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Sun Devils and Wildcats meet for Territorial Cup

December 01, 2008

 NOTES: Game 12 - Arizona (pdf)
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  The Oregonian: Despite the knockdowns, Carpenter stands alone



Date: Saturday, December 6, 2008
Kickoff: 6:0 p.m. MT
Site: Arizona Stadium (57,400), Tucson, Ariz.
Television: ESPN
   Play-by-Play: Mark Jones
   Color: Bob Davie
Television: FS Arizona
   Play-by-Play: Dave Sitton
   Color: Lincoln Kennedy
Sun Devil Radio: 620 KTAR AM & 92.3 KTAR FM
   Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
   Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
USA Radio: national broadcast
   Play-by-Play: Tom Dillon
   Color: Gary Barnett
   Sideline: Scott Yoffe



Rudy Carpenter is now Arizona State's all-time leader in pass completions
Morris Wooten's 17 tackles against UCLA were the most by a Sun Devil since 2003
• The Sun Devils tied an NCAA record with their four defensive touchdowns
• The Sun Devil defense scored a touchdown for the fourth game in a row
• Arizona State has not allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters
• ASU sacked the Bruin quarterbacks five times, the most in a game since they sacked Stanford QBs seven times in 2007
• Arizona State will say goodbye to 15 seniors who will be playing in their final regular season game
• Arizona State has played 10 true freshmen this season, the most in school history
• The Sun Devils have had 10 redshirt freshmen see their first career action this season
• A combined 28 players have made their NCAA debuts this season for Arizona State
• Seven members of the Arizona State football team have already earned their undergraduate degrees


Following a 34-9 victory over UCLA that featured an NCAA record-tying four defensive touchdowns by the Sun Devils, Arizona State will close out the 2008 regular season in Tucson on Saturday, December 6 against in-state rival Arizona. Arizona is 6-5, 4-4 in the Pac-10 and is coming off a bye week. Arizona State is 5-6, 4-4 in the Pac-10. The winner of the Duel in the Desert will earn the Territorial Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in the NCAA.

ASU is celebrating 50 years at Sun Devil Stadium, home stadium of the Arizona State University football team. The Sun Devils have a 246-87-3 record at Sun Devil Stadium. In 1996, the playing field was named Frank Kush Field, after the legendary Sun Devil coach. Sun Devil Stadium has played host to 35 Fiesta Bowls, two Insight Bowls and Super Bowl XXX. Over 17 million fans have seen the Sun Devils play at Sun Devil Stadium.

The 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 Arizona game can be heard on 92.3 KTAR FM. USA Radio will also broadcast the game nationally, with Tom Dillon, Gary Barnett and Scott Yoffe.

ESPN and FS Arizona will televise the Arizona game. Mark Jones and Bob Davie will call the action for ESPN, while Dave Sitton and Lincoln Kennedy will call the game for FS Arizona.

This will be the 82nd Duel in the Desert, with Arizona leading the all-time series 44-36-1. Arizona State has won the last three meetings, including a 20-17 win in Sun Devil Stadium last year. Arizona State is 17-28 all-time in Tucson. 

The Sun Devil defense scored four touchdowns, tying an NCAA record to lead Arizona State to a 34-9 victory. Paul 'Unga recovered a fumble for a score, while Travis Goethel, Mike Nixon and Troy Nolan all returned UCLA interceptions for touchdowns. Nolan's went for 100-yards, the third time in school history a Sun Devil has returned an interception for 100-yards.

Now in his fourth season under center, senior QB Rudy Carpenter is the nation's leader for the most consecutive games starting at quarterback in college football. Carpenter has started 42 straight contests and has seen action in 46 career games. In the Pac-10 last year, only two other quarterbacks did not miss a game. But here is the most impressive nugget...when Jake "the Snake" Plummer started the final 40 games of his career that ended in 1996, ASU began a stretch in 1997 that ended in 2004 (nine seasons) in which eight quarterbacks made at least one start. Rudy took over in the eighth game in 2005 and has started every game since. He has started every game the past two seasons, as only Andrew Walter in 2003 did the same in the past 11 seasons.

Rudy Carpenter continues to be one of the top QBs in the Pac-10 Conference. Carpenter is the active Pac-10 leader in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards, touchdown passes and 300 yard games. Carpenter now has 80 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 10,367 yards in his ASU career. He currently ranks 8th all-time in Pac-10 history for passing yards, trailing fellow Sun Devil Andrew Walter (2001-2004) by 250 yards for 7th place.

Rudy Carpenter now has 80 touchdown passes in his career. He is only the second Sun Devil all-time to throw at least 80 touchdowns, joining Andrew Walter (85), who has the second highest total in Pac-10 history. The 80 career TD passes is good for 3rd most in Pac-10 history. He is five behind Walter for 2nd place.

Rudy is also climbing the Pac-10's All-Time Total Offense chart. Carpenter currently ranks 9th all-time in total offense, accumulating 9,972 total yards. He is 70 yards shy of Washington's Cody Pickett (1999-2003) for 8th all-time in conference history.

Rudy Carpenter has 26 wins as the starting quarterback for Arizona State, tied with Dennis Sproul for second most wins as a starter in school history. Danny White holds the all-time record for wins by a starting quarterback, going 30-3 from 1971 to 1973. Dennis Sproul's 26 wins came from 1974-77. With the win over the Cougars on Nov. 15, Carpenter passed Jake Plummer for third place. Plummer went 24-16 from 1993 to 1996. Jeff Van Raaphorst, Plummer and Carpenter are the only three QBs in ASU history who have led the Sun Devils to a Pac-10 title.

Carpenter's 42 straight starts not only leads all quarterbacks in the nation, but it is also one of the longest starting streaks in school history at any position. Since 1984, only two players have made more consecutive starts than Rudy Carpenter.

Against NAU on August 30, Carpenter tied a 56-year old school record by completing 13 consecutive passes. The only other Sun Devil to complete that many in a row was Dick Mackey, who accomplished the feat against San Diego Navy in 1952. The NCAA record is 24, held by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998 and Cal's Aaron Rodgers in 2004. Carpenter also had a string of 10 straight completions against the Cardinal.

Carpenter continues to etch his name into the ASU annals of passing history. He is now Arizona State's all-time leader in career completions with 786, passing Andrew Walter's 777. Carpenter is second in touchdowns with 80, attempts with 1,272 and yards with 10,367.

Over his three seasons at Arizona State, Rudy Carpenter has found success achieved by few who wore maroon and gold. Carpenter has started three bowl games (2005 Insight, 2006 Hawai'i and 2007 Holiday), only the second quarterback in school history to accomplish that feat. Danny White is the only other, starting the Fiesta Bowl in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Rudy also joins Jeff Van Raaphorst (1986) and Jake Plummer (1996) as ASU quarterbacks to lead the Sun Devils to a Pac-10 title.

Carpenter isn't just highly ranked in the Pac-10, but in the nation as well. The senior signal caller ranks in the top seven among active FBS quarterbacks in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is fifth in yards behind Purdue's Curtis Painter for fourth. He is seventh in touchdown passes, two behind Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.

300 GAME
Carpenter's 345 yards against Stanford was his 11th career 300-yard game and second straight, tops among active Pac-10 quarterbacks. The Sun Devils are 8-3 when Rudy throws for over 300 yards, including a 6-0 mark at home. He has thrown for over 300 yards against nine different teams, including Northern Arizona on August 30. Washington State and Stanford are the only schools he has done it against twice.

Carpenter went 22-28 against NAU on August 30, a completion percentage of .786. It marked his second-highest career completion percentage in a game he had at least 20 passing attempts. His career best was in 2005 against Washington at Sun Devil Stadium, when he completed 27 of 34 passes for a .794 completion percentage. In that game he threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-20 victory. Against Stanford, Carpenter went 27-36, a 75% completion rate.

The Arizona State defense had a monster night against the Bruins, tying an NCAA record with four defensive touchdowns. Paul 'Unga got it all started in the second quarter, returning a fumble 17-yards for a score to give Arizona State an early 7-3 lead. Later in the second, Travis Goethel picked off his second career pass and returned it 38-yards for a score. The Bruins were threatening in the fourth quarter when Troy Nolan tipped a Kevin Craft pass to himself in the endzone, then raced 100-yards for the score, tying the school record for longest interception return in school history. On the ensuing Bruins possession, Mike Nixon intercepted his Pac-10 leading fifth pass and brought it back 45-yards to the house to tie the NCAA record. The Sun Devils tied the record held by Houston in 1987 and Florida in 1996. Two FCS schools, Northwestern State and Milliken, also scored four defensive touchdowns in a game.

The three INT returns for scores also set a new school record, besting the previous of two which had been done three times. The 183 interception return yards shattered the previous mark of 139, set in 1985 against Cal when ASU picked off seven passes. Arizona State has now scored a defensive touchdown in four straight games and has returned four picks for scores. That is one shy of the school record set in 1974.

Senior linebacker Morris Wooten made his final appearance at Sun Devil Stadium a memorable one, accumulating 17 tackles in the victory over the Bruins. He added two QB sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the win. The 17 tackles was the most by a Sun Devil since Jason Shivers recorded 17 tackles at Iowa in 2003. 

The Arizona State defense shut down the Washington State offense in the 31-0 win on November 15, giving ASU their first shutout since Sept. 21, 1996. That was the night the Sun Devils beat #1 Nebraska 19-0. It was the 17th shutout for Arizona State since it joined the Pac-10 in 1989. The Sun Devils held the Cougars to 130 total yards, tied for the second best defensive performance in a Pac-10 game in ASU history. It was also the fourth best overall defensive performance since 1996.

Junior Mike Nixon, who played catcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system before joining the Sun Devils, entered the 2008 season without an interception. He has made up for lost time this season, picking off five, including one in the win over the Bruins. Nixon is the Pac-10 leader in interceptions, one ahead of teammate Troy Nolan.

21 different Sun Devils have made their first career start this season. Offensive linemen making their first start were Garth GerhartZach Schlink (LG), Thomas Altieri (C), Tom Njunge (RT), Adam Tello (RT) and Jon Hargis (LT). Hargis made two starts at defensive tackle last season, but had never started on the offensive line prior to this season. Kerry Taylor made his first start as a wide receiver this season and Stanley Malamala, Wes Evans, Andrew Pettes, Dan Knapp and Jovon Williams all made their first career starts at tight end. On the defensive side are Saia Falahola, Paul 'Unga, Lawrence Guy and Jonathan English, who have all started at defensive tackle, while Terell Carr and Pierre Singfield have each started at corner. Clint Floyd has started at safety. In addition, long snapper Thomas Ohmart and punter Trevor Hankins each have started at their respective positions. (LG),

Arizona State has set a new record this season by playing 10 true freshmen. The previous record was held by the 1994 team, which saw nine true freshmen see game action. The 10 who have played this year are: OL Zach Schlink, WR Gerell Robinson, S Clint Floyd, RB Ryan Bass, CB Josh Jordan, LB Shelly Lyons, LB Brandon Magee, DL Lawrence Guy, SN Thomas Ohmart and DE Jamaar Jarrett. Nine redshirt freshmen have also played this year: OL Adam Tello, OL Mike Marcisz, OL Matt Hustad, LB Oliver Aaron, DE James Brooks, TE Dan Knapp, WR T.J. Simpson, DL Bo Moos, LB Colin Parker and OL Garth Gerhart. Florida State is the national leader, with 22 true freshmen having seen action. The 10 for ASU ties the Devils for 14th most in the nation, tied with four other teams.

True freshman defensive tackle Lawrence Guy has made an immediate impact on the Sun Devils during his debut season. The Las Vegas, Nevada product, who made his first career start at California, has recorded 40 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss and has two quarterback sack so far this year. The 40 tackles is the second most in the conference by a defensive tackle, second only to UCLA's Brigham Harwell, a redshirt senior. He also  scored a touchdown for the first time in his young career, recovering a Washington State fumble and returning it 22 yards for the score. He recorded a QB sack against the Bruins

Senior safety Troy Nolan recorded his 10th career interception against UCLA, returning it 100-yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth career interception return for a score for Nolan. He has scored five total touchdowns, returning a fumble 44-yards for a score against Washington.

Wideout Mike Jones made his final trip to Seattle a memorable one, hauling in a career high 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Washington on Nov. 8. His previous high for receptions was eight, set last year against Texas in the Holiday Bowl. The 146 yards is the second highest total in his career, second only to the 162 yards he posted in the season opening win over Northern Arizona. The Washington game was the fifth time he has caught two scores in a game and the fifth time he has topped the century mark in receiving yards.

Mike Jones has been a two-sport athlete at ASU for three years, spending his springs with the Sun Devil baseball team. But this summer was different for Jones, who was drafted in the 29th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Jones spent his summer in Tampa, Florida as a member of the Gulf Coast Yankees in the Rookie League. He appeared in 15 games, collecting nine hits, including five doubles. Jones has showed no rust from his summer of baseball, hauling in a team-leading 58 receptions for 711 yards and four touchdowns. Jones has been invited to play in the Texas vs. The Nation Collegiate All-Star Game, one of three all-star games being played in January.

Sophomore kicker Thomas Weber returns in 2008, after turning in one of the greatest seasons by a kicker in Arizona State history in 2007. 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. 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 addition to his near-perfect kicking reputation, Weber took over punting duties midway through the season. This year, he has scored 82 points and has also punted 52 times for an average of 41.1 yards a kick. Weber's 42 field goals in his career are the most ever by a Sun Devil in his first two seasons, eclipsing Luis Zendejas, who had 40.

With 10 field goals in his last four games, Weber now has 42 in his almost two seasons as ASU's kicker. That puts the 2007 Groza Award Winner in fourth place for most all-time in school history. Weber passed Robert Ncyz (1995-97) and Mike Richey (1989-92), and is seven behind Mike Barth (1999-2002) for third most all-time. Luis Zendejas is the all-time leader with 81 from 1981-84.

Junior defensive end Dexter Davis added another sack against the Bruins, causing a Kevin Craft fumble that was returned for an ASU touchdown. It was his 10th sack of the season, second most in the Pac-10 and one half shy of his career high set last year. Davis has eight career multi-sack games and now has 26.5 sacks in his career, fourth most in school history. He is 1.5 sacks shy of Vernon Maxwell (1979-82) for third most in school history. Davis has 10.0 QB sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 36 total tackles this year. He has started all 36 games in his Sun Devil career and has already totaled 26.5 sacks, 38 tackles for loss and 110 tackles. The Phoenix native enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history in 2006, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News.  He recorded six sacks that year, third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. He earned Second Team All-Pac-10 honors last season.

Seven members of the 2008 Sun Devil football team have already earned their degrees from Arizona State University. Rudy Carpenter, Mike Jones, Wes Evans, Angelo Fobbs-Valentino, Nate Kimbrough, Troy Nolan and David Smith have all graduated from Arizona State University. The seven graduates is tied for 8th-most in the nation.

Mike Nixon will be writing a weekly diary for The Sporting News about the 2008 season. He is one of 22 FBS student-athletes who will write the weekly column, and one of only two from the Pac-10. It can be read at

The Arizona game will mark the final regular season game for 15 seniors. The seniors are QB Rudy Carpenter, S Rodney Cox, TE Wes Evans, OL Paul Fanaika, S Angelo Fobbs-Valentino, TB Keegan Herring, WR Mike Jones, WR Nate Kimbrough, S Troy Nolan, TE Andrew Pettes, LB Anthony Reyes, DT David Smith, DL Paul 'Unga, DE Luis Vasquez and LB Morris Wooten.

From the moment he set foot on ASU's campus, senior Keegan Herring has had a smile on his face and a hunger for yards. Over his three seasons with the Devils, Herring has been one of the most dependable backs in the Pac-10. He leads all Pac-10 returners with 2,604 career yards, good for 9th most in school history. One of the quickest athletes in the conference and a home run threat on every carry, Herring has scored 20 times and has had at least one carry for over 65 yards in each of his three seasons. Arizona State's leading rusher a season ago, Herring totaled 815 yards on 154 carries, the third straight he has gained over 500 yards.

With his 2,604 career rushing yards, Herring finds himself 9th on Arizona State's all-time rushing list. He is 13 yards short of Darryl Harris (1984-87) for 8th on the list. Herring also has seven career 100-yard games, including one in 2008. His career high for yards in a game is 197 against Northwestern in 2005.

Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter and senior safety Troy Nolan were named team captains after a vote by the team. Head coach Dennis Erickson will designate two additional game captains on a weekly basis. Shawn Lauvao and Luis Vasquez were the game captains against UCLA.

Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter is one of only five four-year starters at the quarterback position in the Bowl Subdivision. Curtis Painter of Purdue, Mike Teel of Rutgers, Willie Tuitama of Arizona, Pat White of West Virginia and Drew Willy of Buffalo are the others.

Rudy Carpenter has now completed a pass to 33 different receivers in his four years at Arizona State. All but two of those were completed to a wide receiver, tight end or running back. The other two? OL Brandon Rodd and himself (twice). The following players have caught a pass from Rudy Carpenter: Gerell Robinson, Mike Jones, Kerry Taylor, Kyle Williams, Chris McGaha, Jovon Williams, Shaun DeWitty, Dimitri Nance, T.J. Simpson, Dan Knapp, Rudy Burgess, Brent Miller, Tyrice Thompson, Keegan Herring, Ryan Torain, Brady Conrad, Andrew Pettes, Nate Kimbrough, Zach Miller, Jamaal Lewis, Brandon Smith, Terry Richardson, Derek Hagan, Matt Miller, Moey Mutz, Chad Christensen, Jeff Gray, Stephen Bisnett, Cornell Canidate, Preston Jones, Wes Evans, Brandon Rodd and Rudy Carpenter.