Sun Devils Face #6/6 Kansas State in Holiday Bowl
Dec. 12, 2002
2002 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Arizona State Sun Devils (8-5, 5-3 Pac-10)
vs. #6/6 Kansas State Wildcats (10-2, 6-2 Big XII)
Friday, December 27, 2002 * 6 p.m. MST/5 p.m. PST
Qualcomm Stadium * San Diego, Calif.
ESPN/Westwood One Radio/Sun Devil Sports Network
After halting a three-game losing skid with a convincing win over intrastate rival Arizona Nov. 27 in the battle for the Territorial Championship Cup, the Arizona State Sun Devils travel to San Diego, Calif., to face No. 6/6 Kansas State (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) in the 25th annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. The match-up between the Pac-10 Conference's third-place team and the Big XII Conference's second-place (North Division) team is slated to unfold Friday, Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium at 5 p.m. PST (6 p.m. MST) and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Arizona State finished the longest season in school history with an 8-5 record, the most wins since the team's 9-3 1997 Sun Bowl campaign. The Sun Devils, who are making their fifth bowl appearance in seven years and their first under second-year head coach Dirk Koetter, also finished third in the Pac-10 standings with a 5-3 record, which was the team's best conference finish since the Sun Devils ended third with a 6-2 league record in 1997.
Sixth-ranked Kansas State brings a 10-2 overall record to San Diego. The Wildcats, who lead the nation in total defense, are riding a five-game winning streak with the team's last victory coming in a 38-0 whitewashing of Missouri on Nov. 23, K-State's third shutout of the season. The Holiday Bowl matchup will mark the fifth time this season that the Sun Devils will face a team ranked in the top 10 nationally and the second time its opponent will enter the contest sporting the No. 6 spot in both national polls. The other time was against Oregon in Eugene when the Sun Devils returned to the Valley of the Sun with a 45-42 defeat of the Ducks.
In the Series
Arizona State and Kansas State will meet for the first time in 13 years and renew a series in which the Sun Devils have dominated with a 5-0 all-time record. The series began in 1964 with Arizona State posting a 21-10 decision and played its last installment in 1989 with the Sun Devils blanking the Wildcats 31-0. All five games have been contested in Tempe with Arizona State defeating Kansas State by an average score of 34-8 while limiting the Wildcats to 14 points or fewer in each game.
ESPN will bring all the action live to a national audience with Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Lee Corso (analyst), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) and Dr. Jerry Punch (sidelines) calling the action. Westwood One Radio, in association with Host Communications, will also broadcast the game to a national radio audience with Tony Roberts (play-by-play) and Fran Curci (color analyst) calling the action.
The Sun Devil Sports Network, which has carried all 13 of ASU's football games this season, will be back in the booth to provide coverage of the game. The Holiday Bowl will be broadcast live on its 14-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 on ASU's official web site at www. TheSunDevils.com.
The Sun Devils' appearance in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl will mark the 20th all-time bowl invitations for the team which holds a 10-8-1 record in postseason play. Arizona State has dropped its last two bowl appearances, both in the Aloha Bowl. The team's .553 postseason winning percentage ranks second in the conference and its 20 bowl appearances is tied for fourth among Pac-10 schools. This season, seven Pac-10 schools have earned bowl berths including USC, Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and UCLA.
ASU in the Holiday Bowl
This year will mark the second appearance in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in school history and its first since the 1985 season. In ASU's first Holiday Bowl appearance, the Sun Devils fell to the Arkansas Razorbacks 18-17 on Dec. 22, 1985. Arkansas scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and won the game when Kendall Trainor drilled a 37-yard field goal by Kendall Trainor with 23 seconds remaining in the game.
For the second time this season, Arizona State will play a game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. This year, Arizona State traveled to San Diego State on Sept. 14 and pulled out a 39-28 victory over the Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. Injured sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter entered the game late in the second quarter and engineered the largest comeback in school history, bringing the Sun Devils out of a 22-0 hole with four touchdown strikes to junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald.
Head coach Dirk Koetter has selected single-game captains each week this season, but in the week prior to the Arizona game, Koetter turned the responsibility over to the Sun Devil players to select the team's captains for the season. The season captains as voted on by the players are sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter, senior safety Alfred Williams and senior linebacker Mason Unck.
A total of 19 Arizona State seniors will be playing in the final game of their Sun Devil careers Dec. 27 in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. ASU's seniors include LB Josh Amobi, PK Mike Barth, LB Solomon Bates, DT James Beal, P Brian Biang, SN Jay Breckenridge, TE Matt Cooper, CB O.J. Hackett, DT Dustin Hollins, DT Phil Howard, DT Khoa Nguyen, K Greg Pieratt, TE Mike Pinkard, WR Justin Taplin, CB Adrian Thomas, FB Darrel Turner, LB Mason Unck, S Alfred Williams and S Patrick Wilson.
T-Sizzles the Most Decorated Player in Arizona State History
Junior defensive end Terrell Suggs' success on the field has translated into numerous accolades off the field for the defensive end from Chandler. As the Arizona State, Pac-10 Conference and NCAA sacks record holder, Suggs garnered All-American honors from the Football Writer's Association of America (FWAA), CBSSportlsline.com and the Sporting News. He also was named the 2002 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team All-Pac-10 honoree for the second consecutive season.
On Monday (Dec. 9), Suggs traveled to Charlotte, N.C., for the Bronko Nagurski Award presentation where he garnered the award, given annually to the top defensive player in the nation. Suggs became Arizona State's first player to earn a national award, beating out linebacker E.J. Henderson of Maryland, cornerback Terence Newman of Kansas State, defensive end David Pollack of Georgia and Shane Walton of Notre Dame for the coveted award.
Suggs added to his historical junior campaign by adding the Rotary Lombardi Award two days later. Presented annually to the top lineman in the country with eligibility limited to down linemen and defenders who line up within five yards of the football, Suggs was the first finalist to represent the Pac-10 since fellow Sun Devil Juan Roque in 1996. The finalists, which incldued linebacker E.J. Henderson of Maryland, defensive tackle Tommie Harris of Oklahoma, and defensive end Cory Redding of Texas, were selected in a vote of more than 400 members of the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee, which is comprised of all Division I head coaches, a selection of sportswriters and broadcasters from around the country, and the 30 living past winners of the award.
That same day, the Pac-10 Conference announced Suggs was selected as the conference's annual Morris Trophy winner. The honor is bestowed upon the top defensive and offensive lineman in the conference, with the members of the opposing lines voting for the winner. Last year, ASU offensive tackle Levi Jones was chosen by the defensive lineman throughout the Pac-10 as the winner.
Suggs is also one of four finalists for the inaugural Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, which will be presented to the best defensive end in college football by the Miami Touchdown Club on Dec. 2 in Tempe at Arizona State's Dutson Theater. The four finalists as selected by a committee of 45 coaches, national media and sports information directors include Suggs, Penn State's Michael Haynes, Miami's Jeremy McDougle and Texas' Cory Redding. Selection criteria for the Hendricks Award includes on-field performance, leadership ability and contribution to the school and community.
McDonald A Finalist for Biletnikoff Award
Junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald has been named one of three finalists for the 2002 Biletnikoff Award, which is annually presented to the top wide receiver in the country by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. The other two finalists include Nevada's Nate Burleson and Michigan State's Charles Rogers. McDonald is the first wide receiver in school history to be named a finalist for the prestigious award.
Print, radio and television media, as well as eminent receivers, coaches and past award winners will select this year's Biletnikoff Award winner. Past winners include Josh Reed, Antonio Bryant, Troy Walters, Troy Edwards, Randy Moss, Marcus Harris, Terry Glenn and Bobby Engram.
The winner will be announced live at the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando on Dec. 12. College and Pro Football Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Fred Biletnikoff will make the presentation at the awards banquet Feb. 12 in Tallahassee.
Two Sun Devils earned All-Pac-10 Conference First Team honors this year and also added a second-teamer to the list. In all, 10 Arizona State players appeared on the list of all-conference honorees, while eight players earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors.
All-Pac-10 Second Team: P Tim Parker
Sun Devils Earn Pac-10 All-Academic Honors
Seven Sun Devils have earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors this season, including junior tailback Mike Williams who was named to the first team for the second straight year. He was one of 10 student-athletes from around the conference to earn first-team honors for a multiple time. Williams was accompanied on the first team by senior linebacker Mason Unck and senior defensive back Alfred Williams. Junior wide receiver Skyler Fulton was named to the second team after being an honorable-mention selection last year, while senior placekicker Mike Barth, redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Christensen and freshman offensive lineman Grayling Love each earned honorable-mention honors this year. For Barth, it was his third straight conference all-academic mention after being an honorable-mention honoree in 1999 and a first-teamer last season. This year, the Pac-10 honored 24 players on each of the first and second teams while also handing out honorable -accolades to another 26 players. To be eligible for selection to the academic teams, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average and be either a starter or significant substitute.
Suggs Sets NCAA, Pac-10 & ASU Sacks Records
With 22.0 sacks so far this season, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs has set the NCAA, Pac-10 Conference and ASU single-season marks. Syracuse's Dwight Freeney previously held the NCAA mark with 17.5 sacks in 2001, while ASU's Al Harris (1978), Arizona's Tedy Bruschi (1993) and USC's Tim Ryan (1989) all shared the previous Pac-10 mark with 19. The NCAA did not record sacks as an official statistic until 2000, while the Pac-10's defensive stats date back to 1984. Next up for Suggs is the unofficial national record of 24.5 sacks achieved by Pittsburgh's Zeke Gadson in 1987. In addition to setting the school single-season mark, Suggs has also set the standard on the ASU career list with 42.0 sacks in his three years in Tempe, surpassing Shante Carver's (1990-93) 41.0, the previous ASU career mark.
The winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award and a finalist for both the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award this season, Suggs continues to lead the nation and the Pac-10 in sacks (22.0) and tackles for loss (29.5) this year. He has tallied at least four sacks in two games this year, including a career-best 4.5 sacks Oct. 19 vs. Washington and four sacks Oct. 5 vs. North Carolina. His 4.5 sacks vs. the Huskies were the most for a Sun Devil since Derrick Rodgers had 4.5 in ASU's Rose Bowl-clinching win over California on Nov. 9, 1996 and earned Suggs the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, an award which is given weekly by the Football Writers Association of America.
With his sack at Washington State on Nov. 2, Suggs also set the school single-season and career marks for tackles for loss. He has 29.5 tackles for loss this season, surpassing the 24.0 that Derrick Rodgers (1996) and Al Harris (1977) each had, and 63.5 tackles for loss in his career, which overtakes the 58 that Bob Kohrs tallied in his four years (1976-79). Suggs' season total also surpassed the Pac-10 single-season mark of 28 held by Stanford's Ron George (1990).
The team leader in each category in each of the last three seasons, Suggs had two TFLs and a sack at Nebraska in ASU's season opener and three sacks in each of ASU's next two games (Eastern Washington, Central Florida). Despite having a quiet game by his standards vs. No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19 with just three tackles, including one for a loss, Suggs' tackle on the Ducks' last play turned out to be one of his biggest of the year. Suggs hit UO quarterback Jason Fife on the pass play that resulted in junior Brett Hudson's interception to secure the ASU victory.
This year, the first-team All-American (FWAA, the Sporting News and CBSSportsline.com), first team All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year led the nation in sacks, was second in tackle for loss and eighth in fumbles forced. 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. He also finished second in total sacks (10-57) and tackles for loss (18-79) in 2001.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter has set the school single-season record with 3,584 passing yards so far this season, passing the previous school record of 2,878 by Danny White in 1973, and is the first player in school history to top the 3,000-yard mark in a season. Despite starting just nine games this season, Walter has also turned in the fifth-best single-season performance in Pac-10 history and stands 602 yards shy of the Pac-10 single-season mark of 4,186 thrown by Washington's Cody Pickett in 12 games this season. He is also just 53 yards shy of second on that list, mark of 3,637 passing yards thrown by Washington State's Ryan Leaf in 1997 (not including bowl game).
With his 536-yard passing performance to upend No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19, Walter set Pac-10 Conference and Arizona State school records for single-game passing yards, surpassing the previous mark of 534 yards by fellow Sun Devil Paul Justin vs. Washington State in 1989. In fact, Sun Devils now hold the top three single-game passing marks in Pac-10 history, including a 532-yard effort by Jeff Van Raaphorst vs. Florida State in 1984, four of the top five records and seven of the top 13 marks in league history. Walter himself has turned in three of the top 11 single-game performances in Pac-10 history. He has also become the first quarterback in Pac-10 history to turn in four 400-yard passing games in a season. No Pac-10 quarterback has ever thrown for more than three in a season and Washington's Pickett and Walter are the only two to ever have four in a career.
The Oct. 20 Sporting News, cnnsi.com and USAToday.com Player of the Week, Walter, who ranks third in the Pac-10 and 14th in the nation in passing efficiency at 142.00, is the first player in school history to notch four 400-yard passing games in a career, let alone a season as he has done this year. Justin and Jeff Van Raaphorst were the only other Sun Devils to have more than one 400-yard game in their careers, each notching two. Earlier this year, Walter also became the first player in school history to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. Walter completed 22 of 37 passes for 414 yards and five touchdowns Sept. 28 vs. Stanford and followed that up with a 27-for-45 effort for 474 yards Oct. 5 vs. North Carolina (fourth on the ASU single-season charts and T9th in Pac-10 history). His 888 yards in two games mark the most passing yards for a Sun Devil quarterback in back-to-back contests, surpassing the previous school mark of 873 yards by Paul Justin in 1989 (534 yards vs. Washington State, 339 vs. Washington).
He has already shattered most of ASU's total offense records, gaining the most yards in school history in consecutive games with 901 yards (422 vs. Stanford and 479 vs. UNC) as well as the most in four consecutive games with 1,594 yards of total offense (422 vs. Stanford, 479 vs. UNC, 185 vs. OSU and 508 at Oregon). He has also tied Danny White (1973) with four games with at least 300 yards this year, has set the ASU single-season total offense list with 3,390 yards (passing the 3,107 yards by Danny White in 1973) and ranks eighth on the Pac-10 single-season list. Walter is averaging 260.8 yards of total offense per game which ranks third in the Pac-10 and 18th in the nation. At his current pace, he will also set the school mark for yards per game currently held by Danny White at 258.9 ypg.
On the season, Walter, who did not earn a starting role until the fifth game of the season vs. Stanford, has completed 246 of 426 attempts for 3,584 yards (fourth in the Pac-10 at 275.7 yards per game) and 26 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
With four TD passes Nov. 9 vs. California, he has climbed to second on ASU's single-season touchdown passes list with 26 and needs just three more to tie the school record of 29 set by Mike Pagel in 1981. Walter has also broken the ASU's single-season marks for attempts and completions, records previously held by Jake Plummer with 348 attempts in 1996 and Todd Hons with 199 completions in 1983.
Walter's five touchdown passes vs. Stanford on Sept. 28 tied for third-best in school history with Jeff Krohn who also threw five TD passes in a loss to Oregon in 2000, while he has also thrown four touchdown passes in three games this year, which ranks fifth on the ASU single-game charts. In nine games as a starter (5-4 record), he has completed 221 of 381 passes for 3,191 yards (354.6 yards per game) and 19 touchdowns.
Racking up the Receiving TDs
One of three finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald has set the school single-season record for receiving yards with 1,291 yards, surpassing the previous mark of 1,144 yards set by Morris Owens in 1973. He already holds the school single-season catches with 76, surpassing the previous mark of 64 by Ron Fair in 1989. He also owns the seventh-best season performance in Pac-10 history and needs just 165 more yards to reach the Pac-10 single-season mark of 1,456 set by Stanford's Troy Walters in 1999 (bowl game not included).
McDonald continues to threaten every single-season and career receiving mark in ASU history in just three seasons of action. He is the first player in school history to notch two 200-yard receiving games in a career, let alone a season, with his two coming this year with 10 catches for 221 yards vs. Stanford on Sept. 28 and 12 catches for 204 yards at No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19.
McDonald, the sixth Sun Devil in school history to reach 2,000 receiving yards, has moved into second place on the ASU career charts with 2,753 receiving yards and needs just 240 more yards to reach College Football Hall of Fame inductee John Jefferson's career mark of 2,993.
McDonald, who reached the 2,000-yard plateau with his first catch of the game vs. North Carolina (13 yards) on Oct. 5, has topped the century mark in receiving yards in five games this year. Last year, he accomplished that feat in four straight games and turned in a total of five 100-yard receiving games, which matched the five that Keith Poole had in 1996 and was just one shy of the six that Ron Fair had in 1989.
With 10 catches for 221 yards Sept. 28 vs. Stanford, McDonald turned in the third-best receiving performance in ASU history, trailing just the 227 yards by Ron Fair in 1989 (19 catches) and the 232 yards by Eric Guliford (12 catches) in 1990. McDonald also set the school record for yards per catch for 10 receptions with a 22.1 yards-per-catch mark vs. the Cardinal, a record previously held by Aaron Cox (191 yards vs. Arizona in 1986).
McDonald has caught a school-record 76 passes for a school-best 1,291 yards and 13 TDs this season. He currently ranks third in the Pac-10 and 14th in the nation with 99.3 receiving yards per game and fourth in the Pac-10 and 24th in the nation with 5.85 receptions per game. At his current pace, he has a chance to surpass the school record he set last year of 100.4 yards per game. He has also become just the first player in school history to tally 1,000 career receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.
McDonald has already surpassed his TD production of one year ago (10 last season) and is currently second on ASU's list for single-season TD catches with 13. McDonald has caught 24 touchdown passes in his ASU career, just one shy of the school record of 25 set by Keith Poole (1993-96) and Doug Allen (1981-84). He is also tied for ninth in the Pac-10 in career touchdown receptions. Stanford's Ken Margerum holds that record with 32 in his four-year career (1977-80).
McDonald opened the 2002 season with a solid performance, catching seven passes for 73 yards at Nebraska. The speedy junior turned in a then season-high eight catches for 175 yards at San Diego State on Sept. 14, since bested by his career-high 10 receptions for 221 yards vs. Stanford. McDonald has caught at least one pass in each of the last 28 games, dating back to the 2000 season. With his four TD catches at San Diego State, McDonald tied the school single-game 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.
A 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection, McDonald finished second on the ASU single-season charts with 1,104 receiving yards last year, just 40 yards shy of the then single-season mark of 1,144 yards set by Morris Owens in 1973. He led the Pac-10 and finished 10th in the nation with an average of 100.4 yards per game. He also shattered ASU 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. McDonald also caught 10 touchdown passes in 2001, which ranked fifth on the ASU single-season list for TD catches.
In the Rankings
Arizona State fell out the national rankings on Nov. 17 after being ranked for the previous three weeks. ASU first broke into the national rankings on Oct. 20 at 23rd and 25th, marking the first time since the 1999 season that ASU had been ranked. In 1999, the Sun Devils were ranked 25th in the first poll of the year and climbed to 22nd the following week before falling out of the polls the following week. The team had climbed as high as 16th and 17th this year before its loss at No. 8/9 Washington State on Nov. 2, which was ASU's highest ranking since the 1997 Sun Bowl team was ranked 14th in the final polls.
Hill Sets ASU Single-Game Kickoff Return Records
With nine kickoff returns for 162 yards Nov. 2 at Washington State, redshirt freshman Hakim Hill set Arizona State single-game records in both categories. Hill's effort passed the previous marks of seven kickoff returns and 159 yards, both set by Kevin Galbreath vs. Houston in 1990. Hill ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in kickoff returns this year (21.9 yards per return), and with 32 kickoff returns for 701 yards on the season, Hill has tied the school single-season mark for kickoff returns with 32 and needs just 12 more yards to tie the single-season yardage mark of 713 yards. Chris Hopkins set both marks in 1995.
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. He had 157 kickoff return yards (five attempts) vs. Central Florida on Sept. 7, which now ranks third on the ASU single-game charts.
Sacking the Quarterback
Arizona State's defense was second in the Pac-10 in sacks this year with 49.0 for a loss of 365 yards. The team had just 28 sacks all of last season, while ASU has also tallied 116 tackles for loss (538 yards) so far this year, including a season-high 17.0 for a loss of 89 yards Oct. 26 vs. Washington, compared to 82 for a loss of 304 yards all of last year. Led by junior Terrell Suggs, who leads the nation in the category, the Sun Devils have turned in 30.0 sacks in the last eight games, including a season-high eight Oct. 26 vs. Washington.
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