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Sun Devils continue Pac-12 road stance against Colorado

October 09, 2012

The Arizona State Sun Devils head on the road for the second consecutive game as they take on the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, Colo., at 6 p.m.,Oct. 11.

The Sun Devils are riding a two-game winning streak that has the team sitting at the top of the Pac-12 South Division. Arizona State holds the 3-0 series lead over Colorado and defeated the Buffaloes in the teams' last matchup in Boulder, a 21-3 decision in 2006. The game take place at the Folsom Field and will be broadcast on ESPN. ASU is 565-357-24 (.610) all-time on the gridiron.

ON THE AIR: The MidFirst Bank Sun Devil-IMG 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 with Doug Franz reporting from the sidelines. This week's game will be broadcast on KTAR 620 AM. The game will be broadcast on Sirius and SiriusXM Channel 85.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: This week's matchup will be broadcast on ESPN. The normal ESPN Thursday night crew will consist of Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack in the booth while Samantha Steele will report from the sidelines. This will be Arizona State's their game on an ESPN affiliate this season. ASU is also scheduled to take on Oregon on ESPN next week and Arizona on ESPN on Nov. 23.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: They don't make college football schedules like they used to and the 2012 ASU schedule is the perfect example of that. This will be the second of three Thursday night games for ASU this season (Aug. 30 vs. NAU, Oct. 11 at Colorado and Oct. 18 vs. Oregon). ASU will also take on rival Arizona in Tucson in a Friday-night matchup in the regular season finale on Nov. 23.

SUN DEVILS vs. BUFFALOES: Arizona State has only taken on the Buffaloes three times in history, all in the last decade. ASU is 3-0 in those match-ups, including a 48-14 rout in Tempe last season in Colorado's first season in the Pac-12 Conference. ASU won the last matchup in Boulder in a 21-3 victory in 2006.

LEADING THE PAC: Entering this week's matchup, Arizona State leads the Pac-12 Conference in several statistical categories: pass efficiency defense (90.25), total defense (276.20), scoring defense (13.60), pass defense (137.00), passing efficiency (167.40), quarterback sacks (4.20) and tackles for loss (9.80). Additionally, Taylor Kelly leads the conference in passing efficiency at 166.34.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR: Here are a couple notable numbers to keep an eye on as ASU heads into Thursday's conference tilt:
--Colorado ranks last in the conference in scoring offense (21.6 ppg) while ASU leads the conference in scoring defense (13.6)
--The Buffaloes are ranked 10th in total offense in conference at 341.8 yards per game while the Sun Devils are giving up just 276.2 yards per game - tops in the conference
--With an overall pass efficiency rating of 118.6, Colorado is 11th in the conference and will have to compete with ASU's top-ranked pass efficiency defense of 90.2 on the season.
--One of Colorado's strengths on the year has been red zone offense, as the team has converted on 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) attempts inside the 20 with 11 touchdowns. ASU is allowing just 69.2 of its opponents red zone possessions to score, however, and that that ranks second in red zone defense in the conference.

LAST TIME OUT: Taylor Kelly threw three touchdown passes to help Arizona State send California to its worst start ever under coach Jeff Tedford with a 27-17 victory two weekends ago. Kelly connected with Kevin Ozier twice andDarwin Rogers once, and Arizona State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) used six sacks to improve its impressive start under first-year coach Todd Graham. Will Sutton and Junior Onyeali spent much of the day in Cal's backfield, giving Maynard little time to throw. Maynard was inaccurate when he did have time. Maynard finished 9 for 28 for 126 yards with a touchdown. Isi Sofele rushed for 105 yards and scored Cal's only touchdown in the past two games. Cal also was hurt by 12 penalties for 119 yards. Kelly finished 26-of-45 for 292 yards and three touchdowns as the Sun Devils continued to lead the Pac-12 South Division with the victory.

-Tight end Darwin Rogers's first career catch as a Sun Devil was for a 1-yard touchdown. Rogers scored the Devils' first touchdown of the game with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter. It was also his birthday.
-The Devils defense forced six negative plays in the first quarter, including seven tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Seven different Devils collected a tackle-for-loss, including four by Sutton, 2.5 by Carl Bradford and two by Junior Onyeali, as the team collected 10 tackles-for-loss. This was the second consecutive game the Devils have recorded double-digit TFL and the third in five games this season (12 vs. Illinois, 10 vs. Utah).
-Wide receiver Kevin Ozier had two touchdowns against the Bears and finished with three catches for 42 yards. He had two career touchdowns entering today's game.
-Cal's 44-yard completion in the second quarter was the longest pass play the Devils have given up this year.
-Taylor Kelly punted at the end of the Sun Devils opening drive and pinned his 37-yard punt at the five-yard line. He has punted three times this season and has placed all three inside the 20-yard line.
-The ASU defense accounted for a loss of 46 yards on six sacks against Cal. That is the most yards lost on sacks ASU has forced this season, and the most sacks recorded all season. The previous high was 35 yards on six sacks against Illinois.
-The Devils second scoring drive of the game that resulted in a Garoutte field goal was the longest scoring drive of the season for ASU, both in plays and time possession. It lasted 4 minutes, 28 seconds on 12 plays.

STRIKE FIRST...STRIKE FAST: ASU has made a habit of scoring first this season, doing so four times and winning all four games, including the last tilt against Cal. The Sun Devils scored on five consecutive possessions against the Utes (getting on the board first for the third time this season) to start the game and put it away early. Arizona State scored on six of its first seven possessions against NAU and four of its first five against Illinois. ASU has done themselves favors early in games this year, outscoring the opposition 56-10 in the first quarter of games on the year, and shutting out NAU, Illinois, Utah and Cal. The Sun Devils didn't have a scoring drive longer than three minutes against the Fighting Illini, its longest lasting 2:59. The quick-hitting offense has been the staple of this year's team, with 20 of ASU's 30 scoring drivings this season coming in three minutes or less.

FINISH STRONG: While ASU has gotten out to several fast starts this season, the team has closed impressively, allowing its first fourth quarter points this season against Cal but still outscoring the opposition 57-7 in the frame.

PUSH `EM BACK: ASU has prided itself on its aggressive defense through four games this year, having forced 49 tackles for a loss of 209 total yards - a mark that is second in the nation after posting 10 such plays against Cal. Not only is ASU getting into the backfield, but it has been a team effort as 16 different players have logged a TFL through five games. As a whole, ASU has a combined 66 defensive plays that have gone for a loss or no gain out of 343 offensive plays the opposition has run. That means an incredible 19.2 percent of the plays run by opponents this year have not advanced beyond the line of scrimmage. If you tack on incomplete passes to the mix, then ASU has forced 134 plays that did not result in positive yardage (39.1 percent of opponent's plays from scrimmage).

FOREVER YOUNG: One of the driving forces behind ASU's tackle for loss numbers has been SPUR linebacker Chris Young, who has 9.5 tackles for loss this season through five games. His 1.90 TFL per game ranks 10th in the nation and is currently fourth in the conference. To put that number into perspective, Arizona State had no player with more than eight tackles for loss on the entire season in 2011 (Oliver Aaron finished with 8.0). With 36 total tackles, Young leads the team and ranks eighth in the conference at 8.2 per game.

A SUTTON IMPACT: Perhaps no player on ASU's roster has earned as much praise from Todd Graham as junior defensive tackle Will Sutton. Sutton has been a beast on the interior line for ASU, especially against Cal, where he finished the game with four tackles-for-loss, including two sacks, for a total loss of 21 yards. He recorded three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an 8-yard sack in the first quarter. Sutton now has 10 TFL for 48 yards on the season, including 5.5 sacks for a loss of 40 yards. Sutton's forced fumble was his first of the season. Sutton was honored as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Pac-12 Player of the week for the performance. Sutton has posting 10.0 tackles for loss on the season (leads team), 6.5 sacks (leads team) and 34 total tackles (second on team). Sutton is current ranked seventh in the nation at 2.0 TFL per game and fifth in the nation with 1.3 sacks per game.

NOT PLAYING COY: Chris Coyle had a coming out party against Illinois, snagging 10 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers put the junior in pretty select company at a school with a pretty decent history at the tight end position. His 10 grabs tie for the 15th most ever by a Sun Devil in history and also put him in a tie with Zach Miller as the most single-game snags by a tight end in school history. In addition, his 131 receiving yards are the second most for a tight end in school history behind only Todd Heap's 170 yards against Arizona in 1999. Here's a look at how Coyle's game stacks up against the greats:

Chris Coyle Career Highs
Receptions: 10 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)
Receiving Yards: 131 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)
Longest Reception: 49 vs. NAU (8/30/12)
Touchdowns: 2 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)

Todd Heap Career Highs
Receptions: 8 at Notre Dame (10/9/99).
Receiving Yards: 170 vs. Arizona (11/27/99).
Longest Reception: 50 vs. California (10/7/00).
Touchdowns: 2 vs. Arizona (11/27/98).

Zach Miller Career Highs
Receptions: 10, twice, last at Washington State (11/5/05)
Receiving Yards: 102, at USC (10/16/04)
Receiving Touchdowns: 2, vs. Iowa (9/18/04)

MORE ON COYLE: Coyle's performance did not go unnoticed. Having just posted 73 yards receiving in all of last season, the performance against Illinois garnered Coyle honors as the College Football Performance Awards Football Bowl Subdivision Tight End Performer of the Week. As of Sept. 14, Coyle leads the nation's tight ends in receiving yards on the season with 338 and is also in tight end receptions with 26 (a category he also leads the team in). He also is earning a reputation as Mr. Reliable, having caught 25 of the 28 catchable balls thrown his way.

SECONDARY A PRIMARY: The season is young yet, but ASU's secondary has been a dominant force. The unit ranks fourth nationally in both pass defense (137.0) pass efficiency defense (90.2) and leads the Pac-12 in both. Not a bad start for a group that finished 11th and ninth, respectively, in those categories in the conference last season. In addition, the squad's eight interceptions this year (giving some love to the linebackers, who have four of those) is 16th in the nation.

BETTER SUITED FOR HANDKERCHIEFS: The Sun Devils haven't given the referees much reason to reach for their pockets this season. ASU was penalized just once for five yards against Illinois (on what appeared to be a purposeful delay of game to create some space for a punt). That marked the lowest single-game total since 2006, when ASU was penalized once for five yards against Washington State. On the year, ASU has had just 21 penalties for 155 yards. ASU had just its first penalty on defense called in the Missouri game. ASU leads the Pac-12 and is sixth in the nation with 31.0 penalty yards per game. Here's a look at ASU's lowest single game penalties since 2006, three of which having come this year:

Pen/Yards -- Opponent (Date)
1-5 -- Vs. Illinois (2012)
1-5 --vs. Washington State (2006)
3-20 --Vs. UCLA (2006)
3-20 -- Vs. USC (2007)
4-30 -- Vs. NAU (2012)
4-35 -- Vs. UNLV (2008)
4-31 -- Vs. Washington (2010)
4-35 -- Vs. USC (2010)

MARSHALL OF THE TOUCHDOWN: With his rushing touchdown against Utah, Cameron Marshall has rushed for 33 touchdowns in his career with Arizona State. He is one of only four Sun Devils all time to score at least 30 touchdowns on the ground. Marshall is currently third on ASU's all-time rushing TD list with J.R. Redmond behind just Woody Green (43) and Leon Burton (34). There was some confusion as to whether Green had 39 or 43 touchdowns. ASU research has shown that Green's four touchdown performance at the 1972 Fiesta Bowl against Missouri had been omitted from his stats. That correction has been made and Green officially is crediting with 43 touchdowns.

Most Career Rushing TDs in ASU History
TDs -- Player, Years
39 -- Woody Green, 1971-73
34 -- Leon Burton, 1955-58
32 -- J.R. Redmond, 1996-99
33 -- Cameron Marshall, 2009-Present
28 -- Art Malone, 1967-69
25 -- Ben Malone, 1971-73
23 -- Nolan Jones, 1958-61

RETURN RECORD: Jamal Miles now has 1,711 kickoff return yards in his career. With a 31-yard return to start the game against Illinois and one other kick return, Miles passed Rudy Burgess (2004-07) for the top spot in Sun Devil history. In his prior three seasons in Tempe, Miles had returned 69 kickoffs for 1631 yards and three touchdowns. Miles totaled 788 of those yards last season, the second highest single-season total in ASU history. Miles' total was second only to the 879 yards that Burgess gained in 2007. Miles has 73 career kick returns, giving him an average of 23.4 yards per return. Burgess had 68 returns, with an average of 22.3 yards per return. Miles has three kick return TDs, while Burgess had one.

JUST KICKING IT: Alex Garoutte bumped his extra point streak to 69 against the Golden Bears, going 3-for-3 on extra points. He also notched two field goals against Cal and is now 21-32 in his career.

AMONG THE NCAA'S BEST: With his 18 rushing touchdowns in 2011, Marshall returned in 2012 as the nation's fourth-leading returning rushing scorer among NCAA Division I-A student-athletes. Only Wisconsin's Heisman Trophy finalist Monte Ball (33), KSU quarterback Collin Klein (27) and Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle (24) return having found pay dirt on the ground more than Marshall last season. In addition, Marshall's 33 career rushing touchdowns rank him fifth among active Division I-A student-athletes returning in 2012 that played in 2011. In that category only Ball (63), Klein (40), SMU running back Zach Line (37) and Michigan QB Denard Robinson (39) have more.

Name, School / 2011 / 2012 / Career
Montee Ball, Wisc. / 33 / 8 / 63
Collin Klein, KSU / 27 / 7 / 40
Joseph Randle, OSU / 24 / 6 / 30
Cameron Marshall, ASU / 18 / 4 / 33
Zach Line, SMU / 17 / 3 / 37
Denard Robinson, Mich. / 16 / 4 / 39

TAYLOR GANG: For the fourth time in as many years, the Sun Devil season opener featured a new quarterback under center. Redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly made his first career start against NAU and followed Danny Sullivan (2009),Steven Threet (2010) and Brock Osweiler (2011) as the fourth different quarterback to start on opening day since Rudy Carpenter started three straight from 2006-08. Sullivan and Threet were making their first career starts period, while Osweiler had made a start later in the season in 2009 and 2010. Since 1997, ASU quarterbacks making their first career start are 9-5.
According to research done by Jack Duggan at the University of Southern Mississippi, Arizona State is one of just 13 FBS schools that returned no quarterback with a start for the 2012 season. That list included: Akron, Arizona State, Boise State, East Carolina, Hawaii, LSU, Memphis, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Stanford and Texas A&M.


Taylor Kelly 2012/N. Arizona/W, 63-6 15/19, 247 yards, 1TD, 0 INT
Steven Threet 2010/Portland State, W, 54-9 14/21, 339 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brock Osweiler* 2009/Oregon, L, 44-21 5/10, 14 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Samson Szakacsy 2009/UCLA, L, 23-13 15/22, 197 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Danny Sullivan 2009/Idaho State, W, 50-3 13/25, 165 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rudy Carpenter 2005/Washington, W, 44-20 27/34, 401 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Sam Keller 2004/Purdue, W, 27-23 25/45, 370 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Chad Christensen 2002/Nebraska, L, 48-10 6/16, 77 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Andrew Walter 2001/Arizona, L, 34-21 10/22, 132 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Jeff Krohn 2000/San Diego St., W, 10-7 18/42, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Griffin Goodman 1999/Wake Forest, L, 23-3 10/16, 142 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Chad Elliott** 1998/Stanford, W, 44-38 OT 8/17, 92 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Steve Campbell 1997/Iowa, W, 17-7 5/11, 109 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Ryan Kealy 1997/New Mexico St., W, 41-10 11/19, 107 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

* -- Osweiler left the game early due to injury
** -- Elliott left the game early and Ryan Kealy led the team to the overtime victory

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE: It's hard to doubt the benefits of ASU's two quarterback system when you look at the results thus far. Taylor Kelly currently finds himself ranked 10 nationally in passing efficiency with a rating of 166.34 while Michael Eubank has added two touchdowns both by air and on the ground. Together, the two quarterbacks find themselves 105-for-153 for 1,415 yards, 11 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 167.4 passing efficiency. As if that weren't enough, the two have combined for 72 rushes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, a mark that is slightly negatively skewed from two high snaps that resulted in huge losses of yardage for Kelly against Cal.

WELCOME BACK, BRANDON: After sitting out Arizona State's victory against Illinois, senior Brandon Magee made up for lost time against Mizzou, collecting 12 tackles (eight solo) to lead the team while also nabbing his second interception of the season. Magee returned one 45 yards for his first career pick-six against NAU in the opener. Magee earned College Football Performance Awards Bowl Subdivision Linebacker Honorable Mention honors for week three for the performance. Against Utah, Magee forced one fumble and recovered another while adding 10 tackles as he is proving to be a force to be reckoned with from his linebacker position. Magee missed the entire 2011 season with an Achilles injury.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP: The 2012 Sun Devil roster features 17 seniors, many of which who will play pivotal roles as the season goes on. Senior RB Cameron Marshall, OL Andrew Sampson, LB Brandon Magee and S Keelan Johnson have been named captains for the 2012 season.

PUT ME IN, COACH: Jaxon Hood and D.J. Foster joined John Jefferson (1974), Terrell Suggs (2000), Zach Miller(2004) and Will Sutton (2009) as true freshmen to start season opener at ASU on offense or defense. The NCAA began allowing freshman to compete in 1972, with the 2012 season marking the 40 year anniversary. In total, 25 Sun Devils saw their first Division I action and seven true freshmen played (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza,Easton Wahlstrom and Richard Smith in addition to Foster and Hood).

EARN YOUR KEEP: ASU has had seven players score their first career touchdowns this season: Taylor Kelly (pass),D.J. Foster (rush), Brandon Magee (INT return), Marion Grice (rush), Michael Eubank (rush) and Richard Smith(reception) - all against NAU. Brandon Magee put his name on the top of that list with a 45-yard pick-six against NAU.Chris Coyle added his first career TD grab against Illinois, which also served as Eubank's first career touchdown toss.

PIN `EM DEEP: Redshirt senior punter Josh Hubner was among the best punters in the nation when it came to pinning opponents down the field, finishing the year tied for 17th in the nation with 24 punts inside the 20. He's back at it again in 2012 as he now has 10 punts on the year inside the 20 (out of 19 total punts) and is averaging 45.3 yards per punt, a mark that ranks second in the conference and 14th nationally. Quarterback Taylor Kelly also showed off his talents in the category, having three pooch kicks this year (one for 40 yards against Utah) that have downed the opponents inside the 20 on each attempt.

IF YOU GOT IT, FLAUNT IT: The Sun Devils played seven true freshmen in their season opener against NAU (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza, Richard Smith, D.J. Foster Jaxon Hood and long snapper Easton Wahlstrom). The school record for true freshmen playing in season is 10, set back in 2008. According to research done by Colorado Dave Plati, the three true freshmen that started at their positions (Foster, Hood and Wahlstrom) ties with Washington for the most in the conference in the first week of action.

EMERSON HARVEY: Arizona State University football will commemorate a milestone this season by honoring Emerson Harvey, the school's first African-American football student-athlete 75 years ago and played a major role in breaking the color barrier throughout the Southwest. The Sun Devils will recognize Harvey, who joined the roster in 1937, with black-and-white circular helmet stickers with Harvey's jersey number (57).

FIRST IMPRESSION WAS GOOD: ASU's 63 points vs. NAU in the Todd Graham debut is the most by a Sun Devil coach in his opener, topping the 47 scored by Frank Kush's squad in 1958 over Hawaii. Not all openers were great for eventual great coaches though, as ASU's 1996 National Coach of the Year Bruce Snyder scored seven in his first game in a 31-7 loss to second-ranked Washington on Sept. 5, 1992.

Most Points in ASU Coaching Debut
PTS / Coach Year (Result)
63 / Todd Graham vs. NAU 2012 (W)
47 / Frank Kush vs. Hawaii 1958 (W)
45 / Dennis Erickson vs. San Jose St. 2007 (W)

INFO-GRAHAM: So you want to know more about what Todd Graham brings to the program? Here's a couple more stats and tidbits about the ASU head coach to give you an idea. Special thanks Doug Haller (@DougHaller) of the Arizona Republic for all this information:

--Over his past four seasons -- one at Pittsburgh and three at Tulsa -- Graham's teams have rushed the ball on at least 53.4 percent of their total plays. In 2008, Tulsa rushed on 61.4 percent of its total plays. Last year, ASU rushed 44.5 percent of the time.
--Over the past six seasons at Pitt, Tulsa and Rice, only one Graham-coached team has ranked outside the top 50 nationally in sacks. Last year, Pittsburgh averaged 3.31 sacks, which ranked third nationally.
--In six seasons, Graham is 19-17 in true road games. Over the past four, ASU is 5-16.
--In five of the past six years, Graham's teams have ranked 39th or better nationally in fewest penalty yards per game. In 2008, Tulsa averaged just 37 penalty yards, which ranked 11th in the nation. Last season, Pitt averaged 39.5, which ranked 18th.

MORE ON PENALTIES: Todd Graham has had a knack for having some of the most disciplined teams in the nation when it comes to penalty yards. In each of his seven seasons as a head coach, Graham's teams have ranked as some of the least penalized teams in the country in both yards and penalties per game. In 2012, the Sun Devils currently rank 30th in fewest penalties and 12th in fewest penalty yards per game.

PENALTY YARDS UNDER Todd Graham (National Rank)

Year, School / Pen. YPG / Pen. PG
2006, Rice / 34th / 59th
2007, Tulsa / 73rd / 50th
2008, Tulsa / 11th / 11th
2009, Tulsa / 39th / 10th
2010, Tulsa / 22nd / 6th
2011, Pitt / 73rd / 91st
2012, Arizona State / 6th / 10th

STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Todd Graham became just the seventh Sun Devil coach to start his career 2-0. Before you ask about Frank, Coach Kush beat Hawaii 47-6 on Sept. 20th, 1958, in his opener but fell to Pacific 34-16 on Sept. 27, 1958. Graham is among five coaches in the 2012 season that have a one or fewer losses in their first year at the helm of a new program thus far this season. There were 28 FBS coaches entering their first years at their respective schools this year.

Ohio State (Urban Meyer): 6-0
Rutgers (Kyle Flood): 5-0
Toledo (Matt Campbell): 5-1
Arizona State (Todd Graham): 4-1
Texas A&M (Kevin Sumlin): 4-1

LIGHT `EM UP: With 108 points in its first two games, Arizona State set its highest tally through the first two games of the season in ASU history (now in its 100th season). The prior record was 94 points, set under Dirk Koetter in 2005 as his team put up 63 points in a season opening victory against Temple before adding 31 in a tough loss against LSU the following week. At 38.4 points per game, ASU currently ranks 23rd nationally in scoring offense.