with six in each of the past two weeks. Against NAU he also caught a TD pass, his first touchdown since November 15, 2008 against Washington State. Taylor also had six receptions at Oregon State on November 1, 2008.

Spreading the Wealth:
The 2010 Arizona State offense has many weapons, and so far through the first three games they are showing all of them off. ASU has completed 75 passes so far, with 14 different receivers making catches. Aaron Pflugrad leads the team with his 15 catches, while Kerry Taylor leads with his 180 yards. Even center Garth Gerhart has gotten in on the action, making his first career reception against NAU off a deflection. 15 different people caught passes for ASU all of last season.

Debut Devils:
Twenty five student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State in 2010: Brice Schwab, Aaron Pflugrad, Steven Threet, Mike Willie, Junior Onyeali, Kyle Middlebrooks, Eddie Elder, Shane McCullen, Max Smith, Chris Coyle, George Bell, Deantre Lewis, Osahon Irabor, Brandon Johnson, Alden Darby, Lee Adams, Evan Finkenberg, Matt Tucker, Aderious Simmons, J.J. Holliday, Cameron Kastl, Kody Koebensky, Jarrid Bryant, Grandville Taylor and R.J. Robinson.

First Starts:
Nine Sun Devil started for the first time in maroon and gold against Portland State: Brice Schwab (RG), Aaron Pflugrad (WR), Steven Threet (QB), Mike Willie (WR), Jamarr Robinson (DE), Mike Marcisz (RT), Jamaar Jarrett (DE), Shelly Lyons (LB) and Eddie Elder (S). In addition, Dan Knapp made his first career start on the offensive line, lining up at left tackle. Knapp started 9 games at tight end over the past two seasons. Both Evan Finkenberg (RG) and Bo Moos (DT) made their first career starts against NAU.

Three and Out:
The 2009 ASU Defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offensives into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 3.75 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 45 in their 12 contests. The D picked that right back up in 2010, forcing opponents into 11 three-and-outs over the first three weeks.

Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back:
In 2009, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2009 with 120 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 292 yards lost for the offense. The Sun Devils were a negative play machine against Washington State on October 10, recording 26 Cougar plays to go for a loss or for no gain. The defense has continued that trend in 2010. Against Wisconsin they forced 10 plays of negative or no gain for 14 yards in losses.

Run, Sparky, Run:
Last season, the Sun Devil rushing game totaled 24 runs of 10 yards or more, including two of 50 or more. So far in 2010, the Devils have had 13 runs of 10 yards or more, including Cameron Marshall’s 50-yard touchdown run against Portland State. Marshall owned the longest run from scrimmage in 2009, going 75-yards against Washington.

Building Numbers:
Three games into the 2010 season, wide receiver T.J. Simpson has made five receptions for 97 yards. Entering the 2010 season, Simpson had only seven career receptions for 106 yards in his two seasons in Maroon and Gold.

Great Start:
Quarterback Steven Threet made his first career start for ASU against Portland State, and what a debut it was. The Michigan transfer, who started eight games for the Wolverines in 2008, was 14-21 for 239 yards and two scores in just under two and a half quarters. The 239 yards was the third highest total for a Sun Devil QB making his first ASU start since 1993. Only Rudy Carpenter (401) and Sam Keller (370) threw for more, and they both played all four quarters. Threet’s QB rating of 184.17 was the second highest, second only to Carpenter’s 207.6. Threet’s 239 yards in his first career action at ASU also set a new ASU record for most passing yards by a Sun Devil QB in his first ever game action at ASU.

Career Night for Threet:
Quarterback Steven Threet had a huge game against Northern Arizona, establishing new career highs in several categories. Threet went 33-49 for 391 yards, with three touchdowns, all career highs. His previous highs: 18-35 for 250 yards in Michigan’s loss to Illinois on October 4, 2008. His previous career high in touchdown passes was two, which he had done three times, including the season opener against Portland State.

No Small Catch:
Wide receiver Brandon Smith caught a nine yard pass from Brock Osweiler in the fourth quarter against Portland State. While it may seem insignificant at first glance, it was anything but. It was Smith’s first catch since October 25, 2008, a span of 17 games between receptions. During that time, he suffered a major knee injury, was granted a medical redshirt and graduated from Arizona State. After playing in 11 games in 2006, Smith appeared in just one from 2007 to 2009.

Senior Class:
ASU has just 13 seniors on its roster this year, its fewest since the 1985 squad had just 10, which was the year prior to ASU winning the Pac-10 title and the Rose Bowl. ASU’s 2007 Pac-10 title team had 27 seniors, while its 1996 undefeated regular season and Pac-10 title squad had 22. The 1986 Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion team had 18. The 2010 and 1985 Sun Devils are the only ASU teams to have a dozen or fewer seniors in the past 35 seasons (1976-2010). How odd is it to only have 13 seniors? Digest this...the St. John’s BASKETBALL team is scheduled to have nine this year. The 13 is the smallest senior class in the Pac-10.

Racking Up Yards:
The Sun Devils ran for 242 yards in the season opener against Portland State, including Cameron Marshall’s 104 yards. The 242 yards was the most since October 13, 2007 against Washington, when ASU, led by Ryan Torain, ran for 296 yards.

Weber Looks to Cement His Legacy:
After an injury-plagued 2009 season that never saw him recover from an early season hip injury, kicker Thomas Weber looks to cement his legacy in the ASU record books during his senior season. The Downey, Calif. product has been stellar throughout his Sun Devil career, connecting on 56-70 (80%) field goal attempts. He made 43 field goals during his first two seasons in Maroon and Gold, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker over the first two years of his career. He broke the record held by Luis Zendejas, who had 40 field goals in his first two seasons.

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.

Weber 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 has earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors three times, earning First Team in 2007, Second Team in 2008 and honorable mention last year.

Weber has scored 275 points in his ASU career, good for fourth most in school history. He is second place all-time in school history for made field goals, passing Jesse Ainsworth with his 52-yarder against Portland State.

Extra Time:
Wide Receiver Brandon Smith was granted an extra year of eligibility for 2010 after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury. The 6-2 senior played in one game over the past three seasons, battling injuries off and on throughout his ASU career. In 2006 he played in 11 games, making six catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Cornerback Omar Bolden was also granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing the majority of last season with an injury. Bolden returned the opening kickoff of the game against ULM 89 yards for a touchdown, but suffered an injury on the return and was severely limited over the next two games before shutting it down for the season. He will enter 2010 as a junior with two seasons left to play.

Home Sweet Home:
Arizona State has won 248 games at Sun Devil Stadium, two shy of 250. The Sun Devils hold an all-time mark of 248-87-3 at Sun Devil Stadium since it opened in 1958.

Winning Tradition:
Since 1950, Arizona State football has the 14th-highest winning percentage among FBS schools. Over the past 59 years, ASU has a 439-225-8 record for a winning percentage of .659. Ohio State is the national leader in winning percentage since 1950.

Great Success:
Fourth-year head coach Dennis Erickson has a career record of 169-84-1, including two National Championships, for a winning percentage of .667 over his 21 years as an FBS head coach. That’s sixth among active coaches with at least 10 years experience at a school in FBS. Bob Stoops is the national leader with a .805 winning percentage in 11 years at Oklahoma.

Halll of Fame: Pat Tillman has been selected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall’s Class of 2010. Tillman now joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of Arizona State University in the College Football Hall of Fame.  In all, ASU has nine former football coaches or student-athletes in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 67 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the fifth most experienced coaching duo in the nation.