Football Resumes Conference Play at USC Saturday Afternoon
Oct. 8, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Following a 63-27 win over Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, the Sun Devils get back to conference play with a Pac-10 game at USC Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. PDT at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. With last week's win over the Ragin' Cajuns to wrap up the non-conference slate with a perfect 3-0 mark, the Sun Devils improved to 3-1 on the year. ASU will be looking for its first Pac-10 win of the year and its first since defeating Arizona 30-17 last year to end the regular season. The USC Trojans are 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the Pac-10 following last week's 27-24 loss at Washington. Following its game at USC, Arizona State returns to Sun Devil Stadium for its Pac-10 home opener on Oct. 20 when the Oregon State Beavers come to Tempe for ASU's Family Weekend.
In the SeriesArizona State is the only team in the Pac-10 Conference to have a winning series record against USC with a 9-8 advantage dating back to 1978. USC won last year's meeting with a 44-38 victory in double overtime at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 4, ASU's NCAA-record third consecutive overtime game. The Sun Devils have won three of the last five meetings with the Trojans. ASU's last win in the series was also its last win in Los Angeles: a 26-16 victory at L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 6, 1996. ASU holds a 4-3 all-time record in games played at USC.
ExposureFox Sports Net will broadcast the USC game on syndication with Barry Tompkins, Warren Moon (analyst) and John Jackson (sidelines) calling the action. The USC game can be seen locally on KASW-TV 61 (Channel 6 on the Cox cable system).
The 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 and Nathan LaDuke (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.
Back-to-Back in the Pac-10This week at USC, the Sun Devils will be looking to extend a trend that has seen the team lose back-to-back conference games just twice in the last five seasons. Since 1995, the Sun Devils' only back-to-back Pac-10 losses came at Oregon and Arizona to end the 1998 season and last year in a three-game losing streak that included double-overtime losses to Oregon and USC followed by a defeat at Stanford.
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 defensive tackle Tommie Townsend is Koetter's selection for the USC game.
Last Time OutSophomore Jeff Krohn passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns - all to sophomore Shaun McDonald - in three quarters of play as Arizona State beat Louisiana-Lafayette 63-27 last week at Sun Devil Stadium. Krohn had 250 yards at halftime after TD strikes of 45, 57, 19 and 19 yards to McDonald. McDonald's four TDs tied a school and Pac-10 record for scoring catches set by John Allen against San Jose State in 1953, while the sophomore hauled in five catches for a career-high 154 yards. The Sun Devils went to their ground game in the second half with junior Tom Pace, who had 76 of his 77 yards in the third quarter, scoring on 4- and 1-yard runs. Sophomore Mike Williams ran scores in from 5 and 1 yards, and sophomore Jermaine McKinney had a 2-yard TD run with 4:01 to play, the first TD of his career. ULL's Jon Van Cleave threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Andre George and Jerome Coleman ran 18 yards to score, Ivan Taylor scored on a 48-yard run with 1:06 remaining and Jonathan Knott had 48- and 45-yard field goals for the Ragin' Cajuns.
Lafayette took its only lead when freshman Daryl Lightfoot fumbled a punt and Trey Randall recovered for the Cajuns at the Arizona State 18 early in the game. On the first snap, Coleman swept around left end, got a block at the 7 and ran in untouched to send the Cajuns to a 10-7 lead with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter. But Pace returned the ensuing kickoff 36 yards, and Arizona State regained the upper hand two plays later when Krohn hit McDonald on a 57-yard scoring hookup. McDonald was alone in the back of the end zone on his third scoring grab, and Williams sent the Sun Devils to a 28-10 lead with his first TD with 4:23 left. The defense, which sacked Van Cleave four times and had one interception, set up that score. Sophomore Terrell Suggs sacked Van Cleave and forced a fumble that junior Solomon Bates returned 9 yards to the Lafayette 7. Each team added a score in the final minute - Van Cleave's pass to George, and Krohn's fourth to McDonald with 13 seconds to go.
Scoring MachineFor the second consecutive week, the Sun Devils had a wide receiver score four touchdowns in a single game. Against Louisiana-Lafayette last week, redshirt sophomore Shaun McDonald caught four touchdown passes to tie the school record for TD catches in a game set by John Allen vs. San Jose State in 1953. McDonald's four TD grabs also tie the Pac-10 single-game record, a mark held by five other conference members, most recently accomplished by UCLA's J.J. Stokes vs. Washington in 1993.
Two weeks ago, senior wide receiver Ryan Dennard caught three touchdown passes and returned a fumble for another score. With four touchdowns each, both McDonald and Dennard were just one short of the school record for touchdowns scored in a game (5, held by three Sun Devils), while the two efforts marked the 16th and 17th times in school history that a Sun Devil has scored at least four touchdowns in a game.
Lighting Up the ScoreboardThe Sun Devils are averaging 45.2 points per game which leads the Pac-10 and is third in the nation. BYU leads the nation in scoring at 51.0 points per game. ASU's 63-point effort vs. the Ragin' Cajuns marked the most points for a Sun Devil squad since 66-3 victory over Texas-El Paso on Oct. 22, 1977 and is tied for the most points by a Pac-10 team this season with Oregon's 63-28 win over Arizona on Oct. 6. With its 53-15 win over San Jose State the previous week, ASU has been involved in two of the four highest scoring games in the Pac-10 this year.
The Sun Devils have scored 116 points in their last two games, the most points in back-to-back games since Frank Kush's 1973 Sun Devils scored 134 points in a 67-14 win over Colorado State and a 67-24 victory at New Mexico. The win over Louisiana-Lafayette also marked the eighth time that a Dirk Koetter-led team has topped 50 points (twice at ASU).
With his four touchdowns vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, sophomore Shaun McDonald jumped to first in the Pac-10 in scoring and touchdown scoring (11.0 points per game), while junior Mike Barth is seventh with 8.0 ppg.
Throwing for 1,000With his 250 passing yards in the first half vs. Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, sophomore Jeff Krohn became the quickest quarterback in ASU school history to accumulate 1,000 yards. It took him three games and two quarters, passing the 1,000-yard mark with a 62-yard pass to senior Ryan Dennard midway through the second quarter. The only other ASU quarterback to top the 1,000-yard mark in his first four games was Jeff Van Raaphorst who did it in three game and three quarters in 1984. That season, Van Raaphorst threw for 115 yards in the season opener vs. Oklahoma State but did not play in the next three games due to injury. He had a total of 658 passing yards heading into his fourth game vs. Florida State where he threw for a then-school-record 532 yards to finish with 1,190 through his first four games (2,062 total yards in seven games that year).
With 1,156 yards through his first four games, Krohn is well on his way to one of the finest passing seasons in school history. Here's a look at the number of yards that the ASU quarterbacks who hold the top five single-season performances in school history had through their first four games and when they topped the 1,000-yard mark:
Yards Thru When He Reached Total YardsName (Year) 4 Games 1,000 Yards That Year1. Danny White (1973) 981 5 games (1,130) 2,8782. Jake Plummer (1996) 973 5 games (1,176) 2,7763. Paul Justin (1989) 773 5 games (1,022) 2,5914. Mike Pagel (1981) 756 6 games (1,086) 2,4845. Todd Hons (1983) 693 5 games (1,039) 2,394 Jeff Krohn (2001) 1,156 3 games, 2 quarters
Touchdown Passes & CatchesWith four touchdown passes last week vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, sophomore quarterback Jeff Krohn now has 15 on the season, already passing the total of 12 that he had all of last season. Fifteen touchdown passes in the first four games of the year is also the most in school history, passing the 13 that the 1970 team had. The 1981 team holds the school single-season mark with 29 touchdown passes, however, that year, the Sun Devils had scored just eight times through the air through the first four games and only 11 times before turning in a school-record seven TD passes vs. Stanford in their seventh game of the year. With 15 TD passes already, Krohn needs just two more to enter the top 10 for single-season touchdown passes.
Sophomore wide receiver Shaun McDonald, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring, has caught seven touchdown passes this year, including at least one in each game this season. Last year, Donnie O'Neal and Richard Williams led the team with seven TD catches each all season. McDonald's four TD receptions last week vs. Louisiana-Lafayette marked the third multi-touchdown game of the year for an ASU receiver (O'Neal with two TDs vs. San Diego State, Dennard with three vs. San Jose State). McDonald needs just two more to enter ASU's top five for single-season TD catches.
Keeping Up With KrohnRedshirt sophomore Jeff Krohn is well on his way to one of the best passing seasons in school history, turning in another solid performance against Louisiana-Lafayette with a 12-of-23 effort for 290 yards and four touchdowns.
His four TD passes against Louisiana-Lafayette marked the sixth multiple-TD game of his career and his fourth in as many games this year. Here's a look at the multiple touchdown games of Krohn's short Sun Devil career:
Multiple TD Games of Krohn's CareerOpponent (Year) A-C-I Yds TDsUtah State (2000) 10-6-0 248 4Oregon (2000) 34-21-1 432 5San Diego State (2001) 35-27-0 271 4Stanford (2001) 37-17-1 366 3San Jose State (2001) 22-15-2 229 4Louisiana-Lafayette (2001) 23-12-0 290 4
More Notes on KrohnKrohn leads the Pac-10 and ranks sixth in the nation in total offense with an average of 294.0 yards per game ... he also ranks first in the Pac-10 and second in the country in passing efficiency (180.9) ... his average of 289.0 passing yards per game is also tops in the conference ... Krohn holds an 8-5 record as ASU's starting quarterback in his career ...with 637 passing yards in the first two games of the season (271 vs. San Diego State and 366 at Stanford), Krohn set the school record for most passing yards in the first two games of the year ... over his last eight games (dating back to the USC game last year), Krohn has had just four interceptions in his last 201 pass attempts ... his 366 yards vs. Stanford (17-of-37) marked the second-best passing effort of his career ... his career high in passing yards is 432 yards vs. Oregon last year ... with his 27-of-35 passing performance (.771) vs. San Diego State on Sept. 8, Krohn set the school record for completion percentage for 31 to 40 pass attempts ... he threw passes for the first 11 scores of the year and was responsible for the first 12 TDs of the year for the Sun Devils when he carried the ball five yards into the endzone with 46 seconds left in the third quarter vs. the Spartans ... Krohn has been successful on 60.7 percent of his pass attempts (71-117) ... six of his 15 touchdown passes this year have been for 40 yards or more.
On the GroundAfter not scoring a rushing touchdown in their first two games, the Sun Devils have turned up the ground attack in the last two games. Over the last two games, ASU is averaging 219.5 rushing yards per game, compared to 169.8 yards overall. ASU scored five touchdowns on the ground last week vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (two each for senior Tom Pace and sophomore Mike Williams and one for junior Jermaine McKinney), which marked the most rushing TDs for the Sun Devils since scoring five in a 52-15 win over Oregon on Nov. 15, 1997.
Super SuggsSophomore defensive end Terrell Suggs has tallied at least one sack in each of ASU's four games this year and is tied for first in the Pac-10 with six sacks for a loss of 30 yards. Suggs is also second in the conference in tackles for loss at 10 and leads the league in fumbles forced with three, including one vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Suggs turned in a career game vs. the Ragin' Cajuns with a career-best 10 tackles and four tackles for loss (-14) in addition to two sacks for a loss of 10 yards, a pass deflection and a forced fumble. It marked the sixth time in Suggs' career and the second time this season (last vs. San Diego State) that he has tallied two sacks in a game. Last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a preseason mention for All-America honors, Suggs led the team in tackles for loss (16-72) and sacks (10-60) last season.
Protecting the QuarterbackArizona State leads the Pac-10 and is tied for seventh in the nation, allowing just three quarterback sacks so far this season. Oregon is second in the conference with five sacks allowed, while the eight other league schools have given up six or more. ASU did not surrender a sack in its first two games of the year. Led by Lombardi and Rimington Award candidate Scott Peters, the Sun Devil starting offensive line features five seniors who have started a total of 96 games (C Peters-37, LT Levi Jones-28, LG Marquise Muldrow-11/Travis Scott-2, RT Kyle Kosier-17) and a sophomore (RG Regis Crawford) who has started all four games of the season. Peters, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection last year, has started 37 consecutive games in his career, dating back to the last nine games of the 1998 season.
Consistent FootWith his 31-yarder in the second quarter vs. San Jose State, junior Mike Barth has made nine consecutive field goals, including a perfect 4-of-4 mark this season (a 31-yarder vs. San Jose State, a 47- and 46-yarders at Stanford, a 38-yarder vs. San Diego State). ASU's Lou Groza Award candidate is the only kicker in the Pac-10 to remain perfect through the first five weeks of the season. Barth has been perfect in his last six games dating back to last season, while his last miss was a 43-yarder vs. USC last year. He had a streak of 38 straight PAT attempts snapped in the third quarter last week vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (when a penalty pushed the kick back 15 yards) and is 20-of-21 in PAT attempts this year.
Kickoff NotesThe Sun Devils have been excelling on kickoffs and kickoff returns as of late. ASU leads the Pac-10 and is 11th in the nation with an average of 26.5 yards per kickoff return. Senior Tom Pace and sophomore Mike Williams each rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in the category with Pace checking in at third with an average of 28.2 yards per return and Williams at fifth with 26.0 yards per return.
On kickoffs, junior Mike Barth has booted 15 of 25 kickoffs (60 percent) into the endzone including a stellar 11-of-18 in the last two games.
The Century MarkSenior tailback Delvon Flowers turned in his third career 100-yard rushing game on Sept. 29 vs. San Jose State, tallying 159 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. The 159-yard effort was just two shy of his career high of 161 yards in a loss at Oregon in 1999. Eighty-one of Flowers' yards vs. the Spartans came on one drive in the fourth quarter, when he carried the ball in all 10 plays and finished it with a four-yard run for a score. Flowers leads the team in rushing this year, averaging 67.2 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry.
The Sun Devils have three tailbacks on the roster who have each rushed for 100 yards or more in a game in their ASU careers. Last season, Tom Pace turned in three 100-yard rushing games (103 yards vs. Washington State, 158 vs. Oregon and 139 vs. Boston College), while Mike Williams turned in a 143-yard showing against Colorado State last season to become the first true freshman to top the century mark since Mario Bates rushed for 161 yards against Arizona at home on Nov. 23, 1991. Delvon Flowers, who missed all of last season following an ACL tear in preseason camp, topped the century mark on two occasions in 1999, including a career-high 161 yards at Oregon. ASU is 233-42-5 (.841) all time when a player gains 100 yards or more.
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, Washington (Oct. 6 vs. USC) and UCLA (Oct. 13 vs. Washington) are the only schools to not have a Pac-10 home game until October. ASU's Pac-10 home opener vs. Oregon State on Oct. 20 is the fifth 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 vs. Oregon.
Show of SolidarityArizona State has joined college football teams across the nation who will wear decals of the American flag on their helmets this season to show solidarity for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., as suggested by the American Football Coaches Association.
UCLA Game Rescheduled for Dec. 1Arizona State and UCLA have rescheduled their football game at the Rose Bowl for Saturday, Dec. 1. A kickoff time will be determined at a later date. The Pacific-10 Conference voted Tuesday, Sept. 11 that conference competition in all sports would not be conducted through the weekend in sympathy to the tragic events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that day. Participation in non-conference competition in each sport was left to the discretion of each institution, and a majority of the sporting events throughout the nation were postponed or cancelled.
In Their First YearWith his team's 38-7 victory over San Diego State on Sept. 8, head coach Dirk Koetter joins a group of eight former Sun Devil mentors who won the first game of their ASU careers. Prior to Koetter, the last head coach to win his first game was Larry Marmie who led the Sun Devils to a 21-16 win over Illinois on Sept. 10, 1988 in Tempe. Hall of Famer Dan Devine turned in the best record for a first-year head coach, leading the Sun Devils to an 8-2-1 record in 1955.
Starting YoungFour Sun Devil true freshmen have seen action thus far this season including wide receiver Darryl Lightfoot, safety Jason Shivers, linebacker Barton Hammit and cornerback Lamar Baker. Arizona State's roster features a total of 14 players who saw action as true freshmen. Seventeen true freshmen have played over the last four seasons, including six last year (Terrell Suggs, Mike Karney, Mike Williams, Skyler Fulton and Derick Arnold). In 1999, four true freshmen played, including Solomon Bates, Josh Amobi and Mike Barth, while Justin Taplin and Willie Daniel were among the four to see action in 1998.
Shivers and Baker both started against San Jose State and Louisiana-Lafayette, marking the first time that ASU has two true freshmen in starting lineup since defensive end Terrell Suggs and tailback Mike Williams both started against Colorado State and Utah State last season. Prior to last year, ASU had not had two true freshmen in the starting lineup since 1995. That year, ASU had two freshmen starters in three separate games.
Pac-10 Preseason PollArizona State was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference by West Coast media members in 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.
Walk-OnsSophomore quarterback Jeff Krohn is one of just four starting quarterbacks in the country who began his career as a walk-on. Krohn, who earned a scholarship midway through last season, led the Pac-10's top-ranked passing offense last year and set school marks for passing yards in a season and single-game passing yards for a freshman. The other signal-callers 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 NFL first-round draft pick Adam Archuleta, 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.
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. ASU holds a 3-2 record in overtime since the rule was instituted in 1996. Before 2000, 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.