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No. 7 football plays host to No. 20 Cal on Homecoming

October 22, 2007
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT
Site: Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) - Tempe, Ariz.
Television: FSN
Play-by-Play: Ted Robinson 
Color: Warren Moon
Sideline: Lindsey Soto
Sun Devil Radio: KTAR 620 AM & KMVP/KTAR 92.3 FM
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
Sideline: Amy Bender

• Arizona State is 7-0 for the first time since 1996 and the eighth time in school history
Dennis Erickson is the first ASU coach to win his first four Pac-10 games at the school
• Senior WR Rudy Burgess is the only active player in the Pac-10 Conference and one of three in the nation to have surpassed 1,000 yards rushing, receiving and returning during his career
• The Sun Devils have intercepted at least one pass in nine straight games, dating back to last season
Troy Nolan has five picks on the season, the most by a Sun Devil in a season since 2000
• ASU received a first place vote in the AP Poll for the first time since 1996
• The ASU defense has allowed an average of 1.7 points in the fourth quarter this season
• ASU's 296 rushing yards against UW was the 8th-most yards gained on the ground since 1996
• ASU has not suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 59 years, the fourth longest active streak in the nation

TEMPE, Ariz. - After enjoying a bye week, Arizona State returns to the gridiron to host the #18/20 California Golden Bears on Saturday, Oct. 27. ASU is 7-0 and 3-0 in the Pac-10 and ranked #7 in both the AP poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. Cal enters the contest 5-2, 2-2 in the Pac-10. The Golden Bears fell 30-21 to UCLA at the Rose Bowl last weekend.

The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 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.

FSN will televise the Sun Devils meeting with California. Ted Robinson will handle play-by-play while NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon will provide the color analysis. Lindsey Soto will patrol the sidelines.

Saturday will be the 27th meeting between the Sun Devils and the Golden Bears. The all-time series is tied at 13 wins apiece, with ASU holding a 9-6 lead at Sun Devil Stadium. Cal has beaten Arizona State four straight times, including last season's 49-21 win in Berkeley.

The Sun Devils come into the match-up with California ranked #7 in the AP Poll and #7 in the USA Today poll, their highest ranking in either poll since 1996. Also, ASU is 4th in the BCS Standings, the highest ranking in school history. The Sun Devils were 8th in the first BCS Standings, released following the win over Washington.

The Sun Devils surged in the second half once again, outscoring the Huskies 31-3 over the final two quarters to turn a 17-13 halftime deficit into a 44-20 victory. Keegan Herring ran for 119 yards, including a 76-yard TD, while Dimitri Nance added a 92-yard performance, adding his own 57-yard scoring scamper in the win. Rudy Carpenter threw two touchdowns and Troy Nolan returned another interception for a score, his second of the year, to help lead Arizona State to the victory.

Keegan Herring's 76-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest rushing touchdown by a Sun Devil since J.R. Redmond covered 80 yards on October 2, 1999 against UCLA
• Arizona State's 16-play, 59-yard opening drive that resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Thomas Weber matched the longest drive (number of plays) for the Sun Devils since a 16-play, 68-yard drive on October 6, 2002, at No. 6 Oregon. That drive also resulted in a field goal of 29 yards by Mike Barth

With Ryan Torain hobbled against Washington, the Sun Devils didn't miss a beat. Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance picked up a combined 211 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, helping ASU to a season-best 296 total rushing yards on the night. Herring had 119 yards on the game, his second 100-yard performance of the year and fifth of his career. ASU is now 249-49-5 when it has a 100-yard rusher, including 5-0 this season.

Not only did Herring and Nance rack up a lot of yards, they both did it in highlight-reel fashion. Nance broke off a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the longest run of his career. Not to be outdone, Herring put up a 76-yard scoring run of his own, outracing the UW secondary for the score. The 76-yarder was the longest of Herring's career.

Troy Nolan picked up his fifth interception of the year against the Huskies, then returned it 35 yards for his second touchdown of the year. The five picks by Nolan is the most by a Sun Devil in a single season since Nijrell Eason had five in 2000.

Thanks to Nolan's interception, ASU has picked off a pass in all seven games so far this season and nine straight, dating back to 2006. Arizona State now has 12 interceptions this season after totaling 15 in 2006.

Rudy Burgess is one of only three active FBS players and one of only 14 FBS players all-time to top the 1,000-yard mark in rushing, receiving and return yardage. In his career, Burgess has 1,082 yards on the ground, 1,380 yards through the air and 1,137 return yards on both punts and kickoffs. He has scored 18 times as a Sun Devil, six rushing and 12 receiving. He also threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Derek Hagan in 2005 against Washington State. Hagan set the school record for career touchdown receptions on that pass.

Redshirt freshman kicker Thomas Weber has begun his Sun Devil career like no other kicker before him. With his three made field goals against Washington, Weber has now made 14 consecutive field goal attempts. Not only is that the best streak in ASU history to begin a career, it's also a school record for most consecutive made field goals. Alan (1987) and Luis (1981) Zendejas shared the previous record of nine, and Mike Richey held the previous record of consecutive field goals to begin a career at eight in 1989 and 1990. Nine of Weber's 14 field goals have been from at least 30 yards, including his long of 47. He has scored 70 points on the year. Weber has also taken over the punting duties, averaging 41.3 yards per boot. He has had four kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.

Robert James continues to keep his name at the top of the tackle ledger week after week. James had a team-leading seven tackles against Washington, the sixth time this season he has led the Devils in tackles. On the year he has 66 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to go with his three interceptions this season. He is tied for fifth in the conference averaging 9.4 tackles per game.

Sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history last season, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News. The Phoenix, Ariz., native recorded a team-best and Pac-10 freshman season-high 6.0 quarterback sacks, the third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. Davis' total trails only those by Terrell Suggs (2000) and Shante Carver (1990), who each posted 10.0 sacks as a freshman and in total, Suggs (44 career sacks) and Carver (41) rank first and second on ASU's all-time career sacks list. Also, Davis totaled 40 tackles on the season, the most by an ASU freshman since TSN freshman All-America safety Jason Shivers' team-high 89 total stops in 2001. Davis has picked up right where he left off, as he has racked up a team leading 6.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Arizona State is ranked nationally in many major categories on both offense and defense. The Sun Devils are ranked 7th nationally in pass efficiency defense (94.35) and 14th in total defense (304.3 ypg). The defense is also ranked 4th in the country in scoring defense (15 ppg/allowed) and 13th in the nation in rushing defense (90.14 ypg). The Sun Devils are 2nd in the country in Time of Possession at 34:02 and 8th in the country in Pass Efficiency (158.68). Troy Nolan is tied for 3rd in the nation with five interceptions. Rudy Carpenter is 10th nationally in pass efficiency (158.85), while Thomas Weber is tied for 5th nationally with 14 field goals.

No team in the Pac-10 showcased as many talented defensive freshmen as ASU did in 2006, headlined by defensive end Dexter Davis and linebacker Travis Goethel, both of whom earned Pac-10 All-Freshman and honorable mention Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News. Both Davis and Goethel anchor the Sun Devil defense in 2007.

Rudy Carpenter continues to be one of the top QBs in the Pac-10 Conference. Carpenter is tied with WSU's Alex Brink as the active leader among Pac-10 quarterbacks with eight career 300-yard games. Carpenter ranks second to Brink, who is a year of eligibility ahead of Carpenter, in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards and touchdown passes. Carpenter now has 56 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 6,526 yards.

Rudy Carpenter now has 56 touchdown passes in his career. He is only the fourth Sun Devil all-time to throw at least 50 touchdowns, joining Andrew Walter (85), Jake Plummer (65) and Danny White (64). The 56 career TD passes are good for 19th most in Pac-10 history, passing UW's Cody Pickett and OSU's Jonathan Smith for 18th. He is two away from tying USC's Rob Johnson for 18th most in conference history.

The Sun Devils showcase one of the most experienced and honored offensive lines in the Pac-10, as ASU boasts the only unit of linemen in the conference which returns all five starters from the conclusion of the 2006 season. Also, ASU returns three offensive linemen that received All-Pac-10 honors in 2006, trailing only Oregon State for most in the conference and five Sun Devil linemen, including four starters, have already earned their undergraduate degree. The Sun Devil front five is led by second-team All-Pac-10 center, graduate Mike Pollak and honorable mention All-Pac-10 recipients junior guard Paul Fanaika and graduate tackle Brandon Rodd. Graduate guard Robert Gustavis and graduate tackle Julius Orieuwku also provide starting experience for 2007. Last season, Gustavis and Pollak started all 13 games at right guard and center, respectively, while Rodd started all 11 games in which he played at left tackle. After injuries suffered by 2006 seniors Andrew Carnahan and Stephen Berg, Faniaka started the season's final 10 games, while Orieukwu was a starter in the final seven contests. Sophomore tackle Richard Tuitu'u adds depth in 2007 after filling in as a starter for Rodd last season. Graduate Zach Krula will be welcomed back to the line in 2007, having earned a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the majority of the past two seasons due to injury. A starter in nine of 17 career games at guard, Krula was moved to right tackle this season. In 2006, the Sun Devil blockers helped enable ASU to gain its greatest rushing total since 1999 and showcase the team's first 1,000-yard runner since 2001. So far this season, the line has done their job again. ASU is averaging 177.1 yards per game on the ground and Ryan Torain has reached the 100 yard mark on the ground three times. Keegan Herring also has two 100-yard games under his belts. Also, ASU has rushed for 11 touchdowns so far this year.

After establishing itself in recent years as a national offensive powerhouse predominately predicated on its passing attack, ASU proved it could attack opposing defenses with a punishing ground game last season. The Sun Devils boast one of the best backfields in the Pac-10, featuring junior Keegan Herring and sophomore Dimitri Nance. ASU rushed for 2,206 yards in 2006 and so far in 2007 it has gained 1,240 yards on the ground. In total, ASU has three of eight active Pac-10 ballcarriers to have surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards, including Herring and Ryan Torain as well as senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess, who is a dangerous all-purpose threat and was ASU's starting tailback during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

After breaking ASU's freshman rushing record by totaling 870 yards in 2005, junior Keegan Herring rushed for 549 yards on 94 carries in 2006 as part of the most dynamic rushing combination in the Pac-10 Conference. One of the quickest athletes in the Pac-10, Herring led all Sun Devil runners last season averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry and is one of only four active ballcarriers in the conference to have rushed for over 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. He's almost at that mark again, with 480 yards so far this year. In 32 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 325 carries for 1,899 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.

Herring enters this weekend's match-up with Cal just 101 yards shy of 2,000 for his career. Only 15 Sun Devils have hit that mark in their careers, including the most recent, J.R. Redmond, who did it from 1996 to 1999. If he can get to 2,000 yards, he would be one of only five active Pac-10 runners who have achieved that milestone.

Dating back to the 2006 season, ASU has the best Pac-10 record amongst all 10 conference members. The Sun Devils are 8-2 in their last 10 conference games, one game better than Cal, USC, UCLA and Oregon State.

With the win over Washington Rudy Carpenter is now 18-7 as Arizona State's starting quarterback. That puts him in a tie for the fifth-most victories by a starting ASU QB all-time. Danny White holds the all-time record for wins by a starting QB, going 30-3 in from 1971 to 1973. Dennis Sproul is second with a 26-11 record from 1974-77. Carpenter is tied with Andrew Walter and Ryan Kealy for fifth place.

Dennis Erickson is one of two first-year coaches who has his team unbeaten. Coach Erickson joins Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski as coaches who are 7-0 in their first season at their respective schools. The 7-0 start for Erickson is the best start for an ASU coach in his first season in school history.

The 7-0 start at ASU for Dennis Erickson is not only the best start by a coach in school history, it's one of the best starts in the history of the Pac-10 Conference. The 7-0 mark is tied for the second best start by a Pac-10 coach in the Post-War Era, and the best start in the past 56 years. In 1951, USC's Jess Hill started 7-0, while Stanford's Charles Taylor started 9-0. Coach Erickson is also the first ASU coach to ever win his first four Pac-10 games at ASU.

Dennis Erickson is no stranger to facing ranked opponents. In his career, Coach Erickson is 26-15 against Top 25 teams, including a 17-7 record against teams in the Top 10. Cal enters this week's meeting ranked #18/20.

For just the second time in ASU history, the Sun Devils are bowl eligible for a bowl game for the fourth straight season. The last time ASU went to four straight bowl games was from 1970 to 1973, when they appeared in the Peach Bowl and the first three Fiesta Bowls.

At halftime of the USC game on Thanksgiving, Sun Devil fans will be treated to musical legend Little Richard. He is an inaugural member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will perform with the Sun Devil Marching Band.

The Arizona State football team has several two-sport athletes on the roster. WR Mike Jones has spent the past two seasons as a centerfielder for the baseball team, including last year's Pac-10 Championship team that advanced to the College World Series. Jones was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 42nd round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, but has opted not to sign a contract and will return to the baseball team in 2008. WR Kyle Williams will also play baseball for ASU in 2008. He took the 2007 baseball season off to concentrate on football, but hopes to compete for an infield spot in 2008. In addition to the baseball players, ASU football also has three student-athletes who participated in the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships last season. WR Rodney Glass, CB Justin Tryon and WR Brandon Smith all ran for the Devils in Palo Alto, Calif.

Eight members of the Arizona State football team have already earned their undergraduate degrees, tied for the fifth most players in the country. Five of the ASU grads are offensive linemen.

ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference by West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. Defending Pac-10 champion USC was the unanimous choice to win their fifth straight conference crown, garnering all 39 first place votes. ASU and USC will meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 22 on ESPN. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 24 of 46 previous polls, including the last seven years.

Arizona State is one of five FBS (Division I-A) teams in the country that is still undefeated. ASU is the only Pac-10 team on the list.

Several Sun Devils have earned mid-season accolades from various outlets. Troy Nolan was named a Second Team mid-season All-American by Sports Illustrated and was named to the Thorpe Award Watch List, while Thomas Weber was named a First Team mid-season All-American by CBS Sportsline, a Second Teamer by and a Third Team mid-season All-American by Phil Steele. Robert James earned Fourth Team All-American honors from Phil Steele, while Ryan Torain, Mike Pollak, Paul Fanaika, Brandon Rodd, Dexter Davis and Kyle Williams were named Second Team All-Pac-10 by Steele. Mike Jones was named to the Third Team. Pollak also earned First Team mid-season All-American honors by Michael Marquardt was named a Semi-Finalist for the Draddy Trophy, the Academic Heisman.

Arizona State will head to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:45 p.m. with FSN Arizona providing television coverage.