Sun Devils face Ducks in clash of highly ranked foes
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2007
Kickoff: 3:45 p.m. PT/MT
Site: Autzen Stadium (54,000) - Eugene, Ore.
Television (National Audience): ESPN
Play-by-Play: Mike Patrick
Sideline: Holly Rowe
Play-by-Play: Trey Bender
Sideline: Jody Jackson
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
• Arizona State is 8-0 for the first time since 1996 and the fifth time in school history
• Dennis Erickson is the first ASU coach to win his first five Pac-10 games at the school
• The last time ASU participated in a match-up of Top 5 teams was the 1997 Rose Bowl, when ASU was #2 and Ohio State was #4
• 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 10 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 two first-place votes in the AP Poll this week
• The ASU defense has allowed an average of 1.5 points in the fourth quarter this season
• ASU has not suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 59 years, the fourth longest active streak in the nation
ON THE AIR
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.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
FSN Arizona will televise the Sun Devils meeting with Oregon. Trey Bender will handle play-by-play while former ASU All-American Juan Roque will provide the color analysis. Jody Jackson will work the sidelines. ESPN will also televise the game to a national audience with Mike Patrick and Todd Blackledge calling the action. Holly Rowe will handle the sideline duties.
SUN DEVILS VS. DUCKS
Saturday will be the 28th meeting between the Sun Devils and the Ducks. ASU leads the all-time series 16-11. Arizona State is 8-6 all-time at Autzen Stadium. Oregon has won the past two meetings, including last year's 48-13 win at Sun Devil Stadium.
IN THE POLLS
The Sun Devils come into the match-up with Oregon ranked #6 in the AP Poll and #6 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. It's the second straight week the Devils have been 4th. Oregon is 5th in the BCS and ranked #4 in both the AP Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
After falling behind early once again, the Sun Devils flexed their second half muscles, outscoring Cal 17-0 in the final two frames to pick up the 31-20 victory. Dimitri Nance ran for three scores, helping the Devils overcome a 20-14 halftime deficit to earn their eighth straight win. Rudy Carpenter threw for 219 yards and a score, while the defense picked off two Nate Longshore passes.
ASU VS. CALIFORNIA NOTES
• WR Tyrice Thompson blocked Jordan Kay's 44-yard field goal attempt with 11:22 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Sun Devils their first block of the season. The blocked field goal also was the first blocked field goal attempt by Arizona State since Mike Pinkard blocked a 36-yard attempt by John Anderson of Washington on October 14, 2000, in Tempe.
• Arizona State held Cal scoreless in the second half, the fourth time this season it has done that.
KEEGAN AND DIMITRI TO THE RESCUE
With Ryan Torain out, the rushing duties have now been handed to Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance. The two combined for 181 yards on the ground against the Golden Bears, thanks to 96 yards by Herring and 85 by Nance.
Dimitri Nance had a career night against California. Three times Nance found his way to the end zone, setting a new career high for rushing touchdowns in a game. Nance had never previously scored more than once in a game. His three scores against Cal now give him eight rushing touchdowns for his career.
Arizona State twice intercepted Nate Longshore in the win over Cal, giving it 14 picks on the season. The Sun Devils recorded 15 interceptions in 2006. Justin Tryon intercepted his third pass of the season against the Golden Bears, while Robert James picked off his fourth.
Troy Nolan picked up his fifth interception of the year against Washington on Oct. 13. The five picks by Nolan is the most by a Sun Devil in a single season since Nijrell Eason had five in 2000.
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, 1,400 yards through the air and 1,174 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.
KICK IT IN
Redshirt freshman kicker Thomas Weber has begun his Sun Devil career like no other kicker before him. With his successful field goal against Cal, Weber has now made 15 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. 10 of Weber's 15 field goals have been from at least 30 yards, including his long of 47. He has scored 77 points on the year. Weber has also taken over the punting duties, averaging 41.5 yards per boot. He has had five kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
ROBERT 'THE BEAST' JAMES
Robert James continues to be a leader on the Sun Devil defense. James intercepted his fourth pass of the season against Cal, good for second most on the team. James has led Arizona State in tackles six times this year, and is leading the team with 69 total tackles. He's also made 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this season. He is ninth in the conference averaging 8.6 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.
RANK AND FILE
Arizona State is ranked nationally in many major categories on both offense and defense. The Sun Devils are ranked 6th nationally in pass efficiency defense (96.11) and 19th in total defense (311.1 ypg). The defense is also ranked 7th in the country in scoring defense (15.6 ppg/allowed) and 11th in the nation in rushing defense (91.13 ypg). The Sun Devils lead the country in Time of Possession at 34:28 and are 8th in the country in Pass Efficiency (155.67). Troy Nolan is tied for 5th in the nation with five interceptions. Rudy Carpenter is 10th nationally in pass efficiency (155.62), while Thomas Weber is tied for 7th nationally with 15 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.
ONE OF THE PAC-10'S FINEST
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 57 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 6,745 yards.
Rudy Carpenter now has 57 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 57 career TD passes are good for 19th most in Pac-10 history, ahead of UW's Cody Pickett and OSU's Jonathan Smith for 18th. He is one 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 173 yards per game on the ground and Ryan Torain reached the 100 yard mark on the ground three times. Keegan Herring also has two 100-yard games under his belt. Also, ASU has rushed for 14 touchdowns so far this year.
RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVILS
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 1,384 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.
KEEGAN CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
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 has hit the 500 yard mark again, the third straight year he has surpassed it. Herring has 576 yards on 97 carries so far in 2007. In 33 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 349 carries for 1,995 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.
Herring enters this weekend's match-up with Oregon just five 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.
KEEGAN ON GAMEDAY
Keegan Herring was the subject of a feature on ESPN's College GameDay show on Saturday, Oct. 27. ESPN came to Tempe to talk with Keegan and several of his teammates for the five minute piece.
PAC-10, BACK THEN
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 UCLA and Oregon State.
JUST WIN BABY
With the win over California, Rudy Carpenter is now 19-7 as Arizona State's starting quarterback. That's 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 two wins shy of Jeff Van Raaphorst for fourth place.
FIRST YEAR DIVIDENDS
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 8-0 in their first season at their respective schools. The 8-0 start for Erickson is the best start for an ASU coach in his first season in school history.
The 8-0 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 8-0 mark is 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, Stanford's Charles Taylor started 9-0. Coach Erickson is also the first ASU coach to ever win his first five Pac-10 games at ASU.
FACING RANKED TEAMS
Dennis Erickson is no stranger to facing ranked opponents. In his career, Coach Erickson is 27-15 against Top 25 teams, including an 8-4 record against teams in the Top 5. Oregon enters this week's meeting ranked #4.
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.
NO 'LITTLE' THING
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.
TWO SPORT WONDERS
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.
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
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.
Sun Devil Stadium was filled to capacity for the meeting with Cal, and the next home game against USC has already sold out.
ASU PICKED FOURTH IN PAC-10 POLL
ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference by West Coast media members who regularly cover the league.
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 Scout.com 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 Scout.com. Michael Marquardt was named a Semi-Finalist for the Draddy Trophy, the Academic Heisman.
Arizona State head to Pasadena, Calif. for a match-up with UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time with ABC televising the game.