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Football heads to California for showdown with UCLA

October 31, 2011

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After a 48-14 Homecoming victory over the Colorado Buffaloes, the Sun Devils of Arizona State head to Pasadena, California for a match-up with the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl, Nov. 5. ASU is 6-2, 4-1 in Pac-12 play and ranked #20 in the AP Poll and #18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Sun Devils are ranked #19 in the BCS Standings.  UCLA comes into the game 4-4, 3-2 in Pac-12 play. The Bruins defeated the Cal Bears 31-14 last week in Pasadena.

ON THE AIR: The IMG-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 will air on 620 AM.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Arizona State’s game with UCLA will be broadcast by Versus. Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila will call the action.

SUN DEVILS VS. BRUINS: UCLA leads the all-time series with Arizona State 16-10-1, including an 8-5-1 mark in Los Angeles. The first meeting between the two schools was in 1976, a 28-10 UCLA win in Tempe.

COACH ERICKSON VS. UCLA: Dennis Erickson is 6-3 all-time against UCLA in his career, including a 3-1 mark with Arizona State. He is 3-2 all-time at the Rose Bowl. His first ever meeting against the Bruins was perhaps his most memorable, as he led his 1988 Washington State squad into the Rose Bowl and shocked the then-#1 Bruins 34-30.

FINDING PAYDIRT: Junior running back Cameron Marshall added three more rushing touchdowns to his total against Colorado, giving him 23 in his career. He is one of only 11 Sun Devils all time to score at least 20 touchdowns on the ground. The 23 ties him with Nolan Jones (1958-61) for sixth most rushing touchdowns in school history.

BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arizona State won its sixth game of the season against Colorado, making the Sun Devils bowl eligible for the first time since their Holiday Bowl season of 2007. Last season ASU won six games, but two of the wins came against FCS schools, meaning only one of the wins counted towards bowl eligibility. ASU has played in 24 bowl games in its history.

CAPTAINS: Omar Bolden, Garth Gerhart, Brock Osweiler, Colin Parker and T.J. Simpson have been named the captains of the 2011 Sun Devil football team.

COLORADO RECAP: The Sun Devils jumped on Colorado early and never let up, racing to a 48-14 win over the Buffs. ASU led 21-0 after the first quarter, thanks to a pair of Brock Osweiler TD passes and a Cameron Marshall scoring run. Marshall would finish the game with 114 yards and three scores in three quarters of action, while Osweiler threw for 307 yards in his three quarters of work. ASU forced five CU turnovers to earn the win.

IN THE POLLS: Arizona State checks in at #20 in this week’s Associated Press Poll, up from #23 a week ago. The Sun Devils are also ranked #18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, up from #20 last week. This season marked ASU’s first appearance in the AP Poll since a #15 ranking on September 7, 2008. ASU is also ranked #19 in this week’s BCS standings.

MR. TOUCHDOWN: Junior wide receiver Jamal Miles has become a touchdown machine in 2011. Miles returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the season opener against UC Davis, threw a TD pass against Missouri and has caught five touchdown passes this year. Against Oregon State, Miles added another notch to his TD belt, returning a punt 78-yards for a score. Miles is the only player in the nation to have scored a touchdown on a reception, kickoff return and punt return as well as throw a TD pass. Miles TD pass was the first of his career on his second career attempt. He also set a new career-high with his nine receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown against USC.

MORE ON MILES: The 78-yard punt return by Jamal Miles was the first punt returned for a touchdown by a Sun Devil since 2005. On November 25, 2005, Terry Richardson returned an Arizona punt 71-yards for the score. It took 68 games before Miles did the same thing against the Beavers.

BALLHAWKING: After forcing only one turnover in the first two games, the Sun Devil defense has dialed up the takeaways. Over the last six contests, Arizona State has forced 24 turnovers. ASU has intercepted 13 passes this season after totaling 10 interceptions all of last year. The Sun Devils have forced 25 total turnovers this year after forcing 17 last season. The +12 turnover ratio leads the Pac-12 and is fifth best in the nation.

THIRD DOWN SHUT DOWN: Arizona State has been a dominant team on third down defense, leading the Pac-12 in third down conversion percentage. Opponents have converted on third down only 27.8% of the time (30-108). Stanford is second in the conference at 30.6%.

BIG YEAR FOR G-ROB: One week after turning in his first career 100-yard game, senior wide receiver Gerell Robinson did it again against the Ducks. Robinson had six catches for a career-high 120 yards and touchdown at Oregon, his second straight 100-yard game. The week before at Utah, Robinson had seven catches for 101 yards. The touchdown against the Ducks was his fourth of the season. Robinson has now established new career highs in both single season receptions (36) and yards (612). Robinson has 94 catches in his four years in Tempe for 1,286 yards and nine scores.

RUNNING FOR MILES: Jamal Miles returned his second career kickoff for a touchdown against UC Davis, bringing it back 98 yards. It was the second consecutive game in Sun Devil Stadium Miles had returned a kick for a score, as he had a 99-yarder in last season’s home finale against UCLA. Miles joins teammate Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White as the only Sun Devils in school history with two career kickoff return touchdowns. It was the sixth kickoff return for touchdown the Sun Devils have had since Dennis Erickson took over as head coach in 2007, the most under one coach in school history.

MARSHALL, MARSHALL, MARSHALL: Junior running back Cameron Marshall, despite playing on a badly sprained ankle suffered at Illinois, has been putting together a terrific season. Marshall has run for 632 yards this season, including a team-leading 12 touchdowns. Against Utah, he passed the 1,500-yard mark for his career and has now scored 23 career touchdowns on the ground. Against Colorado he ran for 114 yards on 15 carries and added three touchdowns. It was Marshall’s fourth career 100-yard game and third this season. He has also run for three scores in a game three times in his career, twice this season. Marshall is also a receiving threat out of the backfield. Against UC Davis he caught four passes for a career-high 86 yards, including a 47-yard reception.

MORE MARSHALL: Cameron Marshall has a new career high with his 12 rushing touchdowns this season. The school record for rushing touchdowns in a season is 18, set by Woody Green (1972) and Terry Battle (1996).

100-YARDS ON THE GROUND: Arizona State is 4-0 when Cameron Marshall runs for at least 100-yards. He did it last year against Portland State and UCLA and this season against USC and Colorado. ASU is now 255-52-5 all-time when it has a 100-yard rusher.

PUSH ‘EM BACK: In 2010, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2010 with 143 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 307 yards lost for the offense. Against Colorado, the Sun Devil defense totaled eight plays of negative or no gain for the Buffaloes for 29 yards lost.

THREE AND OUT: The 2010 ASU defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offenses into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 4.08 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 49 in their 12 contests. That placed them in the top 20 in the nation. So far in 2011, ASU has forced opponents into 22 three-and-outs.

NOEL HUDDLE OFFENSE: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone always says how the Sun Devils can score in a hurry, and they have not let him down this season. Arizona State’s first two touchdown drives against UC Davis both took under 1:10. Last season, ASU had 11 scoring drives that took under 1:10. Against Missouri, ASU had an eight second scoring drive and in the Oregon State game the offense scored on a :44 second drive. At Utah, ASU had a 1:03 scoring drive. Against Colorado, ASU had four touchdown drives that took under two minutes, including a 35 second one and a 32 second one.

SENIOR CLASS: The 2011 Sun Devils will feature one of the largest senior classes in the nation, as there will be 26 seniors playing in their final season. The senior class includes: Linebacker Oliver Aaron, wide receiver George Bell, offensive lineman Chris DeArmas, safety Eddie Elder, safety Clint Floyd, defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, tight end Trevor Kohl, offensive lineman Nick Emanuele, linebacker Shelly Lyons, linebacker Brandon Magee, wide receiver Angelo Magee, wide receiver Gerell Robinson, offensive lineman Brice Schwab, wide receiver Mike Willie, cornerback Omar Bolden, offensive lineman Garth Gerhart, snapper Cameron Kastl, offensive lineman Dan Knapp, offensive lineman Mike Marcisz, offensive lineman Trent Marsh, defensive lineman Bo Moos, linebacker Colin Parker, wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad, offensive lineman Aderious Simmons, offensive lineman Adam Tello and wide receiver T.J. Simpson.

PAC-12 PREDICTIONS: Arizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the annual media poll. Oregon has been picked to win the Pac-12 North. The winners of the two divisions will face each other in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2.

BROCK’S TALLER THAN YOU: Quarterback Brock Osweiler checks in at six foot eight inches tall, making him the tallest quarterback in the FBS. Osweiler is one of nine QBs 6-6 or taller in the nation.

SELECT COMPANY: Head Coach Dennis Erickson is in select company when it comes to conference Coach of the Year awards. Coach Erickson is one of only two coaches in the nation to have six Coach of the Year trophies to his name. Erickson won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1988 (Washington State), 2000 (Oregon State) and 2007 (Arizona State) and Big East Coach of the Year honors in 1991, 1992 and 1994 (all with Miami). The only other coach with six Coach of the Year awards is South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

TRUE FRESHMEN UNDER ERICKSON: Since Dennis Erickson took over in 2007, 27 true freshmen have played for the Sun Devils. This season, three (Mike Bercovici, Ezekiel Bishop, Rashad Wadood) have played. Last year only three played after eight saw the field in 2009. ASU saw a school record 10 play during the 2008 season. Five schools in the Pac-12 this year have played at least 10 true freshmen, led by Colorado who has used 13.

SCHOLAR BALLERS: 22 Sun Devil football players have been named Scholar Ballers for their work in the classroom: Oliver Aaron, Sil Ajawara, Derrall Anderson, Mike Bercovici, Gannon Conway, Chris Coyle, Evan Finkenberg, Alex Garoutte, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Ronald Kennedy, Jr., Kody Koebensky, Shelly Lyons, Brandon Magee, Mike Marcisz, Trent Marsh, Kyle Middlebrooks, Colin Parker, Aaron Pflugrad, Max Smith, Grandville Taylor and Austin Williams.

HALL OF FAME: Pat Tillman entered the College Football Hall of Fame in July, the ninth Sun Devil enshrined. Tillman joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of Arizona State University in the College Football Hall of Fame.

HOME SWEET HOME: With its win over UCLA in the home finale last season, Arizona State won its 250th regular season game at Sun Devil Stadium. Sun Devil Stadium opened in 1958. The Sun Devils also won five Fiesta Bowls at Sun Devil Stadium.

EXPERIENCE: Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 68 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the third most experienced coaching duo in the nation.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Three Sun Devil quarterbacks have completed 196 passes this season, finding 14 different receivers. Last season, three ASU QBs combined to throw completions to 16 different receivers. Against Colorado, 10 different Sun Devils caught a pass.

LINE EXPERIENCE: Arizona State has six offensive linemen with starting experience, totaling 104 career starts. Center Garth Gerhart leads the way with his 30 career starts, followed by Mike Marcisz (19), Andrew Sampson (17), Evan Finkenberg (15), Dan Knapp (14) and Aderious Simmons (9). Finkenberg has missed the past three games with an injury, but was a starter prior to getting hurt.

ASU HALL OF FAME: Against Oregon State, former Sun Devil football greats Adam Archuleta and Marvel Smith entered the Arizona State Athletic Hall of Fame. Archuleta played at ASU from 1996 to 2000 before going on to an eight-year NFL career. Smith donned the Maroon and Gold from 1996 to 1999 before playing 10 seasons in the NFL and winning two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

UNI-WATCH: Arizona State wore their traditional uniform combo for the season opener against UC Davis (gold helmet, maroon jersey, gold pants). They wore all black against Missouri and all white for the first road game at Illinois. Against USC they wore all maroon and against Oregon State they wore white helmets, maroon jerseys and white pants. At Utah they wore gold helmets, white jerseys and gold pants. Against Oregon the Sun Devils wore maroon helmets, white jerseys and maroon pants. For the Homecoming game against Colorado ASU wore black helmets, black jerseys and gold pants.

DEBUT DEVILS: 24 student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State this season: Charles Beatty, Steve Gallon, Rashad Wadood, Alex Garoutte, Anthony Jones, Kipeli Koniseti, Carl Bradford, Tyler Sulka, Kevin Ozier, Ezekiel Bishop, Josh Hubner, Jamil Douglas, Jordan McDonald, Davon Coleman, Rashad Ross, Mike Bercovici, Sil Ajawara, Kevin Ayers, Marcus Washington, Taylor Kelly, Angelo Magee, Chike Mbanefo, Joita Te’i and Gannon Conway. Wadood, Bishop and Bercovici are all true freshmen.

GIVING BACK: Several members of the Sun Devil football team spent their bye week giving back to the community. A group of football student-athletes, led by Brock Osweiler, visited Phoenix Children’s Hospital to spend some time with the kids. The players colored, signed autographs and posed for pictures with the children and their families.

DID YOU KNOW: ASU has seven players averaging at least 10.5 yards per catch, tied for third most in the country.

UP NEXT: Arizona State will take its final road trip of the regular season, traveling to Pullman, Washington for a contest with the Washington State Cougars.