Dirk Koetter Era Begins as Sun Devils Play Host to San Diego State Saturday night.
Sept. 3, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -
The Dirk Koetter era begins as Arizona State opens its 89th football season Saturday, September 8, playing host to San Diego State at 7 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devil-Aztec game will be a rematch of last year's season-opener which the Sun Devils won, 10-7, on Aug. 31 at SDSU's Qualcomm Stadium. Last Thursday, San Diego State opened their season with a 23-10 loss to Arizona on Aug. 31 in San Diego. Saturday's game will mark the fifth time in six years that the Sun Devils open the season at home with last year's season-opener at San Diego State being the first road opener since 1995. ASU will also be looking for their third straight victory in a season-opener, a streak that started in 1999 with a 31-13 win over Texas Tech.
After Saturday's home opener, the Sun Devils hit the road for a pair of Pac-10 Conference games at UCLA (Sept. 15) and at Stanford (Sept. 22). ASU will not return to Sun Devil Stadium until Sept. 29 when the team plays host to San Jose State.
In the SeriesArizona State holds a 7-0-1 advantage in the series with San Diego State including a 2-0 advantage in games played in Tempe. Athough the schools are just 368 miles apart, prior to last season's opener, ASU and SDSU had not played each other since 1957. The Sun Devils hold a four-game winning streak in the series including last year's 10-7 win in San Diego on Aug. 31 and shutouts in the three previous contests (66-0 in 1957, 61-0 in 1956 and 46-0 in 1955). Arizona State holds a 97-27-2 record (.778) vs. the teams that make up the two-year-old Mountain West Conference.
ExposureThe Sun Devil Sports Network will carry the game live on its 13-station network including flagship stations XTRA Sports 910 AM and KFYI NewsRadio 550 AM. Tim Healey, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Vince Marotta, Nathan LaDuke and Doug Plank (pregame and postgame) will bring the action to Sun Devil fans. The game can also be heard live on ASU's official web site at www.TheSunDevils.com. There will be no television for the San Diego State game.
Series OpenersArizona State's season-opener vs. San Diego State at Sun Devil Stadium reprises the first game of last season when the Sun Devils edged the Aztecs 10-7 at SDSU's Qualcomm Stadium on Aug. 31. ASU is 60-26-2 (.693) in the first game of a season and has won 12 of its last 15 season openers. The Sun Devils hold a 40-15-1 (.723) record in home openers including wins in their last two and five of their last six home openers.
Team CaptainsASU's season-long captains, as selected in a team vote, are senior safety Willie Daniel, senior center Scott Peters and junior safety Alfred Williams. Head coach Dirk Koetter will also select one game captain per week, and senior linebacker Eric Fields is Koetter's selection for the San Diego State game.
In Their First YearWhen the Sun Devils take the field against San Diego State, head coach Dirk Koetter will be looking to join a group of eight former Sun Devil mentors who won the first game of their ASU careers. The last head coach to win his first game at ASU was Larry Marmie who led the Sun Devils to a 21-16 win over Illinois on Sept. 10, 1988 in Tempe. ASU Hall of Famer Dan Devine turned in the best record for a first-year head coach at ASU, leading the Sun Devils to an 8-2-1 record in 1955.
Who's BackThe Sun Devils return 51 letterwinners including 16 starters and a pair of kickers in senior punter Nicky Murphy and junior kicker Mike Barth. The offensive starters slated to return are LT Levi Jones, LG Marquise Muldrow, C Scott Peters, RG Kyle Kosier, QB Jeff Krohn, TB Tom Pace & Delvon Flowers (Flowers missed last season with an ACL tear) and WR Donnie O'Neal. On defense, returning starters include RE Brian Montesanto, RT Kurt Wallin, LT Danny Masaniai & Paul Glass (split starts last year), LE Terrell Suggs, LB Eric Fields, LB Solomon Bates, S Willie Daniel and S Alfred Williams.
Peters, Suggs on Lombardi Watch ListA preseason All-Pac-10 selection by several publications and ASU's student-athlete representative at Pac-10 Media Day, senior offensive lineman Scott Peters is one of 52 players on the preseason watch list for the 32nd Rotary Lombardi Award. The Lombardi Award is annually presented to the top lineman in the country with eligibility limited to down linemen and defenders who line up within five yards of the football. To be eligible for the preseason watch list for the prestigious Lombardi Award, players had to have earned All-American or first-team all-conference honors last year. The Lombardi Award winner will be announced on December 5 in Houston.
Last year, Peters started all 12 games at center and earned first-team All-Pac-10 accolades. A Freshman All-American in 1998 and an honorable-mention all-conference selection in 1999, Peters has started 33 games in his career.
Sophomore defensive end Terrell Suggs has also been added to the watch list for the Lombardi Award. Last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a preseason mention for all-conference and All-American honors, Suggs became just the second true freshman in school history to start the first game of the year for the Sun Devils last year at San Diego State on Aug. 31. He started 10 games last year and led the team in tackles for loss and sacks.
Barth, Murphy on Preseason Lists for Kicking AwardsJunior placekicker Mike Barth and senior punter Nick Murphy are each on the preseason watch lists for the national awards which are awarded at their positions.
Barth is one of 30 players on the preseason watch list for the 2001 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award. In its 10th season, the Lou Groza Award, presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl, is annually given to the best placekicker in the nation.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission will present the award during a banquet on Tuesday, December 4, at the Sheraton at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Fla. The 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced in late October, followed several weeks later by the naming of the three finalists. The kickers on the watch list were chosen based on statistics from the 2000 season and preseason expectations.
Last season, Barth made 66.7 percent of his field goal attempts for the Sun Devils including five field goals over 40 yards. He knocked in three game-winners including a 41-yarder in overtime at Washington State. He also led the Pac-10 and finished 15th in the nation in field goals last year.
Murphy will be on the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award which honors the top punter in the country when it is announced later this fall. A semifinalist for the award last year and an honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection last year, Murphy averaged 41.3 yards per punt last year. He forced seven touchbacks and 15 fair catches and had 30 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Bates on Butkus Preseason Watch ListJunior linebacker Solomon Bates is one of 69 candidates on the preseason watch list for the 2001 Butkus Award. In its 17th year, the Butkus Award is annually presented to the nation's best collegiate linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando.
The watch list will be cut down to 10 semifinalists on Thursday, Oct. 18, while three finalists will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 8. The Butkus Award winner will be announced on Friday, Dec. 7 at the Butkus Award Gala at Hard Rock Live at the Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando.
An honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection last year, Bates started all 12 games at middle linebacker for the Sun Devils in 2000. He finished second on the team in total and unassisted tackles and turned in 12 tackles for loss. As a true freshman, Bates was named a Freshman All-American by the Sporting News and one of Sports Illustrated's 'Top 10 Freshmen.' The Moreno Valley, Calif., native finished eighth on the team in tackles in 1999 despite being sidelined with a season-ending knee injury after eight games.
Flowers on Doak Walker Preseason Watch ListAnd last, but certainly not least, senior tailback Delvon Flowers is one of 44 players on the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is annually presented to the top running back in the country. Flowers was listed among the 35 preseason candidates for the award last year but suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the preseason. In 1999, Flowers finished second on the team to J.R. Redmond in rushing with 512 yards on 80 carries en route to earning honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors.
Pac-10 Preseason PollArizona State was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference by West Coast media members as part of the official preseason conference poll. The Sun Devils were picked to finish fifth in last year's preseason poll and ended up in a tie for fifth.
School (1st-place votes) Pts. '00 Record '00 Finish1. Oregon (20) 211 10-2 T1st2. Oregon State (3) 163 11-1 T1st3. UCLA (10) 181 6-6 T5th4. Washington 275 11-1 T1st5. Stanford 133 5-6 4th6. USC 272 5-7 T8th7. Arizona State 167 6-6 T5th8. California 63 3-8 T8th9. Arizona 127 6-6 T5th10. Washington State 47 4-7 T8th
Walk-OnsSophomore quarterback Jeff Krohn is one of just four starting quarterbacks in the country who began his career as walk-ons. Krohn, who earned a scholarship midway through last season, led the Pac-10's top-ranked passing offense last year in addition to setting school records for passing yards in a senior and single-game passing yards for a freshman. The other starting quarterbacks who began their careers as walk-ons are Texas A&M junior Mark Farris, Houston junior Kelly Robertson and Oregon State junior Jonathan Smith.
In the great tradition of walk-ons at Arizona State that includes NFLers Adam Archuleta and Pat Tillman, there are currently seven players on the Sun Devil depth chart who at least began their careers as walk-ons. Those Sun Devils are senior Levi Jones, Krohn, senior tailback Tom Pace, sophomore cornerback Adrian Thomas, junior safety Patrick Wilson, senior long snapper B.J. Miller and junior snapper Jay Breckenridge.
Trio Away From Home A Bit UnusualArizona State's three straight road games to begin the Pac-10 season marks a rare occurrence. Only six other times (by four teams) since 1978, the year the league expanded to 10 teams, has a Pac-10 team opened the season with its first three conference games being on the road, and only twice in the past 17 seasons. ASU does have three non-conference home games in the middle of its stretch, but its first three Pac-10 games against UCLA (Sept. 15), Stanford (Sept. 22) and USC (Oct. 13) are on the road. The other Pac-10 schools who have opened the league with its first three games on the road are Oregon State (1998 and 1982), California (1990 and 1979), USC (1984) and UCLA (1981).
- Oregon State (1998) lost to USC, 40-20, on Sept. 19, lost to ASU, 24-3, on Sept. 26 and lost to Stanford, 30-23, on Oct. 10. OSU finished 2-6 in the league and 5-6-1 overall.
- California (1990) lost to Washington State, 41-31, on Sept. 22, beat Arizona, 30-25, on Sept. 29 and beat ASU, 31-24, on Oct. 13. California finished 4-3-1 in the Pac-10 and 7-4-1 overall.
- USC (1984) beat ASU, 6-3, on Sept. 22, beat Washington State, 29-27, on Oct. 6 and beat Oregon, 19-9, on Oct. 13. USC finished 7-1 in the Pac-10 and 9-3 overall.
- Oregon State (1982) lost to Arizona, 38-12, on Sept. 11, lost to Stanford, 45-5, on Oct. 2 and tied Washington State, 14-14, on Oct. 9. OSU finished 0-7-1 in the Pac-10 and 2-9 overall.
- UCLA (1981) beat Arizona, 35-18, on Sept. 12, lost to Stanford, 26-23, on Oct. 10 and tied Washington State, 17-17, on Oct. 17. UCLA finished 5-2-1 in the league and 7-4-1 overall.
- California (1979) beat ASU on Sept. 8 17-9, beat Arizona on Sept. 15, 10-7, and lost to Oregon on Oct. 6, 19-14. The Bears ended 5-4 in the Pac-10 and 6-6 overall.
Bowl HistoryLast year's Aloha Bowl appearance marked the 19th all-time for the Sun Devils who own a 10-8-1 record in postseason play. Arizona State is one of just 22 schools in the nation to have qualified for postseason play in at least four of the last five seasons, while the team's .553 postseason winning percentage ranks second in the conference and its 19 bowl appearances is tied for fourth among Pac-10 schools.
If It Seems Late, It Is...Arizona State does not play a Pac-10 home game until Oct. 20, by far the latest in the Pac-10 this year. The Sun Devils and Washington are the only schools to not have a Pac-10 home game until October, and the Huskies open on Oct. 6 against USC. ASU's Pac-10 home opener vs. Oregon State on Oct. 20 is the sixth-game of the season for ASU. Only one time has ASU had its Pac-10 home opener later in the calendar year in its 24 seasons of Pac-10 play, and that was in 1989 when ASU played seven conference games. The Sun Devils had four non-conference home games to start the year in 1989, traveled to UCLA and Oregon State to begin the Pac-10 season and then opened the home Pac-10 slate on Oct. 21. Here's a look at when the other nine schools in the league begin their Pac-10 home schedules this year and at what point of the season it occurs:
Team Pac-10 Home OpenerArizona Sept. 29 (4th game of season)Arizona State Oct. 20 (6th game of season)California Sept. 29 (5th game of season)Oregon Sept. 22 (3rd game of season)Oregon State Sept. 29 (4th game of season)Stanford Sept. 22 (3rd game of season)UCLA Sept. 15 (3rd game of season)USC Sept. 29 (4th game of season)Washington Oct. 6 (5th game of season)Washington State Sept. 29 (4th game of season)
All-Conference SelectionsFour Sun Devils earned first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors last year, trailing just Pac-10 co-champions Washington and Oregon State (5) in first-team selections, while a total of 10 Sun Devils appeared on the list of all-conference honorees. Senior outside linebacker Adam Archuleta was named the Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, while freshman defensive end Terrell Suggs was named the Freshman of the Year. Of the 10 Sun Devils to earn all-conference honors, seven return in 2001.
Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year: OLB Adam Archuleta
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year: DE Terrell Suggs
All-Pac-10 Second Team (ASU selections):OL Levi Jones
In OvertimeArizona State played in three consecutive overtime games in 2000 to set an NCAA record. The Sun Devils began that stretch with a 23-20 OT victory at Washington State and then suffered a pair of defeats in double overtime at home, falling to Oregon 56-55 and to USC the following week 44-38. Arizona State now holds a 3-2 record in overtime since the rule was instituted in 1996. Before this season, the Sun Devils had not played more than one overtime game in a given year.
Seven Pac-10 games went into overtime in 2000 (including two in double-overtime and two in triple-overtime), surpassing the previous high of six for the league in 1996. Washington State also played in three overtime contests in 2000. Other than 1996, the most OT contests in one season in the Pac-10 has been three. Here are the all-time overtime records of the Pac-10 schools:
OT Records (All Games) OT Records (Pac-10 Games)UCLA 3-1 UCLA 3-1Oregon 5-3 Stanford 2-1Stanford 2-1 California 3-2California 3-2 Arizona State 3-2Arizona State 3-2 Oregon 3-3Arizona 2-2 Arizona 2-2Washington 1-1 Washington 1-1Oregon State 1-1 Oregon State 1-1USC 2-3 USC 1-3Washington State 1-4 Washington State 1-4
Missing YouPac-10 teams play eight conference games each year, four at home and four on the road, which means that each team will miss one conference opponent each year. This season, Arizona State will not play California after missing Oregon State in each of the last two years.
Changing the RulesThe following rules changes will be in effect for the 2001 season:
*An official shall declare a referee's timeout when the runner's helmet comes off.
*Personal fouls against a passer during a successful two-point conversion try will be enforced on the succeeding kickoff or from the succeeding spot in the extra periods.
*Penalties for offensive team fouls that occur behind the neutral zone will be enforced from the previous spot.
Sun Devil Players to Watch in 2001...Here is a list of Sun Devils who are candidates for pre- and postseason awards this year:
*Donnie O'Neal, WR *Shaun McDonald, WR *Scott Peters, OL *Levi Jones, OL *Delvon Flowers, TB *Tom Pace, TB *Kurt Wallin, DT *Terrell Suggs, DE *Eric Fields, LB *Solomon Bates, LB *Mason Unck, LB *Alfred Williams, S *Willie Daniel, S *Nick Murphy, P *Mike Barth, PK