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Football returns to action with Pac-10 trip to Cal


October 19, 2010

After enjoying a bye week, Arizona State finishes up a three-game road trip by heading to Berkeley, California for a match-up with the California Golden Bears. The Bears and Devils will meet on Saturday, October 23 from Memorial Stadium. Prior to the bye week, ASU snapped a three-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over the Washington Huskies in Seattle. Steven Threet tossed two TDs and the defense held UW to only two touchdowns in the victory. Cal enters the game 3-3, 1-2 in Pac-10 play after a 48-14 loss at USC.

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 California game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM radio and ESPN Radio nationally.

Lights, Camera, Action:
Fox Sports Net will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Golden Bears. Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Rebecca Haarlow will call the action.

Sun Devils vs. Golden Bears:

This will be the 30th match-up between Arizona State and Cal. The Golden Bears lead the series 15-14 thanks to last season’s 23-21 win at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU is 4-8 all-time at Memorial Stadium, including a 24-14 loss in their last trip in 2008. The Sun Devils have not won at Cal since a 28-21 triumph in 1997. Coach Erickson is 8-2-1 against Cal in his career, including a 1-2 mark at ASU.

The Long and Winding Road:
With the game at Cal, ASU wraps up a three-game road trip over which the Sun Devils did not play a game at Sun Devil Stadium in 34 days. 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.

Captains:

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

Next Up:

The Sun Devils return to Tempe for a Homecoming game match-up with the Washington State Cougars on October 30.

Wasington Recap:
Not even a constant downpour could stop the Sun Devils from getting back in the win column, as Steven Threet tossed two scores and ASU beat Washington 24-14 at rain-soaked Husky Stadium. Threet threw for 288 yards, while the Sun Devil defense held the Huskies in check, giving ASU the victory.

ASU at Washington Notes:
• Tight end Trevor Kohl, defensive lineman Junior Onyeali and corner back Osahon Irabor made their first career starts.
• Arizona State scored first for the third straight game and the third time this season.
• Jamaar Jarrett recorded his first career multi-sack game.
• Corey Adams picked up his first career sack.
• Max Tabach set a new career high with 12 tackles.
• ASU held their opponent scoreless in the third quarter for the second straight game.

Bye Bye Bye:

Since 2000, Arizona State is 5-5 in the week following the season’s first bye week. Under Dennis Erickson, the Sun Devils are 2-1 following the first week off of the season.

Max Out:

Senior Max Tabach is establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Sun Devil defense. Tabach made his first career start at Oregon State on October 2, recording four tackles, including a tackle for loss. He was all over the field at Washington, recording a career-high and team-leading 12 tackles in the win over the Huskies. Tabach recorded his first career interception in the season opening win over Portland State, returning it 27-yards. He has registered 26 tackles on the season already after totaling 15 through his first two seasons.

Youthful Exhuberance:

With only 13 seniors on the roster, much has been made about the youth on the ASU roster. Through the first six games of the season, the Sun Devils have had five true freshmen (Deantre Lewis, Junior Onyeali, Lee Adams, Alden Darby and Kyle Middlebrooks) see action, including two (Lewis, Onyeali) who have started. 11 redshirt freshmen (Evan Finkenberg, Osahon Irabor, Max Smith, Kody Koebensky, Jarrid Bryant, Christopher Coyle, J.J. Holliday, Brandon Johnson, Shane McCullen, Grandville Taylor, Matt Tucker) have seen playing time in 2010, including starters Finkenberg and Irabor. Seven true sophomores have played (Corey Adams, Vontaze Burfict, Cameron Marshall, Jamal Miles, Greg Smith, Brock Osweiler, R.J. Robinson), including startes Burfict, Marshall and Miles. Nine redshirt sophomores have also seen playing time (Deveron Carr, Keelan Johnson, A.J. Pickens, Andrew Sampson, Kyle Johnson, Steven Figueroa, Cameron Kastl, James Morrison, Toa Tuitea), with three (Carr, Keelan Johnson, Andrew Sampson) having made starts.

Deantre the Century-on:

True freshman Deantre Lewis has been a potent weapon for the Sun Devil offense this season. Lewis already has three 100-yard rushing games to his name, collecting them in consecutive weeks. This marks the first time since 2003 that an ASU running back has totaled three straight 100-yard games, and the sixth time since 1992. 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. Lewis is a dangerous all-purpose threat, gaining 398 yards on the ground and 234 yards through the air. He has scored three rushing touchdowns and two receiving.

Kerry the Load:

Senior Kerry Taylor is turning in a standout senior season. Through six games, Taylor has made a team-leading 25 receptions for 365 yards and two touchdowns.  He has also tied his single game career high in receptions twice with six against both NAU and Wisconsin. Taylor also had six receptions at Oregon State on November 1, 2008. Taylor’s career high for single season receptions is 27, set in 2008. He gained a career high 405 yards that season.

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson:

Junior Gerell Robinson had a breakout day against the Ducks, hauling in a team-leading seven catches for 94 yards, his first catches of the season. He established new career highs in both categories, topping his previous highs of six receptions and 68 yards. He recorded a career milestone in Corvallis against the Beavers, hauling in a 39-yard TD reception in the first quarter, the first touchdown of his career. He also led the team with his 73 yards on four receptions. He added his second career touchdown against Washington.

Spreading the Wealth:

The 2010 Arizona State offense has many weapons, and through the first half of the season it is showing all of them off. ASU has completed 133 passes so far, with 16 different receivers making catches. Kerry Taylor leads the team with his 25 catches for 365 yards, while Mike Willie leads the squad with his four TD grabs. 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. The Sun Devils have six receivers with 10 or more receptions, after having five 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.

Broussard Honored:

Wide receivers coach Steve Broussard was named to the Seattle Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, making the squad as a kickoff returner. Broussard played for the Seahawks from 1995 to 1998 under Dennis Erickson, amassing 3,900 return yards with a touchdown.

First Starts:

Nineteen Sun Devils have made their first career ASU starts during the 2010 season: Brice Schwab (RG), Aaron Pflugrad (WR), Steven Threet (QB), Mike Willie (WR), Jamarr Robinson (DE), Mike Marcisz (RT), Jamaar Jarrett (DE), Shelly Lyons (LB), Eddie Elder (S), Evan Finkenberg (RG), Bo Moos (DT), Oliver Aaron (LB), Deantre Lewis (RB), Aderious Simmons (RT), George Bell (WR), Max Tabach (S), Junior Onyeali (DE), Osahon Irabor (CB) and Trevor Kohl (TE). 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. Of those 19, three are true freshmen (Lewis, Irabor, Onyeali).

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 23 three-and-outs over the first six weeks, in the top 20 in the nation for average per game.

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 Washington they forced 10 plays of negative or no gain for 20 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. Through five games in 2010, ASU has already surpassed that total. There have been 28 runs of 10 yards or more this season, including Deantre Lewis’ 53-yard touchdown run against Oregon. Cameron Marshall owned the longest run from scrimmage in 2009, going 75-yards against Washington. ASU has rushed for 12 touchdowns this season after running for 14 all of last season. Cameron Marshall has six TD runs, the same amount Dimitri Nance had last season when he led the team.

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 threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. He also completed 33 passes to set a new career high. Against Oregon, Threet established a new high in attempts (50) and tied his career high with three touchdowns. 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, the most rushing yards since October 13, 2007 against Washington, when ASU, led by Ryan Torain, ran for 296 yards. ASU collected 210 yards on the ground against Oregon. The last time the Sun Devils rushed for over 200 yards in two games or more in a season was 2007, when they did it three times. They did it once last year (at Washington State), but did not do it in 2008.
Weber Looks to Cement His Legacy:
Kicker Thomas Weber looks to cement his legacy in the ASU record books during his senior season. Weber has been stellar throughout his Sun Devil career, connecting on 60-77 (78%) 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.

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 296 points in his ASU career, tied 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.

Great Success:
Fourth-year head coach Dennis Erickson has a career record of 170-86-1, including two National Championships, for a winning percentage of .662 over his 21 years as an FBS head coach. That’s 12th among active coaches with at least 10 years experience at a school in FBS. Bob Stoops is the national leader with a .808 winning percentage in 11 years at Oklahoma.

Hall 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.

Roster Files:

The Sun Devil roster boasts players from 16 different states, ranging from Oregon to Florida. There are 49 Sun Devils who come from California, followed by 37 who stayed at home in Arizona. There are three from Florida, Texas, Nevada and Colorado, two from Oregon and one each from Connecticut, Utah, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New Jersey and Michigan.

QB Luncheon:

Arizona State will be honoring all former Sun Devil quarterbacks on October 29, as the Sun Devil Club and the Alumni Association will hold their Legends Luncheon. All former ASU QBs were invited to attend, with former stars Andrew Walter, Jake Plummer, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Gen. John Goodman and Danny White scheduled to attend.

Mazzone's Touch:

The Sun Devil offense is much improved from a year ago, but just how much? Through the first six games in 2009, ASU averaged 369.7 yards of total offense per game. Through the first six games this season, the Sun Devils are averaging 455.2 yards of total offense a game, an improvement of 85.5 yards. The offense has scored 24 more points at the halfway point than last year and the passing game has gained 427 more yards than in 2009.

Experience:
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.
Devil Data: 
ASU has played in Berkeley only four times since their win at Memorial Stadium in 1997...The Devils also faced California following a bye week in 2007 and 2008...Dennis Erickson has coached an NCAA game in four different decades...Cameron Marshall has six rushing touchdowns so far in 2010. The last Sun Devil with more than seven was Delvon Flowers, who ran for 11 in 2001...so far Arizona State is the only school to hold Oregon’s LaMichael James to under 100-yards rushing.