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Football returns home for California on homecoming

October 26, 2009

Weekly Release- California Get Acrobat Reader

Following a 33-14 loss at Stanford last week, Arizona State returns to Tempe for Homecoming against the California Golden Bears on Saturday, October 31. The Sun Devils fell behind 24-0 at half against the Cardinal and could not come back, falling to 4-3 on the year, 2-2 in Pac-10 play. Cal is now 5-2, 2-2 in conference play following their 49-17 win over Washington State in Berkeley.

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

ABC will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Golden Bears. Terry Gannon and David Norrie will call the action.

This will be the 29th match-up between Arizona State and Cal. The Sun Devils and Golden Bears are tied at 14 wins apiece, including Cal's 24-14 victory at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley last season. Arizona State is 10-6 against Cal in Tempe, including a 31-20 win in 2007.

The game with the Golden Bears will mark the seventh time in school history that Arizona State will play a football game on Halloween and sixth time in Tempe. ASU is 3-3 all-time in Halloween games, with the last one coming in 1998. The Sun Devils went to Washington State and beat the Cougars 38-28 that season. They lost to USC in 1992, lost to UCLA in 1987, beat Colorado State in 1964, beat New Mexico State in 1959 and fell to Hardin-Simmons in 1953. Dennis Erickson has coached in two previous Halloween games in his career. He lost at USC in 1987 with Washington State and beat West Virginia with Miami in 1992.

Chris McGaha now has 1,971 career receiving yards, 29 yards shy of 2,000 for his career...McGaha also needs 3 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).

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

The Sun Devils play their penultimate home game of 2009 when they host the USC Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium on November 7.



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

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

• Senior Dexter Davis' 45 straight starts is the most by a Sun Devil since 1984.

• 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 and a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.


Stanford Recap: Toby Gerhart ran for 125 yards and a touchdown, helping Stanford to 237 rushing yards en route to a 33-14 win over Arizona State. The Cardinal ran for four scores, while Andrew Luck also threw for 236 yards, staking Stanford to a 24-0 halftime lead that they would never relinquish. Danny Sullivan threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns, while Chris McGaha hauled in six catches for 80 yards and a score in the loss.


Stanford Notes:

• ASU's three-game win streak against Stanford was snapped.

• The Sun Devils NCAA-long 14-game interception streak was snapped.

• Arizona State did not attempt a field goal for the second time this season.


Start Him Up: With his start against Stanford, Dexter Davis took over sole possession of first place with his 45 straight starts, the most by a Sun Devil since 1984. Davis passed Scott Peters, who made 44 straight starts from 1998 to 2001. Starts weren't officially tracked as a statistic until 1984, so the 45 starts is believed to be an all-time school record. 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).

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. Thanks to his 1.5 sacks against Washington State, Davis has moved into third place on ASU's all-time list with 29 sacks in his Sun Devil career. 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.

McLoving McGaha: Senior Chris McGaha proves every week just how valuable he is to the Sun Devil offense. After catching the game-winning pass against the Huskies, McGaha came up big against Stanford. He led the Sun Devils with his six catches for 80 yards and a score, giving him 35 receptions on the season, tops on the team. His 402 yards also leads ASU, as do his three touchdown catches, which tie a career high. This marks the third straight season McGaha has made at least 35 catches. He made a career high 61 catches for 830 yards in 2007, while catching 35 passes for 501 yards a season ago. He is three receptions shy of 150 in his career and 29 yards shy of 2,000 yards in his career.

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 1,610 yards and has run for 18 touchdowns. He leads the team this season with 471 yards and is third on the team with 20 catches for 167 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.

Mr. Williams Neighborhood: One week after setting a new career-high with 13 receptions, Kyle Williams showed his versatility against the Huskies. 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, 2009, when Rudy Burgess threw a touchdown to Rudy Burgess in Pullman against Washington State. Williams did not play in the Stanford game.

Making Up For Lost Time: Ryan McFoy made his first career interception against Nevada in 2006. He made his second later that year against Stanford. He then went 35 games without intercepting another pass before picking one off at Washington State. McFoy enjoyed that interception so much, he picked off two passes from Jake Locker and Washington the next week. It was his first career multi-interception game, and gave him three picks in two games after garnering zero in the previous 35. McFoy is tied for the team lead in interceptions with Mike Nixon and Jarrell Holman.

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 424 plays, with 81 of them having gone for negative yardage or no gain (not counting incomplete passes). Opponents have lost 219 yards on those 81 plays.

Debuts: 24 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, 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 24, 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 four games at middle linebacker.

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 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.

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. 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 and a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.

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.

Magee Making A Name In Two Sports: Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee is putting together a terrific football season, having made 25 tackles, fifth most on the team. He is second 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.

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 437-218-8 in their 662 games, a winning percentage of .667. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .757 winning percentage (515-162-12).

Ball Hawks: The Sun Devils have compiled 19 total takeaways on the year, including 13 INTs. ASU has a +8 turnover ratio on the year, tops in the Pac-10 and fifth nationally. 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.

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 49-58 (84%) on field goal attempts and has scored 232 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 49 career field goals puts Weber in a tie with Mike Barth for third place on ASU’s all-time made field goal list. The record is 81, held by Zendejas. Weber's 232 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.