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Football returns to action against ULM

September 14, 2009

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Following a 50-3 victory over Idaho State in the season opener, the Sun Devils will play their final home non-conference game as they host the ULM Warhawks on Saturday, September 19 at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devil defense dominated the Bengals in the opener, holding them to 37 yards while forcing five turnovers. Mike Nixon collected three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown and blocking a punt. ULM is 1-1 after defeating Texas Southern 58-0 last Saturday.

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 ULM game will air on 92.3 FM.

LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION: Fox Sports Arizona will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Warhawks. Tom Leander and former ASU All-American Juan Roque will call the action from the booth while Jody Jackson handles the sideline duties.

SUN DEVILS VS. WARHAWKS: This will be the first ever meeting between Arizona State and ULM.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Mike Nixon was named both the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week and the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week for his performance against Idaho State. It is the first weekly honor of Nixon's career.

NO SOUP FOR YOU: The Sun Devils held the Bengals to 37 total yards in the 50-3 opening night victory. That is the fourth lowest total yards allowed in school history. Idaho State managed only 42 passing yards and -5 rushing yards.

PAC-10 PREDICTIONS: Arizona State has been picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 in the annual Media Poll. The teams picked to finish first (USC), second (Cal) and fourth (Oregon State) will all visit Sun Devil Stadium this season. The Sun Devils were picked to finish fourth in 1986, second in 1996 and fourth in 2007, all seasons they won a Pac-10 title.

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

NEXT UP: Arizona State will hit the road for a non-conference match-up for the first time since 2006 when it travels to Athens, Georgia for a meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium.


• 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.

• Arizona State has now won 11 consecutive season openers at home.

• 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.

Idaho State Recap: The highly touted Sun Devil defense showed why they received so much preseason hype, as they stymied the Idaho State Bengals in a 50-3 victory. ASU forced four turnovers, scored a touchdown, blocked a punt, recovered a fumble, collected two sacks and held ISU to only 37 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the ASU offense amassed 407 yards, 199 on the ground, in the win. Thomas Weber kicked five field goals, tying a school record, and QBs Danny Sullivan and Brock Osweiler went a combined 17-30 for 208 yards and a touchdown.

ASU vs. Idaho State Notes:

• The defense limited the Bengals to just 37 yards of total offense, including -5 yards rushing and 42 yards through the air. Idaho State quarterbacks combined to go 9-of-20 for 42 yards passing with four interceptions.

• Sun Devil Stadium recently was fitted with new scoreboards and those new lights were put to the test right away as the Sun Devils scored 50 points, the most in the Dennis Erickson era at ASU. In his previous two-plus seasons, the most points ASU had scored was 45 in Erickson’s first game with the program, a 45-30 defeat of San Jose State (Sept. 1) in 2007. Last year, ASU’s high total was 41 in a 41-17 defeat of Stanford. The 50 points are the most since 2006 when ASU downed Nevada, 52-12, on Sept. 9. The 47-point margin of victory also was the team’s highest since a 63-16 defeat of Temple in 2005 (Sept. 1).

• With the win, the Sun Devils improve to 68-27-2 all-time in their first game of the year and 48-15-1 all-time when they open the season at home.

• The win over the Bengals is ASU’s seventh in a row in overall season openers and its 11th-consecutive when its opening game is at home. The Sun Devils have now won 10 of their last 11 season openers and 13 of their last 14 season openers at home.
Dennis Erickson is now 15-6 all-time in his teams’ season-opening games and 3-0 in the first game of the year with the Sun Devils. Erickson also improved to 4-2 all-time against Idaho State.

• The offense was 2-for-2 on fourth-down tries on the night and was 8-for-9 in the red zone with the only blemish a 37-yard field goal attempt by Thomas Weber that went wide right.

• The last time the ASU defense recorded both a blocked punt and had an interception came in 2005 against Oregon (Oct. 8). In that contest, Matt Miller blocked a punt, both Jamar Williams and Zach Catanese recorded interceptions and DeWayne Hollyfield blocked a field goal.

Danny's The Man: For the first time since August 24, 2002, Arizona State opened a season with a QB under center who had never previously started an NCAA football game. Chad Christensen was the starter for that game at Nebraska and the next three before Andrew Walter (who made two starts in 2001) started the next 33 games. Sam Keller took over for the injured Walter in the 2004 Sun Bowl, the first of eight straight starts before Rudy Carpenter replaced him and started the last 43 games of his career. Sullivan was 13-25 for 165 yards in his first career start, playing for two and a half quarters.

Debuts: Sixteen different ASU players made their Sun Devil debuts against Idaho State. Those that debuted were: 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 and A.J. Pickens. Of those 16, five (Sutton, Adams, Burfict, Marshall and Osweiler) were true freshmen. ASU played a school-record 10 true freshmen last season.

Start Me Up: Eight Sun Devil made their first career starts against the Bengals. Gerell Robinson started at wide receiver, Andrew Sampson and Matt Hustad both started on the offensive line, William Sutton and Dean DeLeone started on the defensive line, Brandon Magee started at linebacker, Jarrell Holman started at safety and Danny Sullivan started at quarterback.

A Night Of Firsts: Opening night is always full of firsts, and the win over Idaho State was no exception. Freshman QB Brock Osweiler made his first career game a memorable one, as he finished 4-5 for 43 yards and his first career TD pass. The pass was to senior WR Brian Matsumoto, who was making his Sun Devil debut. The TD reception was the first catch of his career. Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee also picked off his first career pass and recorded his first career QB sack, while sophomore tailback Ryan Bass scored his first career touchdown.

Mr. Do-It-All: 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 nine 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.

Memorable Debut: Freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict was cleared by the NCAA to play on the Friday afternoon before the season opener. Burfict made his debut against Idaho State and left his mark on Sun Devil fans everywhere. The highest-rated recruit to ever come to Arizona State, Burfict tied for the team lead with five tackles, recorded a jaw-rattling sack of Idaho State QB Russel Hill and recovered a fumble in his first career action.

Record Tying Night: 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. Now in his third year as the Sun Devil kicker, 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 2008, Weber was once again a valuable weapon for Coach Erickson and the Sun Devil offense. Weber finished the season 19-25 on field goal attempts, scoring a team high 86 points.

Kicking His Way To The Top: Thanks to his record-tying performance against Idaho State, Thomas Weber is now 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, defensive end 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. The 11.0 sacks last season tied Davis 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. With his 11.0 sacks last season, Dexter Davis found himself tied for the sixth highest single-season total in school history. 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 39 of a possible 39 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.

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 434-215-8 in their 657 games, a winning percentage of .667. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .757 winning percentage (511-160-12). Dennis Erickson is sixth among active coaches winning percentage among coaches with at least 10 years as a FBS coach.