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Sun Devils close out home schedule hosting the Bruins

November 24, 2008

 NOTES: Game 11 - UCLA (pdf)
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  The Oregonian: Despite the knockdowns, Carpenter stands alone



Date: Friday, November 28, 2008
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT
Site: Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium (71,706), Tempe, Ariz.
Television: ESPN2
   Play-by-Play: Sean McDonough
   Color: Chris Spielman
   Sideline: Rob Stone
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 




• Senior QB Rudy Carpenter is putting his name in the Sun Devil record books
• The Sun Devil defense scored a touchdown for the third game in a row
Kyle Williams had the first multi-TD game of his career against the Cougars
Dexter Davis has his fourth multi-sack game of the season against Washington State and eighth of his career
Garth Gerhart and Paul 'Unga made their first career starts against the Cougars, becoming the 20th and 21st Sun Devils to do so this season
• Arizona State has now now played 10 true freshmen this season, the most in school historyory
• The Sun Devils have seen eight different freshmen see their first career action this year
• A combined 27 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 31-0 shutout of the Washington State Cougars on November 15, the Sun Devils will close out the home portion of their schedule by hosting the UCLA Bruins on Friday, November 28. Arizona State will say goodbye to 15 seniors, who will be making their final appearance at Sun Devil Stadium. The Bruins are 4-6, 3-4 in the Pac-10 following a 27-7 win over Washington on November 15. The Sun Devils are also 4-6, 3-4 in the Pac-10. Both teams had bye weeks last week.

ASU is celebrating 50 years at Sun Devil Stadium, home stadium of the Arizona State University football team. The Sun Devils have a 245-87-3 record at Sun Devil Stadium, including a 7-1 mark in 2007. 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 UCLA game can be heard on 92.3 KTAR FM.

ESPN2 will televise the UCLA game to a national audience. Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman will call the action, while Rob Stone patrols the sidelines.

This will be the 25th meeting between the two schools, with UCLA holding a 15-8-1 advantage. The Devils are 3-8 all-time at home against the Bruins. ASU won last season's meeting in the Rose Bowl 24-20, but UCLA won the last match-up at Sun Devil Stadium in 2006, beating ASU 24-12.

Rudy Carpenter threw three touchdown passes two to Kyle Williams, while the defense held Washington State scoreless, giving ASU its first shutout since 1996. Lawrence Guy scored a defensive touchdown, while Dexter Davis racked up two more QB sacks in the win.

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 41 straight contests and has seen action in 45 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 10,266 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 351 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 25 wins as the starting quarterback for Arizona State, third 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 is second with 26 wins from 1974-77. With the win over the Cougars, 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 41 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 four 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 second in career completions with 773, touchdowns with 80, attempts with 1,252 and yards with 10,266. He is four completions shy of Andrew Walter for first all-time.

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 six 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 sixth in touchdown passes, one behind Colt McCoy of Texas.

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 Sun Devils wore throwback helmets for the Homecoming game against the Cougars, wearing decals that Arizona State wore from 1976 to 1979...ASU improved to 58-17-3 on Homecoming with the win...When Arizona State kicked a field goal in the second quarter to go up 3-0, it marked the first time they had scored first since Sept. 13 against UNLV...Stanley Malamala made his first career reception, the 19th different Sun Devil to catch a pass this season.

The Arizona State defense shut down the Washington State offense in the 31-0 win, 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 four, including one in the win over the Cougars. Nixon is the team leader in interceptions, one ahead of Troy Nolan. He is also tied for the Pac-10 lead in interceptions.

Garth Gerhart started at left guard against Washington State, his first career start, while Paul 'Unga started at defensive tackle for his first career start. That makes 21 different Sun Devils to have made their first career start this season. Joining Gerhart as offensive linemen making their first start were Zach 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 TaylorStanley Malamala, Wes Evans, Andrew Pettes, Dan Knapp and Jovon WilliamsSaia Falahola, Lawrence Guy and Jonathan EnglishTerell 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. made his first start as a wide receiver this season and all made their first career starts at tight end. Joining 'Unga on the defensive side are have all started at defensive tackle, while

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. Eight redshirt freshmen have also played this year: OL Adam Tello, 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 35 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and has a quarterback sack so far this year. The 35 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.

Senior safety Troy Nolan recorded his ninth career interception against Oregon State on Nov. 1, returning it 41 yards for a touchdown. It was the third career interception return for a score for Nolan. He found the end zone again against Washington on Nov. 8, scooping up a fumble and returning it 44-yards for a touchdown and his fourth career score. Nolan led the team with seven tackles and also broke up two passes in the win.

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. 15. 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 52 receptions for 668 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.

Kyle Williams had only two catches against Washington State, but he made them count, as both went for scores. It marks the first time in his career that Williams has scored two touchdowns in a game and it gave him four on the season. He has reached the end zone 10 times in his career. This season Williams has made 16 catches for 324 yards, an average of 20.2 yards per reception.

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 72 points and has also punted 43 times for an average of 41.8 yards a kick.

With eight field goals in his last three games, Weber now has 40 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 nine 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 had another monster game against the Cougars, recording two sacks, his second straight multi-sack game. That marked the eighth time in his career that Davis has recorded a multi-sack game and it gave him 25.5 for his career, half a sack shy of Scott Stephen (1983-86) for four most in school history. Davis now has nine sacks this season, second most in the Pac-10 and one and a half shy of his career high set last season. Davis has 9.0 QB sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 32 total tackles this year. He has started all 36 games in his Sun Devil career and has already totaled 25.5 sacks, 37 tackles for loss and 106 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 UCLA game will mark the final appearance at Sun Devil Stadium 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 2,572 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 2,572 career rushing yards, Herring finds himself 9th on Arizona State's all-time rushing list. He is 45 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. Morris Wooten and Luis Vasquez were the game captains against Washington State.

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.

Arizona State travels to Tucson for the annual Battle for the Territorial Cup. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. from Arizona Stadium.