Football Continue Homestand Saturday Night vs. Central Florida
Sept. 2, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off their 38-2 victory over Division I-AA Eastern Washington last week in their home opener, the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-1) look to stay on the winning track this week as they host the Golden Knights of the University of Central Florida Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU's win over Eastern Washington snapped a six-game losing streak which dated back to the last five games of the last season and had tied the longest losing streak in school history. UCF opened its season last week at Penn State, losing a close one to the Nittany Lions 27-24.
Off to the earliest start in school history and the beginning of the longest regular season in the university annals, Arizona State is in the middle of a streak that will see the team play five of six games at Sun Devil Stadium. Following their game with the Golden Knights on Saturday night, the Sun Devils wrap up the non-conference slate at San Diego State on Sept. 14. The team then enjoys its first bye week of the year on Sept. 21 and opens ASU's 25th year of Pac-10 Conference play on Sept. 28 with the Stanford Cardinal at Sun Devil Stadium.
In the SeriesFor the second consecutive week, Arizona State will be facing a team it has never played before, this week being a matchup with the Golden Knights of the University of Central Florida. ASU holds an 0-2 all-time record vs. teams from the Mid-American Conference but has not matched up with a team from that league since 1979 (that 1979 game was a win over Toledo that was later forfeited). ASU head coach Dirk Koetter faced one team from the MAC while he was at Boise State, coming away with a 47-10 win at Central Michigan during the 2000 season.
ExposureASU's newest television partner, AZ-TV, will broadcast this week's game live to a local audience. AZ-TV can be seen locally in the Valley on Channel 13. Tom Dillon and Doug Plank will call the action on the broadcast, which will be produced by Fox Sports Net Arizona.
The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 13 of ASU's football games, including this week's game with UCF, live on its 16-station network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play), Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst), Vince Marotta (pre- and postgame) and Dave Burns (sidelines) 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.
Team CaptainsHead coach Dirk Koetter will select single-game captains each week. Koetter will make his selections for the UCF game later in the week.
Last Time OutRedshirt freshman Hakim Hill ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another, and fellow freshman Chad Christensen threw two scoring passes as Arizona State defeated Division I-AA Eastern Washington 38-2 last week. The victory ended Arizona State's six-game losing streak, which tied a school record, and made amends for its 48-10 loss at Nebraska in the team's season-opener on Aug. 24.
Eastern Washington, which led I-AA in scoring and total offense last year, had a far different outcome than its 2001 season opener, when the Eagles nearly beat Oregon State but lost 21-19. This time, the Sun Devils took command early, building a 28-2 halftime lead and coasting in the second half.
Hill, of Iowa City, Iowa, scored twice in a 50-second span in the first quarter. First, he capped a 52-yard, 10-play drive by grabbing a 12-yard touchdown pass from Christensen. Junior Mike Williams had seven carries for 31 yards on the drive. The Suns Devils got the ball back quickly when cornerback R.J. Oliver intercepted a pass by Josh Blankenship and returned it 10 yards to Eastern Washington's 20. After a 10-yard holding penalty against the Sun Devils moved the ball back to the 30, Hill, the son of former All-Pro J.D. Hill, darted around the right side, cut back toward the middle of the field and ran for his second touchdown.
Arizona State also scored twice in the second period. Christensen, who redshirted last year, finished an 80-yard, 8-play drive with a 26-yard pass into the end zone to tight end Mike Pinkard, giving the Sun Devils a 21-0 lead.
Hill finished the game with 162 all-purpose yards - 62 on 12 carries, 29 on two pass receptions and 71 on four punt returns.
The Sun Devils added their fourth touchdown six minutes later when Cornell Canidate, another redshirt freshman, ran eight yards into the end zone. He finished the game with 15 carries for 100 yards.
Christensen, who was 12-of-21 for 135 yards in three quarters, was tackled for a safety by defensive end Brandon Moore late in the second period for Eastern Washington's only points. Arizona State scored the only points of the second half on a 43-yard field goal by Mike Barth and a 4-yard pass from Andrew Walter to Skyler Fulton, both in the fourth quarter.
Defensive ShutoutArizona State's defense held Eastern Washington scoreless last week with the Eagles' only points in the game coming on a team safety in the third quarter. It marked the first time since the Sun Devils' 19-0 shutout of Nebraska in 1996 that ASU's defense did not allow a point in a game.
More Notes on the DefenseArizona State's defense has tallied eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss in the first two games... the Sun Devils held Eastern Washington to minus-13 rushing yards on Saturday night, the lowest total in 10 seasons since Howard Schnellenberger's Louisville struggled to minus-78 rushing yards in 1992 at Sun Devil Stadium... ASU has yielded just 259.5 yards of total offense in the first two games, including 135.0 yards rushing and 124.5 yards passing... last year, ASU finished eighth in the Pac-10 in total defense and seventh in passing defense, allowing 399.4 yards of total offense and 260.9 passing yards per game... so far in 2002, ASU's young defensive backs have made significant contributions on defense...sophomore safeties Jason Shivers and Riccardo Stewart each tallied double figures in tackles in ASU's season-opener at Nebraska with 16 and 10 stops, respectively, while true freshman safety Matt Fawley, who made his first career start Saturday night vs. Eastern Washington, tied for the team lead in tackles in that game with nine stops... junior defensive end Terrell Suggs tallied a career-high three sacks last week vs. Eastern Washington... his previous high in a single game had been two sacks on seven occasions.
Youth MovementThree more true freshmen and four more redshirt freshmen joined ASU's youth movement on Saturday vs. Eastern Washington, giving ASU a total of 27 who have seen the first action of their ASU careers in the first two games (eight true freshmen, 12 redshirt freshmen and seven juniors). A total of 20 players saw the first action of their ASU careers at Nebraska, while 31 of ASU's 63 players who saw action last week vs. EWU were true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores. Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Christensen and cornerback Josh Golden have started both games this year, while true freshman safety Matt Fawley earned his first career start last Saturday vs. Eastern Washington. ASU's current depth chart features a total of 26 underclassmen (freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores), including nine starters.
Three more true freshmen - cornerback Mike Davis Jr., defensive lineman Ali Likio and offensive lineman Chaz White - all played for the first time of their careers vs. Eastern Washington, giving ASU a total of eight true freshmen to see action this year. The five true freshmen who saw action at Nebraska were safety Matt Fawley, wide receiver Derek Hagan, defensive end Nick Johnson, fullback Mike Talbot and linebacker Jamar Williams.
That total already surpasses the number of true freshmen who played last year (four) and matches the most true freshmen to play in a season since 1994. That year's eight true freshmen included Sun Devil standouts Terry Battle, Jason Simmons, Damien Richardson and Pat Tillman. ASU's current roster features 20 players who saw action during their true freshman seasons: Daryl Lightfoot, Jason Shivers, Barton Hammit and Lamar Baker (2001); Terrell Suggs, Mike Karney, Mike Williams and Skyler Fulton (2000); Solomon Bates, Josh Amobi and Mike Barth (1999); and Justin Taplin (1998).
Home OpenersWith their 38-2 victory over Eastern Washington last week, the Sun Devils extended their winning streak in home openers to four. ASU now holds a 42-15-1 (.733) record in home openers including wins in their last four and seven of their last eight.
The Century MarkRedshirt freshman Cornell Canidate turned in 15 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown Saturday night vs. Eastern Washington. He became the first rookie to top the century mark in a game since Mike Williams turned in a 143-yard showing against Colorado State in 2000 as a true freshman. ASU holds 234-42-5 (.842) all time when a player gains 100 yards or more on the ground.
Suggs on Lombardi & Nagurski Watch ListsA preseason All-American and All-Pac-10 selection, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs is on the preseason watch lists for two of the most prestigous awards in college football, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Suggs is one of 49 players on the preseason watch list for the 33rd 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, players had to have earned All-America or first-team all-conference honors last year. The Lombardi Award watch list will be narrowed down to 12 semifinalists later in the fall with the winner to be announced on December 11 in Houston.
Suggs is also listed among the 64 players on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top collegiate defensive player. The winner is selected by the 800-member Football Writers Association of America and will be presented on Dec. 9 in Charlotte, N.C.
Climbing the Career ChartsWith three sacks last week vs. Eastern Washington, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs continues to climb the ASU career charts for both sacks and tackles for loss. The team leader in each category in each of the last two seasons, he had two TFLs and a sack at Nebraska in ASU's season-opener. He has moved into fourth with 24 career sacks and seventh in career TFLs with 38. Last year, the third-team Football News All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 selection led the Pac-10 in solo sacks and tied for first with four forced fumbles. Suggs finished second in the conference in total sacks (10 for 57 yards) and tackles for loss (18 for 79 yards) in 2001.
ASU Career Sacks1. 41 Shante Carver, 1990-932. 28 Vernon Maxwell, 1979-823. 26 Scott Stephen, 1983-864. 24 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present5. 22 Bob Kohrs, 1978-796. 20 Jim Jeffcoat, 1979-82
ASU Career Tackles for Loss1. 58 Bob Kohrs, 1976-792. 57 Shante Carver, 1990-93 57 Al Harris, 1975-784. 56 Vernon Maxwell, 1979-825. 53 Adam Archuleta, 1997-006. 46 Scott Stephen, 1983-867. 38 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present
Young GunSophomore free safety Jason Shivers continues to lead the Sun Devils in total tackles this season with 18 (seven solo, 11 assists). He paced the Sun Devils in tackles with 16 in the season-opener at Nebraska, marking the sixth time in his young career that he has led the team in the category. His total of 16 tackles (seven solos, nine assists) vs. the Huskers was also just one shy of his career high of 17 last year vs. Washington.
In 2001 as a true freshman, Shivers led the Sun Devils and finished eighth in the Pac-10 with an average of 8.1 tackles per game. With his 89 tackles (51 solo stops), the Sporting News Freshman All-American became the first Sun Devil freshman to lead the team in tackles and the first underclassman since Darren Woodson turned in 122 tackles as a sophomore in 1989.
The leader of ASU's very young backfield, Shivers turned in a career-best 17 tackles last Oct. 27 against Washington (four solos, 13 assists), which was the third-highest single-game total in the Pac-10 last year. It also marked the most tackles by a Sun Devil since Joe Cesta had 17 (12 solo) in a 1998 loss at Oregon.
McDonald on Biletnikoff Watch ListJunior wide receiver Shaun McDonald is one of 32 players on the watch list for the 2000 Biletnikoff Award, which is annually presented to the top wide receiver in the country by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. The list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists and then three finalists later this fall, while the award will be presented at the ESPN Annual Awards show on Dec. 12.
Racking up the Receiving YardsA preseason second-team All-American by Athlon and an All-Pac-10 selection by several publications, junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald finished second on the ASU single-season charts with 1,104 receiving yards last year, just 40 yards shy of the single-season mark of 1,144 yards set by Morris Owens in 1973. He became only the fifth Sun Devil in school history to amass 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and his total of 1,104 yards nearly triples the 358 yards he had the previous year as a redshirt freshman. McDonald led the Pac-10 and finished 10th in the nation with an average of 100.4 yards per game. He also shattered ASU single-season marks for receiving yards per game (100.4 ypg) and receiving yards per catch (23.5 ypc), records previously held by Ron Fair (98.3 yards per game in 1989) and Morris Owens (22.0 yards per catch in 1973).
A 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection, McDonald turned in a total of five 100-yard games last season, matching the five that Keith Poole had in 1996 and just one shy of the six that Ron Fair had in 1989. McDonald caught 10 touchdown passes in 2001 which ranks fifth on the ASU single-season list for TD catches. He caught at least one touchdown pass in all but four games last year.
McDonald opened the 2002 season with a solid performance, catching seven passes for 73 yards at Nebraska. He has now caught at least one pass in each of the last 17 games, dating back to the 2000 season. Facing double coverage on most possessions last week vs. Eastern Washington, McDonald caught just one pass for five yards, but the speedy junior still leads the Sun Devils in receiving with eight catches for 78 yards on the year.
ASU Single-Season Receiving Yards (Catches)1. 1,144 Morris Owens (52), 19732. 1,104 Shaun McDonald (47), 20013. 1,082 Ron Fair (64), 19894. 1,036 Keith Poole (55), 19955. 1,009 J.D. Hill (61), 19706. 974 Greg Hudson (62), 1973
ASU Single-Season Touchdown Catches1. 14 Doug Allen, 19842. 12 Steve Holden, 19723. 11 Keith Poole, 1996 11 J.D. Hill, 19705. 10 Shaun McDonald, 2001
Lighting Up the ScoreboardThe Sun Devils averaged 34.0 points per game in 2001, which tied for third in the Pac-10 with conference champion Oregon and 19th in the nation. ASU scored 49 touchdowns last season (22 rushing, 24 passing, 1 interception return, 1 fumble recovery, 1 kickoff return), which marked the most since the team had 64 in 1996. At home, ASU averaged 37.5 points per game (263 points in seven games), while ASU's 34.0 points per game were the most for the team since 1996 when the Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl-bound Sun Devils averaged 40.7 points per contest.
Early BirdsArizona State's August 24th game at Nebraska in the BCA Classic marked the earliest start to the football season in school history. The August 24th start was six days earlier than the previous earliest season opener, which was in 1997 when the team opened at home vs. New Mexico State on Aug. 30. Only two other Division I-A football games were played earlier this season with Colorado State's Aug. 22 game at Virginia being the earliest. A total of four Division I-A games were played on Aug. 24.
The Sun Devils' 2002 season will also enter uncharted waters as the team will play 13 regular-season games, the most in school history. Taking into account the number of scheduled games and the early start, ASU will have played three games by the time that many teams will have just kicked off the 2002 campaign.
All-Conference SelectionsFour Sun Devils earned first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors in 2001, trailing just UCLA which had five first-team selections. A total of 10 Sun Devils appeared on the list of all-conference honorees last year, while nine players earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors. Returning All-Pac-10 honorees include WR Shaun McDonald and DE Terrell Suggs (first team) and PK Mike Barth, FB Mike Karney and S Alfred Williams (honorable mention).
The GraduatesASU's football roster features six student-athletes who have earned their undergraduate degrees - defensive lineman James Beal, tight end Matt Cooper, defensive lineman Phil Howard, fullback Darrel Turner, linebacker Mason Unck and safety Alfred Williams - while several others are scheduled to graduate in December of 2002, including long snapper Jay Breckenridge, defensive lineman Danny Masaniai, tight end Mike Pinkard, wide receiver Justin Taplin and safety Patrick Wilson.
Who's BackThe Sun Devils return 40 letterwinners including 12 starters and two specialists in senior placekicker Mike Barth and senior long snapper Jay Breckenridge. The four offensive starters slated to return are OL Regis Crawford, TE Mike Pinkard, FB Mike Karney and WR Shaun McDonald. TB Mike Williams also returns on offense after starting seven games in two years (four last year). On defense, eight returning starters include DE Brian Montesanto & Terrell Suggs, LB Mason Unck & Solomon Bates, CB R.J. Oliver & Lamar Baker, S Alfred Williams and FS Jason Shivers.
NFL Draft NotesWith left tackle Levi Jones being taken by the Cincinnati Bengals as the 10th pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, it marked the third straight season and 20th overall that a Sun Devil has been taken in the first round. Arizona State had a total of four offensive linemen drafted in the first round in 2002 (Jones, Scott Peters, Travis Scott and Kyle Kosier). Since the NFL Draft has gone to its current format of seven rounds in 1994, only Penn State in 1996 has had four offensive linemen taken in the draft.
ASU Hall of Fame InducteesA pair of former Sun Devil football standouts, Danny Villa and Freddie Williams, will be among the 12 inductees into the Arizona State Hall of Fame this season. All 12 inductees will be honored at halftime of the Homecoming/Hall of Fame football game on Oct. 26 vs. Washington at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field and at ceremonies throughout the weekend.
Villa (1983-86) was team captain and anchor of the 1986 offensive line that propelled Arizona State to its first Pac-10 Conference title and the 1987 Rose Bowl crown. Villa was a 1986 consensus All-America pick by the Associated Press and the Football Writers Association, the first offensive lineman at Arizona State to achieve this status. He also won the 1986 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-10 Offensive Lineman of the Year, as voted by the conference's defensive linemen.
'Fast Freddie' Williams (1973-76) earned Associated Press honorable-mention All-America status in 1975 and AP and UPI honorable-mention All-America in 1974. Williams was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 1974 and 1975 and helped the 1975 team post an undefeated 12-0 record, a Fiesta Bowl victory and a No. 2 final national ranking. He currently is the second all-time leading rusher in Arizona State history with 3,424 yards and 17 career 100-yard games.
Jefferson to Be Inducted into College Hall of FameFormer ASU wide receiver John Jefferson (1974-77) will be one of 13 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., this fall. Jefferson becomes the third Sun Devil to be inducted into the College Hall of Fame. Legendary head coach es Dan Devine and Frank Kush were inducted in 1985 and 1996, respectively, quarterback Danny White was inducted in 1997 and defensive back Mike Haynes was inducted in 2001.
A 1979 inductee into the Arizona State Hall of Fame, Jefferson is known as arguably the greatest pass-catcher in the history of the program. Jefferson rewrote the university, Western Athletic Conference and NCAA record books. A consensus All-America selection in 1977 and two-time all-conference pick, Jefferson concluded his career with an NCAA record 42 consecutive games with a reception. He remains the ASU all-time leader in career receptions with 188 and career receiving yardage with 2,993 yards. Recognized as Arizona Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1977, Jefferson was twice selected as the team's Most Valuable Player and led the team in receiving all four years.
Following graduation, Jefferson was selected fourth overall in the first round of the 1978 National Football League draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played parts of eight NFL seasons with the Chargers, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, being named to the Pro Bowl four times. After retiring, Jefferson became an assistant coach at the University of Kansas before becoming director of player development for the Washington Redskins.
Silver AnniversaryThe 2002 football season will mark Arizona State's 25th year as a member of the Pacific-10 Conference, a milestone which is commemorated on the covers of this season's football media guide. The covers feature a collage of many of the players, coaches and moments that have contributed to ASU's successes in the Pac-10, including the Sun Devils' 1986 and 1996 Pac-10 Championship seasons.
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