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Football readies for clash with Washington State

October 05, 2009

Weekly Release- At Washington State Get Acrobat Reader

Following a 28-17 loss to the Oregon State Beavers in the Pac-10 opener, the Sun Devils open the road portion of their Pac-10 slate as they head to Pullman, Washington for a meeting with the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, October 10 at Martin Stadium. In the loss to the Beavers, Chris McGaha had a career day, hauling in 15 catches for 165 yards. Washington State enters the game 1-4 after a 52-6 loss to the Ducks in Eugene.

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 Washington State game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

SUN DEVILS VS. COUGARS: This will be the 36th match-up between Arizona State and Washington State. ASU leads the series 21-12-2, including an 8-7 mark in Pullman. ASU won last season's meeting, shutting out the Cougars 31-0 at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State has won five straight against Washington State and two in a row at Martin Stadium.

CATCH-15: Senior wide receiver Chris McGaha had the game of his life against the Beavers, making a career-high 15 receptions for a career-high 165 yards. The 15 receptions is the second most receptions in a game by a Sun Devil in school history. The record is 19, held by Ron Fair, who had 19 catches in a game against Washington State in 1989. It is the most receptions in a game for a Sun Devil since Shaun McDonald made 12 catches against Oregon in 2002. The 15 catches and 165 yards are the most by a Pac-10 player this season. The 15 receptions is tied for third most receptions in a game this season.

CLOSING IN: Chris McGaha now has 1,820 career receiving yards, 180 yards shy of 2,000 for his career...McGaha also needs 14 more receptions to give him 150 in his career. Only five Sun Devils have ever caught 150+ passes in their careers: Derek Hagan (258), John Jefferson (188), Eric Guliford (164), Shaun McDonald (156), John Mistler (156)...Dimitri Nance has 1,392 career rushing yards, 108 shy of 1,500 in his career.

TEAM CAPTAINS: Mike Nixon, Shawn Lauvao and Dexter Davis have been voted team captains by their teammates.

NEXT UP: The Sun Devils return home to host the Washington Huskies at Sun Devil Stadium on October 17. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. with FSN televising the game.


• 21 different Sun Devils have made their debut in 2009.

• 13 different Sun Devils have made their first career starts this season.

• Senior Dexter Davis is fourth all-time in ASU history with 27.5 career sacks.

• Junior Thomas Weber is fourth on the school's all-time list in field goals with 48.
• OL Shawn Lauvao and S Jarrell Holman have both graduated from Arizona State.

• ASU has 24 seniors on its roster, tied for 8th most in the nation.

Mike Nixon has been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy.

Oregon State Recap: The Beavers jumped out to 14-3 lead after one quarter of play and never looked back, handing Arizona State a 28-17 loss at Sun Devil Stadium. The Beavers took advantage of good field position, scoring their first two touchdowns after starting their drives in ASU territory. A career night from both Danny Sullivan and Chris McGaha was not enough for the Sun Devils, as they dropped their Pac-10 opener. Sullivan threw for 338 yards, while McGaha hauled in 15 catches for 165 yards, career highs for both Sullivan and McGaha.

Oregon State Notes:

Oliver Aaron made his 2009 debut against the Beavers.

Jarrell Holman intercepted a pass for the second straight game after having zero in his first nine games.

Saia Falahola recorded his first career quarterback sack.

Dimitri Nance has four rushing touchdowns on the season, the second highest total in his career. He rushed for seven in 2007.

Dimitri Nance equaled his career high with five pass receptions, a mark he set at USC in 2008.

Gerell Robinson entered the OSU game with five career receptions, but made six against the Beavers for 58 yards.

Pitch and Catch: Danny Sullivan had a career night against the Beavers, going 32-58 for 338 yards, all career highs. The 32 completions were six shy of the single-game school record set twice by Jeff Van Raaphorst in 1984 (vs. Florida State) and 1986 (vs. Arizona). The 58 attempts was the third highest total in ASU history, tying Andrew Walter against North Carolina in 2003. The record of 63 was set by Paul Justin against Houston in 1990. Sullivan's previous career high in yards was 220, set earlier this year against ULM.

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.

All Purpose Nance: Dimitri Nance has established himself as an all-purpose back for the Sun Devils so far in 2009. Through four games, Nance has rushed for a team-leading 253 yards and caught 12 passes for 118 yards. He has also found the endzone five times, four times on the ground and once through the air. Against Georgia, Nance tied his career high by running for 92 yards and caught his first career touchdown pass. His five receptions against the Beavers equaled his career high set last year against USC.

Making An Impact: Highly touted true freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been proving that he is worth all the hype through his first four collegiate games. 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. Through the first four games of 2009, Burfict is second on the team with his 22 tackles. He's recorded three tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, three pass break-ups and a fumble recovery.

Debuts: 21 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, LeQuan Lewis, Bobby Wenzig and Steven Figueroa. Of those 21, 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: 13 Sun Devils have made their first career starts so far in 2009, including five against Oregon State. Vontaze Burfict, a true freshman, made his first career start at linebacker against OSU, while Brent Good, a senior, made his first start on the offensive line. James Brooks Keelan Johnson at defensive end, 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.

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. 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. Nixon has also been named a semifinalist for the Campbell (formerly Draddy) Trophy, the Academic Heisman.

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 on September 19. Filling in for Thomas Weber, Wenzig has gone 9-9 on PATs and 3-4 on field goals for 18 points.

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 42 of a possible 42 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 four 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 added another interception against the Beavers, giving the Sun Devils 12 total takeaways on the year, including nine INTs. Jarrell Holman picked off a pass for the second straight game, giving him three for the season, tied with Mike Nixon for the team lead. The Sun Devils currently hold a turnover ratio of 12 to 3. The +9 is second in the nation and the ASU defense has scored two touchdowns on interception returns. Mike Nixon took one back against Idaho State and Jarrell Holman returned one against Georgia.

Push 'Em Back, Push 'Em Back: The Sun Devil defense has been stingy four games into the 2009 season. Opponents so far have run 219 plays, with 37 of those resulting in no gain or negative yardage. Opponents have lost a total of 70 yards while also turning the ball over 12 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. 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 nation among all FBS Schools. Since 1950, ASU is 435-217-8 in their 659 games, a winning percentage of .665. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .757 winning percentage (513-161-12). Dennis Erickson is sixth among active coaches winning percentage among coaches with at least 10 years as a FBS coach.

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.

All-Decade Team: Former Sun Devil and current Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs was named to the College Football All-Decade Team by the The Sporting News. Suggs became the Baltimore Ravens all-time leader in sack yardage over the weekend.