Football to Host Stanford Saturday Afternoon in Pac-10 Opener
Sept. 23, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Riding a three-game winning streak and coming off their first bye week of the year, the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1) return to Sun Devil Stadium for their Pac-10 Conference opener, playing host to the Stanford Cardinal (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 28. Off to the earliest start in school history and in the midst of the longest regular season in the university annals, ASU returns to Tempe for the first of a stretch of three straight home games that will end a streak that has seen the team play five of six games at Sun Devil Stadium. At halftime on Saturday, the Sun Devils will also honor former Sun Devil great John Jefferson who will become the third Sun Devil student-athlete to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.
Two weeks ago, the Sun Devils posted the biggest comeback in school history, overcoming a 22-0 deficit to defeat San Diego State 39-28 at Qualcomm Stadium. During their current three-game winning streak, Arizona State has outscored its opponents 71-6 in the second half, allowing just two field goals at San Diego State. With a victory over Stanford, which is also coming off a bye week, ASU would have its longest winning streak since earning five straight victories in 1997, while the team is looking to snap a four-game losing streak in Pac-10 openers, a skid that also dates back to the 1997 Sun Bowl campaign.
In the SeriesArizona State leads the all-time series with Stanford 11-7 including a 6-3 advantage in Tempe. The series returns to Sun Devil Stadium for the first time since 1999, while the Cardinal has earned victories in the last three meetings including a 51-28 victory on Sept. 22, 2001 in Palo Alto. The Cardinal has outscored the Sun Devils 130-65 in the last three meetings, while prior to the current three-game losing streak, ASU had won six of seven contests vs. Stanford. ASU's last victory over Stanford came with a 44-38 overtime win at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 22, 1998.
Pac-10 OpenersArizona State holds a 7-15-2 all-time record in Pac-10 Conference openers since joining the league in 1978. The Sun Devils will be looking to win their first conference opener since beginning the 1997 conference slate with a 13-10 victory at Oregon State on Sept. 27, a streak of four losses that includes last year's 51-28 loss at Stanford. This year's game marks the second straight season that ASU and Stanford kick off the conference season against each other, although last year the Sun Devils were to have opened at UCLA before having that Sept. 15 game postponed due to the national tragedies of Sept. 11.
This year's game vs. Stanford also marks just the second time in six years that the Sun Devils will open Pac-10 Conference play at home.
Faculty/Staff Appreciation DaySaturday afternoon's game with Stanford is Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day at Sun Devil Stadium. Members of ASU's faculty and staff were offered discounted tickets and a free game-day tailgate in the ASU Arboretum.
ExposureABC will broadcast this week's game live to a regional audience. Keith Jackson (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Todd Harris (sidelines) will call the action. It is the first ABC appearance for the Sun Devils since the 2000 Aloha Bowl game.
The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 13 of ASU's football games this season live on its 16-station network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM. Due to a schedule conflict, however, the Stanford game will only be heard on 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's selections for the Stanford game are senior linebacker Josh Amobi, sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter and sophomore offensive lineman Drew Hodgdon.
Last Time OutInjured sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes to junior Shaun McDonald and Arizona State erased a 22-point deficit to beat San Diego State 39-28 Sept. 14 at Qualcomm Stadium.
The 22-point deficit was the largest ASU had overcome to win a game in school history. It was also the first road victory in Dirk Koetter's ASU tenure.
McDonald had catches of 72, 33, 29 and 16 yards to match the school record for touchdown receptions in a game that he shares with John Allen. McDonald's first two TD catches came just 27 seconds apart in the second quarter - on Walter's first two passes of the evening - to start the Sun Devils' comeback.
McDonald finished with eight catches for 175 yards, and Walter completed 10 of 19 passes for 175 yards.
Walter replaced redshirt freshman Chad Christensen late in the second quarter with the Sun Devils trailing 22-0. His first pass went 72 yards over the middle to McDonald for a score. Senior defensive lineman Khoa Nguyen recovered James Truvillion's fumble on the first play of SDSU's next drive, and Walter then hit McDonald for 33 yards for another touchdown. Walter had been chosen as the starter during the week, but he injured a knee in practice, so Christensen started.
After Tommy Kirovski tied the game with a 30-yard field goal, McDonald caught a 29-yard pass and tumbled backward into the end zone for a 32-25 ASU lead with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
Walter found McDonald in the back of the end zone for his fourth TD catch, from 16 yards, with 8:45 left to play. It was set up when Jamar Williams recovered a fumble on a punt return.
Comeback KidsArizona State fell behind 22-0 in the second quarter at San Diego State two weeks ago and rallied to win 39-28, largely on the performance of injured quarterback Andrew Walter who came into the game with 5:25 to play in the second half. Walter threw a career-best four touchdown passes in the contest, including two on his first two passes in the ballgame, to lead ASU to the win. The 22-point mark was the largest deficit overcome to win in ASU history, according to ASU records and Sun Devil historians Barry Sollenberger and Bob Eger.
ASU's previous largest comeback had been on Oct. 12, 1996 at UCLA when Jake Plummer helped the Sun Devils turn a 28-7 second-quarter deficit into a 42-34 victory. Plummer electrified the crowd at the Rose Bowl by throwing three TD passes, running for a score and catching a TD pass over the final three quarters for the victory. The Sun Devils had also previously overcome a 29-point deficit (down 35-6 in the third quarter) to tie with USC in regulation on Nov. 4, 2000 at Sun Devil Stadium but lost 44-38 in double overtime in ASU's NCAA-record-tying third straight overtime game.
Notes on the DefenseThe Arizona State defense ranks first in the Pac-10 in sacks with 18 for a loss of 109 yards... ASU has also tallied 40 tackles for loss (182 yards)... junior defensive end Terrell Suggs leads the league in sacks (8-40) and tackles for loss (10.5-58), while sophomore safety Riccardo Stewart, the team's leading tackler on the year, is tied for third in tackles for loss... sophomore cornerback R.J. Oliver paces the Pac-10 with nine pass deflections...ASU has held opponents to just 26.7 percent on third down conversions (16-of-60) which ties for second in the Pac-10... ASU ranks second in the Pac-10 and 15th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 90.2 yards per game... the Sun Devils held Eastern Washington to minus-13 rushing yards on Aug. 31, the lowest total in 10 seasons since Howard Schnellenberger's Louisville struggled to minus-78 rushing yards in 1992 at Sun Devil Stadium... ASU also held EWU scoreless 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... ASU recorded a safety for the first time since Nov. 11, 2001 vs. No. 11 Washington State when Suggs posted a sack against Central Florida... 'ASU has the fastest defense I have seen in a while, flying to the ball, pressure from the interior and from the ends as well. We could just not handle the speed of the defense and I credit them for that.'--UCF Head Coach Mike Kruczek.
Climbing the Career ChartsWith another sack two weeks ago at San Diego State, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs leads the Pac-10 Conference with eight sacks this year and has moved into a tie for second on the ASU career list with 28 sacks in his three years in Tempe. Suggs also continues to climb the ASU career chart for tackles for loss and is sixth on that list with 52.5 career 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. 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 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present 28 Vernon Maxwell, 1979-824. 26 Scott Stephen, 1983-865. 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. 52.5 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present7. 46 Scott Stephen, 1983-86
Suggs' Game-by-Game in 2002Opponent Tackles (Solo) TFL Sacksat Nebraska 4 (2) 1-1 1-1Eastern Washington 5 (3) 2-20 3-20Central Florida 7 (6) 4.5-24 3-14at San Diego State 4 (3) 1-13 1-5Totals 20 (14) 10.5-58 8-40
Putting the Special in Special TeamsTrue freshman linebacker Jamar Williams blocked a punt that was recovered by redshirt freshman wide receiver Matt Miller for a touchdown vs. San Diego State on Sept. 14, the first time ASU scored a touchdown off a blocked punt since 1994 (Damien Richardson vs. Arizona)... ASU currently ranks second in the Pac-10 and 19th in the nation in kickoff returns (24.5 yards per return), while the team ranks sixth in the league in punt returns at 10.7 yards per return...last year, ASU finished second in the Pac-10 and ninth in the nation in kickoff returns and fifth in the league in punt returns... redshirt freshman Hakim Hill currently ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (133.0 ypg), third in the league and 20th in the nation in kickoff returns (25.9 yards per return) and fourth in the Pac-10 in punt returns (11.7 ypr)... Hill was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 9 to become the Sun Devils' first special teams 'returner' to be named POW since Terry Battle on Nov. 2, 1996... Hill had 157 kickoff return yards (five attempts) vs. Central Florida on Sept. 7, which was just two yards short of the school record held by Kevin Galbreath vs. Houston in 1990.
Racking up the Receiving TDsJunior wide receiver Shaun McDonald has caught seven touchdown passes in the last two games, including a school-record-tying four two weeks ago at San Diego State. With his four TD catches vs. the Aztecs, McDonald tied the school record he holds along with John Allen. McDonald also caught four TD passes in 2001 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, and Allen did it in 1953 vs. San Jose State. McDonald has caught 18 touchdown passes in his ASU career, just seven shy of the school record of 25 set by Keith Poole (1993-96) and Doug Allen (1981-84). He leads the Pac-10 in TD scoring with his seven TD catches on the year and needs just three more to tie his TD production of one year ago.
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 19 games, dating back to the 2000 season. The speedy junior turned in a season-high eight catches for 175 yards at San Diego State two weeks ago and leads the Sun Devils and is ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in receiving with 13 catches for 132 yards on the year.
A 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 just 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), respectively.
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.
ASU Career Touchdown Catches1. 25 Keith Poole (1993-96) 25 Doug Allen (1981-84)3. 22 Steve Holden (1970-72)4. 21 J.D. Hill (1967-68, 1970) 21 John Mistler (1977-80)6. 20 John Jefferson (1974-77)7. 18 Shaun McDonald (2000-present)8. 17 Morris Owens (1972-74)9. 16 Aaron Cox (1984-87)10. 15 Lenzie Jackson (1995-98)
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
First-Year Head CoachesStanford's Buddy Teevens is the second of three first-year head coaches that the Sun Devils will face in 2002. San Diego State's Tom Craft and Cal's Jeff Tedford are the other two. In fact, just two of the 13 head coaches ASU will face in 2002 have been at their respective schools more than five years: Washington State's Mike Price and Oregon's Mike Bellotti.
Youth MovementTrue freshman Chaz White started at right tackle Sept. 14 at San Diego State, becoming the first Sun Devil to start on the offensive line as a true freshman since Dan Mackie started the last 10 games of the 1979 season at center. White is also just the third true freshman in school history to start on the o-line with right guard Rick Torbert in 1974 being the other one. Arizona State could have three true freshmen in the starting lineup Saturday night vs. Stanford if White, wide receiver Derek Hagan and safety Matt Fawley make their expected appearances.
Arizona State's young squad features a total of 27 players who have seen the first action of their ASU careers this year (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 vs. EWU were true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores.
ASU's current depth chart features a total of 25 underclassmen (freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores), including 12 starters. Of those 12 starters, six are true or redshirt freshmen.
A total of eight true freshman have seen action so far this year. Five true freshmen played at Nebraska including safety Matt Fawley, wide receiver Derek Hagan, defensive end Nick Johnson, fullback Mike Talbot and linebacker Jamar Williams, while three more - 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. 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).
Three's CompanyThe Sun Devils are currently using a rotation of three tailbacks as redshirt freshman Cornell Canidate (46 carries), junior Mike Williams (34 carries) and redshirt freshman Hakim Hill (33 carries) are all carrying the leather.
Canidate, who will make the first start of his career Saturday vs. Stanford, is ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 64.0 yards per game. He turned in 15 carries for 85 yards two weeks ago at San Diego State, while he tallied 15 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown vs. Eastern Washington on Aug. 31 to become the first rookie to top the century mark in a game since Mike Williams. Williams turned in a 143-yard showing against Colorado State in 2000 as a true freshman. ASU is 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.
Young GunsSophomores Riccardo Stewart and Jason Shivers are now tied for the team lead and rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 with 31 tackles each on the year. Stewart moved into the lead two weeks ago when he tallied a team-best eight stops vs. Central Florida on Sept. 7, but Shivers tied things up again with 11 (eight solos) vs. San Diego State on Sept. 14. Shivers paced the Sun Devils in tackles with 16 (seven solos, nine assists) in the season-opener at Nebraska, a total that was just one shy of his career high of 17 last year vs. Washington. The week that Stewart led the team in tackles marked the first time since October of last year Shivers has not topped the overall stat sheet in tackles.
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.
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 (HM). ASU's returning Pac-10 All-Academic selections include TB Mike Williams, DL Phil Howard and PK Mike Barth (first team), S Patrick Wilson (second team) and WR Skyler Fulton (HM).
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.
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. He will also be honored in Tempe during the weekend of the Stanford game with a invitation-only reception on Friday night with former players and coaches and a halftime ceremony at the game on Saturday afternoon.
Jefferson, who earned his B.A. in history from Arizona State in 1989, becomes the third Sun Devil to be inducted into the College Hall of Fame. Legendary head coaches 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.