Football Opens Home Pac-10 Slate With Oregon State
Oct. 15, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. - Following a 48-17 loss at USC last weekend, the Sun Devils open their Pac-10 home slate this weekend, playing host to Oregon State Saturday night at 7 p.m. PDT at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU (3-2, 0-2 in the Pac-10) 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 Sun Devils have opened the 2001 conference season with road losses at Stanford and USC. The Oregon State Beavers picked up their first conference win of the year last weekend with a 38-3 victory over Arizona and bring 2-3 overall and 1-2 Pac-10 marks into the weekend. Including Saturday's Family Weekend matchup with the Beavers, Arizona State will play its next two games and four of its last six contests at home.
In the SeriesArizona State holds a 19-7-1 all-time advantage in the series with Oregon State, including a 14-3 record at home. The two teams have not played in each of the last two years. ASU has won the last five games and eight of the last nine in the series with Oregon State, including a 24-3 victory in the last meeting at Sun Devil Stadium on Sept. 26, 1998. In fact, ASU has earned a victory or tie in 20 of the last 21 meetings. ASU's only loss in that streak, which dates back to 1972, was a 30-14 defeat in Corvallis in 1993.
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 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. There will be no television for the Oregon State game.
Pac-10 Home OpenersSince joining the Pac-10 Conference in 1978, the Sun Devils are 13-9-1 in conference home openers including last year's 30-10 victory over California on Oct. 7. ASU has earned victories in the last two and six of its last seven Pac-10 home openers. ASU's last loss in a Pac-10 home opener was a 42-38 defeat at the hands of Washington on Sept. 5, 1998. Prior to that, ASU had not lost its first Pac-10 game of the year at Sun Devil Stadium since falling to Oregon 45-36 on Oct. 16, 1993.
If It Seems Late, It Is...With this weekend's game with Oregon State, Arizona State becomes the last team in the Pac-10 to play a conference game at home. The Sun Devils, Washington (Oct. 6 vs. USC) and UCLA (Oct. 13 vs. Washington) are the only schools which did not have a Pac-10 home game until October. ASU's Pac-10 home opener vs. Oregon State on Oct. 20 is the sixth game of the season for ASU. Only once before 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.
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 left tackle Levi Jones is Koetter's selection for the Oregon State game.
Last Time OutUSC quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns as the USC Trojans ended a four-game losing streak with a 48-17 victory over Arizona State last week at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Palmer completed 18 of 26 passes and was not intercepted. ASU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the game when junior Mike Barth connected on his 10th consecutive field goal, this one from 36 yards six minutes into the game. ASU's defense held USC to minus-13 yards in the first quarter, but the Trojans came to life in the second, scoring three touchdowns on their way to the win. Junior Matt Cooper completed 9-of-17 pass attempts for 117 yards and one touchdown, but was intercepted three times in relief of sophomore Jeff Krohn who left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter. For the Sun Devils, sophomore Skyler Fulton caught his first career touchdown reception with a four-yard score with 11 seconds left in the first half, while sophomore Shaun McDonald gave ASU its only scoring of the second half with a six-yard run with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
Oregon State ConnectionsArizona State running backs coach Tom Nordquist is a 1993 graduate of Oregon State. Nordquist was the starting center for the Beavers from 1990-91 and spent two years as an assistant coach there in 1992-93. A junior college All-American in 1989, Nordquist transferred to OSU from Arizona Western College. Oregon State running backs coach Dan Cozzetto spent eight seasons as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at ASU under Bruce Snyder (1992-99).
Following a LossOn Saturday night, Arizona State will be looking to continue a trend that has seen ASU head coach Dirk Koetter lead his squad to victory in nine of 10 games following a loss.In his career, Koetter holds a 9-1 record following a loss, including a 1-0 record in Tempe. Earlier this year, ASU followed up a loss at Stanford in its Pac-10 opener with a home victory over San Jose State.
Super SuggsSophomore defensive end Terrell Suggs has tallied at least one sack in each of ASU's five games this year and is tied for first in the Pac-10 with eight sacks for a loss of 41 yards. Suggs is also second in the conference in tackles for loss at 15 and is tied for first in fumbles forced with three, including one vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. In the past two games, Suggs has turned in four sacks and nine tackles for loss, including a career-best 5 TFLs at USC. 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. Suggs has tallied a pair of sacks in each of the last two games (vs. ULL and at USC), marking the sixth and seventh times in Suggs' career and the second and third times this year that he has had two 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.
Lighting Up the ScoreboardThe Sun Devils are averaging 39.8 points per game which ranks second in the Pac-10 and eighth in the nation. BYU leads the nation in scoring at 46.5 points per game. At home, ASU is averaging 51.3 points per game.
ASU's 63-point effort vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 6 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 that same night. With its 53-15 win over San Jose State on Sept. 29, ASU has been involved in two of the four highest scoring games in the Pac-10 this year. The win over Louisiana-Lafayette also marked the eighth time that a Dirk Koetter-led team has topped 50 points (twice at ASU).
With eight total touchdowns (seven receiving, one rushing), sophomore Shaun McDonald ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring (tied for 13th in the nation) and first in touchdown scoring (10.0 points per game). Junior kicker Mike Barth is eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 7.4 points per game, while senior wide receiver Ryan Dennard is tied for sixth in the conference in touchdown scoring at 6.5 points per game.
Protecting the QuarterbackArizona State leads the Pac-10 by allowing just five quarterback sacks so far this season. Oregon is second in the conference with six sacks allowed, while the eight other league schools have given up nine 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 100 games (C Peters-38, LT Levi Jones-29, LG Marquise Muldrow-11/Travis Scott-3, RT Kyle Kosier-18) and a sophomore (RG Regis Crawford) who has started all five games of the season. Peters, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection last year, has started 38 consecutive games in his career, dating back to the last nine games of the 1998 season.
Consistent FootWith his 36-yarder in the first quarter at USC, junior Mike Barth has made 10 consecutive field goals, including a perfect 5-of-5 mark this season. ASU's Lou Groza Award candidate is the only kicker in the Pac-10 to remain perfect through the first six weeks of the season. Barth has been perfect in his last seven 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 Oct. 6 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (when a penalty pushed the kick back 15 yards) and is 22-of-23 (.957) in PAT attempts this year.
Keeping Up With KrohnDespite playing just one quarter at USC due to an ankle injury, sophomore quarterback Jeff Krohn continues to rank first in the Pac-10 and second in the country in passing efficiency (178.6) ... Krohn also ranks fourth in the conference in passing yards per game (232.8) and fifth in total offense (236.2) ... he had led the league in both categories before the USC game where he completed 2-of-3 attempts for eight yards in the first quarter ... Krohn holds an 8-6 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 ... he also became the quickest quarterback in school history to reach 1,000 passing yards, accomplishing the feat in the second quarter of the Louisiana-Lafayette game (three games and two quarters) ... over his last nine games (dating back to the USC game last year), Krohn has had just four interceptions in his last 204 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 60.8 percent of his pass attempts (73-120) ... six of his 15 touchdown passes this year have been for 40 yards or more.
Touchdown Passes & CatchesWith four touchdown passes 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 was 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. As a team, ASU has 16 TD passes so far this year, including one by junior Matt Cooper to sophomore Skyler Fulton last week at USC. Sophomore wide receiver Shaun McDonald, who leads the Pac-10 in touchdown scoring, has caught seven touchdown passes and ran one in at USC last weekend. Last year, Donnie O'Neal and Richard Williams led the team with seven TD catches each all season. McDonald's four TD receptions vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 6 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.
Scoring MachineTwice this season, the Sun Devils have had a wide receiver score four touchdowns in a single game. Against Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 6, 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.
Three weeks ago, senior wide receiver Ryan Dennard caught three touchdown passes and returned a fumble for another score vs. San Jose State. 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.
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 three games. Over the last three games, ASU is averaging 194.0 rushing yards per contest, compared to 164.4 yards overall. ASU scored five touchdowns on the ground two weeks ago 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.
Kickoff NotesThe Sun Devils have been excelling on kickoffs and kickoff returns as of late. ASU is second in the Pac-10 and is ranked 14th in the nation with an average of 24.96 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 second in the league and 14th in the nation with an average of 28.6 yards per return and Williams at sixth with 23.4 yards per return. On kickoffs, junior Mike Barth has booted 17 of 29 kickoffs (58.6 percent) into the endzone including a stellar 13-of-22 in the last three 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 63.8 yards per game and 5.64 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.
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.