No. 16 Sun Devils Face Crucial Road Test At No. 14/18 Iowa This Weekend
Sept. 15, 2003
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Coming off a 26-16 victory over Utah State last weekend, the 16th-ranked Sun Devils hit the road to take on the No. 18/14 Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0) Saturday at 5 p.m. at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. After last weekend's win, the Sun Devils improved to 2-0 for the first time under head coach Dirk Koetter and the first time since opening the 2000 campaign with three wins. Arizona State remained at 16th in this week's polls, which matches the team's highest ranking of last season, as the team travels to Iowa City for the first of two non-conference road tilts (Oct. 18 at North Carolina is the other). Iowa, the 2002 Big Ten Conference co-champion, brings a 3-0 mark into Saturday's game after turning in a 40-21 win at Iowa State last weekend.
In the Series
Arizona State holds a 1-0 record in the series with Iowa winning the only meeting between the two schools with a 17-7 victory on Dec. 31, 1997 in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. ASU tailback Michael Martin was the MVP in that game, turning in 27 carries for 169 yards and one touchdown to lead ASU to the win. Saturday's game is the first in a home-and-home series with the Hawkeyes returning the game on Sept. 18, 2004 in Tempe.
Sun Devils vs. the Big Ten
This week's game at Iowa will mark ASU's first effort against a team from the Big Ten Conference since the Sun Devils downed the Hawkeyes in the 1997 Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils hold a 10-4 record vs. the Big Ten and have won five of their last six contests against teams from that league dating back to a Sept. 13, 1986 victory over Michigan State in that year's season opener at Sun Devil Stadium. Saturday's game at Kinnick Stadium will be the first time that ASU has played in a Big Ten venue since defeating Illinois 21-7 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Sept. 12, 1987. Four Pac-10 Conference teams are in action against Big Ten Conference teams this weekend including No. 16/16 ASU at No. 18/14 Iowa, Arizona at No. 25/NR Purdue, California at Illinois and No. 3/5 Michigan at No. 22/22 Oregon.
ESPN2 will broadcast Saturday's game live to a national cable audience with Dave Barnett (play-by-play), Bill Curry and Craig James calling the action. It will mark the first television appearance of the year for the Sun Devils. The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 11-station network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM in Phoenix. Tim Healey (play-by-play), Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst), Vince Marotta and Paul Calvisi (pregame, halftime and postgame) will bring the action to Sun Devil fans. Calvisi will also provide reports from the ASU sidelines during home games. ASU games can also be heard live on ASU's official web site at www.TheSunDevils.com.
Last Time Out
Led by defensive linemen Jimmy Verdon and Brian Montesanto who combined for five sacks, Arizona State turned in a 26-16 victory over the Utah State Aggies (0-3) last Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium to improve to 2-0 on the year. Junior quarterback Andrew Walter started things early, throwing two passes to senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton on the first drive of the game, the first for 21 yards followed two plays later by a 44-yard touchdown pass to give the Sun Devils an early lead. Walter found Fulton again on the next drive for 23 yards to help set up redshirt freshman tailback Randy Hill's one-yard TD run and put ASU up 13-0. Three fumbles by the Sun Devil offense slowed the team in the first half, but the defense helped hold the game in check. The Sun Devils held the Aggies' offense to their half of the field for the first 21:01 of the game, forcing six straight Utah State punts from their own territory. The Aggies crossed the 50-yard line midway through the second and put their first points on the board with a six-yard rush from senior tailback Chris Cooley. One drive later, with the lead trimmed to six and the ball back in Utah State hands, ASU junior safety Riccardo Stewart picked off a pass on the 18-yard line and took it in for the score, sending ASU to the locker room with a 19-7 halftime lead. Stewart led the defense with 10 tackles and one sack in the game, including his first career interception return for touchdown. ASU looked to put Utah State away after an interception by senior safety Brett Hudson deep in Utah State territory. However, the Sun Devil offense failed to convert on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line, surrendering the ball to Utah State, which cut the lead to 19-10 with a 36-yard field goal by kicker Ben Chaet. Sophomore tailback Hakim Hill entered the game in the waning minutes of the third quarter and led the Sun Devil offense 75 yards down field for a touchdown on a 15-yard Walter pass to Fulton. Utah State countered with a 75-yard drive, capped by a 15-yard Cox pass to senior tailback David Fiefia, making the score 26-16. The Aggies would not give up as they made a final drive of the game. They found the end zone but had the play, which included a 10-yard pass completion and a fumble, called back on a holding penalty, allowing ASU to stall the drive and seal the victory. Walter completed 20 of 37 attempts for 277 yards and two touchdowns. Fulton turned in a career outing, catching seven passes for 172 yards and two TDs. The Sun Devil defense held Utah State to 89 total yards in the first half. Stewart led the team with 10 tackles, while Verdon turned in a career-best nine tackles and three sacks for a loss of 18 yards. Montesanto finished the game with two sacks for a loss of 22 yards.
In the Rankings
The Sun Devils stayed at 16th in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls. The team's No. 16 ranking in each poll matches the highest rank of last season when the Sun Devils climbed to 16th in the Oct. 27 AP poll before falling out two weeks later. It is also the highest national ranking for the Sun Devils since the 1997 Sun Bowl Championship squad finished at 14th in each of the final national polls. ASU was ranked 22nd in this year's preseason AP poll and 23rd in the preseason coaches poll, marking the first time that the team has been ranked in the preseason since 1999 (25th-AP). Iowa climbed five spots in each of this week's polls after last week's 40-21 victory over Iowa State and is ranked 18th by the AP and 14th by the USA Today voters.
Sophomore tailback Hakim Hill is a native of Iowa City, Iowa. Hill was a high school All-American at City High School. His brother, Kahlil, played for the Hawkeyes from 1998-2001 and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. Hill had 12 carries for 57 yards last week vs. Utah State.
Getting to the Quarterback
Junior defensive end Jimmy Verdon led the team with a career-high three sacks for a loss of 18 yards last week against Utah State. Verdon and the Sun Devils sacked Utah State quarterback Travis Cox a total of seven times last week and rank third in the Pac-10 with 10 sacks through the first two games of the season. That is one more than the nine sacks the 2002 team, led by NCAA record-holder Terrell Suggs, amassed in the first two games of last season (4.0 vs. Nebraska, 5.0 vs. Eastern Washington). The team's seven sacks vs. Utah State are also the most since the 2002 team had eight sacks (led by Suggs' four) in a Oct. 26 win over Washington. Last year, the Sun Devils finished second in the Pac-10 with a total of 51.0 sacks. Conversely, the Arizona State offensive line leads the Pac-10 in sacks allowed, giving up just one sack of quarterback Andrew Walter in the first quarter of the Northern Arizona game.
Arizona State's defense grabbed three interceptions last week against Utah State, including an interception return for touchdown by junior safety Riccardo Stewart. Senior safety Brett Hudson also snagged his first interception of the year and the fifth of his ASU career, while senior defensive tackle Shane Jones had his first career pick. Stewart's touchdown marked the second straight game that ASU has had a player return an interception for TD after junior cornerback R.J. Oliver tied the ASU mark with a 100-yard interception return for TD in ASU's season-opener vs. Northern Arizona. Oliver became the 10th player in Pac-10 history to return an interception 100 yards for touchdown (ASU junior Emmanuel Franklin had a 100-yard interception return in the 2001 season-opener against San Diego State). That marked the team-leading seventh career interception for Oliver, who led the Pac-10 in passes defended last year and is on the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.
More on the Defense
The interception returns for touchdown by R.J. Oliver and Riccardo Stewart in ASU's first two games mark the first TDs by the ASU defense in back-to-back games since the 1995 season when Scott Van der Ahe had a 31-yard interception return for TD vs. BYU and Mike Langridge had a 32-yard fumble return for TD the following week vs. Oregon. The two interception returns for TD also match the two the Sun Devils had all of last year. Last season, graduated senior Josh Amobi and current senior Connor Banks both returned interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter of a 46-13 win over Central Florida on Sept. 7. Stewart has led the team in tackles in each of the first two games this season, marking the fifth and sixth times in his career that he has paced the Sun Devils in tackles. He had 10 tackles (8 solo) last week vs. Utah State, while the junior safety matched his career-best with 11 tackles (8 solo) in the season-opening win vs. Northern Arizona. His eight solo tackles in both games bested his previous career high of six in 2001 vs. Stanford. Stewart is tied for third in the Pac-10 with 10.5 tackles per game this year.
Fulton's Career Day
Senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton had a career day in last week's win over Utah State, catching eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns (all career highs). Of his career-high eight catches vs. the Aggies, seven were for 15 or more yards and five resulted in a first down. Fulton ranks third in the Pac-10 and tied for 25th in the nation with 112.0 receiving yards per game (13 catches for 224 yards and two TDs), while he is fourth in the league and tied for 10th in the country with 6.5 receptions per game. Fulton is averaging 17.2 yards per catch, while six of his 13 catches this season have resulted in a first down.
Spreading the Wealth
The Sun Devils have completed passes to 12 different receivers this season, including eight in ASU's season-opening victory over NAU and seven last week vs. Utah State. Junior quarterback Andrew Walter completed four touchdown passes to three different Sun Devils vs. Northern Arizona. Sophomore Moey Mutz, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship this spring, led the Sun Devil receivers with three catches for 75 yards and two TDs vs. NAU, while senior Skyler Fulton led the team with eight catches for 172 yards and a pair of TDs vs. Utah State.
Scoring Through the Air
Junior quarterback Andrew Walter threw four touchdown passes Sept. 6 against Northern Arizona, marking the fifth time in his career that he has had at least four TD passes in a game. Walter added a pair more in last week's win over Utah State and has 37 in his career, while ties him for 40th with USC's Paul McDonald (1976-79) and Oregon's Dan Fouts (1970-72) on the Pac-10's career touchdown passes list. Walter also needs seven more TD passes to move into ASU's career top six in the category.His career high in a single game is five in last year's 65-24 victory over Stanford.
O vs. D
Saturday's game will pit the Iowa's nationally-ranked rushing offense and ASU's nationally-ranked rushing defense. Led by Fred Russell who is 10th in the nation at 113.3 yards per game, the Hawkeyes are ranked 14th in the country in rushing offense, while the Sun Devils are ranked 11th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 61.0 yards per game.
A total of 20 Sun Devils have seen the first action of their Arizona State careers in the first two games including seven true freshmen, nine redshirt freshmen and four juniors. Eighteen of those Sun Devils played in the season opener vs. Northern Arizona, while true freshmen DE Kyle Caldwell and LB DeAndre Johnson saw the first action of their careers last week vs. Utah State. Seven true freshmen have played this year including Caldwell, Johnson, quarterback Sam Keller, kicker Jesse Ainsworth, safeties Josh Barrett and Daniel Varvel and linebacker Mark Washington. ASU's current roster now features 17 players who saw action as true freshmen: Mike Davis Jr., Matt Fawley, Derek Hagan, Nick Johnson, Ali Likio, Mike Talbot, Chaz White and Jamar Williams in 2002; Lamar Baker, Barton Hammit, Daryl Lightfoot and Jason Shivers in 2001; and Mike Karney, Mike Williams and Skyler Fulton in 2000.
Putting the Special in Special Teams
Senior punter Tim Parker ranks fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-10 this season, averaging 46.9 yards per punt with five of his 12 punts downed inside the 20 ... Parker handled both the punting and placekicking duties vs. NAU and Utah State, becoming the first Sun Devil to handle both duties since Stephen Baker was the placekicker and backup punter in 1998 and 1999 ... true freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth replaced Parker as the placekicker on ASU's last extra-point attempt in the Utah State game ... sophomore Josh Golden leads the Pac-10 and ranks 12th in the nation in punt returns, averaging 17.0 yards per return ... he had four punt returns for 78 yards in ASU's season-opener vs. NAU which was the most for a Sun Devil since Justin Taplin had four punt returns for 84 yards vs. Oregon State in 2001 ... Golden's 42-yarder in the second quarter of that game was also the longest since Taplin had a 62-yard punt return in that 2001 game ... as a team, Arizona State leads the Pac-10 in punt returns (15.3 yards per return, ranks second in net punting (42.1 ypp) and is third in the league and 19th in nation in kickoff returns (26.5 ypr).
Good to Have Him Back
Junior cornerback Emmanuel Franklin made his first start of the year last week vs. Utah State and his first since starting six games as a redshirt freshman in 2001. He made his first appearance on the field for the Sun Devils in over a year Sept. 6 against Northern Arizona after missing the 2002 season following brain surgery. Franklin suffered a subdural hematoma following a concussion during 2002 spring workouts and missed the 2002 season after undergoing surgery to relieve the bleeding on his brain.
Arizona State will open Pac-10 Conference play next week, traveling to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Sept. 27. That game at OSU's Reser Stadium will mark the fourth time in the last five years that ASU has opened Pac-10 play on the road. Last year, the Sun Devils earned a 65-24 win over Stanford on Sept. 28 at Sun Devil Stadium to open league action, a game which set a school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game. That win over the Cardinal snapped a four-game losing streak in Pac-10 openers for ASU, while this year at Oregon State, the Sun Devils will be looking to win back-to-back Pac-10 openers for the first time since starting the 1996 and 1997 league seasons with wins over Washington and Oregon State, respectively.
Career and Game-by-Game Statistics | Walter Website
Junior quarterback Andrew Walter has turned in solid efforts in each of the first two games of the 2003 season. Last week against Utah State, he was 20-of-37 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (his first of the year in 61 attempts), while in ASU's season-opening victory against Northern Arizona, he completed 15-of-24 passes for 224 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Walter threw four TD passes to three different receivers vs. NAU, marking the fifth time in his career that the national awards candidate has had at least four scoring strikes in a game.
This season, Walter ranks 20th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency at 155.50. He is also fourth in the league in passing yards per game (250.5) and total offense (248.5). With the win over Utah State, Walter improved to 7-7 as ASU's starter and now has completed 347 passes for 4,924 yards and 37 touchdowns in his career. Walter needs just 272 yards to move into the ASU career top six for passing yards and seven more passing TDs to do the same in that category.
Last year, Walter turned in one of the finest seasons in school history, setting almost every school record for passing yards and total offense. Walter shattered the school record for passing yards in a single season, throwing for 3,877 yards to become the first passer in school history to top 3,000 yards and surpass the previous school record of 2,878 by Danny White in 1973. Despite not earning his first start until the fifth game of the year, Walter, who finished third in the Pac-10 and 19th in the nation in passing efficiency at 137.10, turned in the fourth-best single-season performance in Pac-10 history and became the first quarterback in Pac-10 history to turn in four 400-yard passing games in a season. No Pac-10 quarterback had ever thrown for more than three in a season and Washington's Cody Pickett and Walter are the only two to ever have four in a career. Walter completed 274 of 483 pass attempts, breaking 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 - while Walter's 28 touchdown passes marked the second-best effort in school history behind Mike Pagel who threw 29 TD passes in 1981.
With a 536-yard passing performance to upend No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19, Walter set Pac-10 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. He was named the Oct. 20 Sporting News, cnnsi.com and USA Today.com National Player of the Week in addition to earning his first career Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honor.
Walter also shattered the majority of ASU's total offense records, setting the marks for total yards (3,661 yards) and yards per game (261.5 ypg). He also tied Danny White (1973) with four games with at least 300 yards of total offense and turned in the sixth-best season in Pac-10 history. He finished third in the league and 18th in the nation in total offense.
ASU Single-Game Touchdown Passes1. 7 Mike Pagel, vs. Stanford, 19812. 6 Danny White, vs. New Mexico, 19713. 5 Andrew Walter, vs. Stanford, 2002 5 Jeff Krohn, vs. Oregon, 20005. 4 23 times (four times by Walter, last vs. NAU, 2003)
ASU Single-Game Passing Yards1. 536 Andrew Walter at Oregon, 2002 (** Pac-10 record)2. 534 Paul Justin vs. Washington State, 19893. 532 Jeff Van Raaphorst vs. Florida State,19844. 511 Ryan Kealy vs. Arizona, 19985. 477 Andrew Walter vs. California, 20026. 474 Andrew Walter vs. North Carolina, 2002 474 Paul Justin vs. Houston, 1990
ASU Single-Season Passing Yards1. 3,877 Andrew Walter, 20022. 2,878 Danny White, 19733. 2,776 Jake Plummer, 19964. 2,591 Paul Justin, 19895. 2,484 Mike Pagel, 19816. 2,394 Todd Hons, 1983
Pac-10 Single-Season Passing Yards1. 4,458 C. Pickett, UW, 20022. 3,968 R. Leaf, WSU, 19973. 3,942 C. Palmer, USC, 20024. 3,877 A. Walter, ASU, 20025. 3,812 P. Barnes, 1996
ASU Career Passing Yards1. 8,827 Jake Plummer, 1993-962. 6,912 Ryan Kealy, 1997-003. 6,717 Danny White, 1971-734. 6,610 J. Van Raaphorst, 1984-865. 5,761 Paul Justin, 1987-906. 5,196 Mike Pagel, 1978-81 4,924 Andrew Walter, 2001-pres.
ASU Single-Season TD Passes1. 29 Mike Pagel, 19812. 28 Andrew Walter, 20023. 24 Jake Plummer, 1996 24 Danny White, 19735. 23 Danny White, 19726. 20 John Torok, 19647. 19 Three players tied
ASU Single-Season Attempts1. 483 Andrew Walter, 20022. 348 Jake Plummer, 19963. 337 Jeff Van Raaphorst, 19854. 336 Todd Hons, 19825. 334 Mike Pagel, 19806. 324 Todd Hons, 1983
ASU Single-Season Completions1. 274 Andrew Walter, 20022. 199 Todd Hons, 19833. 198 Jake Plummer, 19964. 188 Jeff Van Raaphorst, 19855. 185 Todd Hons, 19826. 184 Mike Pagel, 1980
ASU Single-Season Total Offense1. 3,661 Andrew Walter, 20022. 3,107 Danny White, 19733. 2,834 Jake Plummer, 19964. 2,511 Mike Pagel, 19815. 2,460 Paul Justin, 19896. 2,443 Danny White, 1972
Pac-10 Single-Season Total Offense1. 4,273 Cody Pickett, UW, 20022. 3,947 Akili Smith, Oregon, 19983. 3,920 Ryan Leaf, WSU, 19974. 3,820 Carson Palmer, USC, 20025. 3,728 Pat Barnes, Cal, 19966. 3,661 Andrew Walter, 2002
Walter on Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp Preseason Watch Lists
Junior quarterback Andrew Walter has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. The Davey O'Brien Award is given annually to the nation's top collegiate quarterback. The watch list is comprised of 42 Division-I quarterbacks and will be narrowed down to the semifinalists in early November. Three finalists will be chosen later in November, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 11 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando. Walter is one of 42 players on the watch list for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, which is presented by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. The watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in early November. The 2003 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 117 Division I-A head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on the ESPN/Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December. The winner will receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Feb. 14, 2004 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven, Conn. Walter has also been named a second-team All-Pac-10 selection by both Athlon Sports and The Sporting News and is listed as the eighth-best quarterback in the nation by The Sporting News.
Oliver, Shivers on Watch List for Jim Thorpe Award
Juniors R.J. Oliver and Jason Shivers are on the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Oliver is coming off a season that saw him lead the Pac-10 in passes defended with 22 (4 interceptions, 18 PBU's) on his way to earning honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors. Shivers has led the Sun Devils in tackles both of his seasons in Tempe. A 2002 honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honoree, Shivers tallied 121 tackles in 2002, which tied for the most in the Pac-10. The Thorpe Award watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists on Nov. 3 and then to three finalists on Nov. 24. The winner will be announced Dec. 11 at ESPN's College Football Awards Show. The official presentation of the award will be in Oklahoma City on Feb. 9.
Parker on Watch List for Ray Guy Award
Senior punter Tim Parker is one of 32 players on the preseason watch list for the 2003 Ray Guy Award which is annually presented to the top collegiate punter by the Greater Augusta Sports Council. Parker returns for his senior year after leading the Pac-10 Conference in punting and earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors last season. He averaged 42.7 yards per punt to pace the league and rank 16th in the nation. He turned in 3,372 punting yards which puts him second all time at ASU for punting yards in a season. This year, Parker is listed as the eighth-best punter in the country by The Sporting News and was picked as a third-team preseason All-American by Street & Smith's. The Ray Guy Award watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in early November. The national voting body will then vote for the three finalists who will be announced in late November. The winner will be announced on Dec. 11 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando.
Sun Devils Picked Second in Pac-10 Media Poll
Arizona State was picked to finish second in the Pac-10, just three points behind first-place USC, in the league's preseason poll of West Coast media members. The Trojans garnered 10 of 25 first-place votes, with the Sun Devils getting nine. It marks the highest preseason pick for the Sun Devils since 1998 when the team picked to finish second behind UCLA.
Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)1. USC (10) 2272. Arizona State (9) 2243. Washington (4) 1984. Oregon State (2) 1725. Oregon 1396. UCLA 1387. Washington State 1078. California 689. Stanford 5710. Arizona 46
Lighting Up the Scoreboard
In his two-plus seasons at the helm, head coach Dirk Koetter's offense has turned in an average of 32.8 points per game. Last year, the Sun Devils averaged 32.3 points per game, which ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation. ASU's 45 points in its 45-42 upset at sixth-ranked Oregon on Oct. 19 were the most points in a Pac-10 road game for the team since defeating Arizona 56-14 in Tucson on Nov. 23, 1996, ASU's last regular-season game in that Rose Bowl campaign. The team set a school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game Sept. 28 with its 65-24 win over Stanford, besting the previous mark of 62 points, which also came against Stanford in a 1981 game (62-36 win). The 65 points ASU scored vs. the Cardinal were the most since the team tallied 66 against UTEP on Oct. 22, 1977. It also marked the fifth time that a Dirk Koetter-coached team has topped the 60-point mark (twice at ASU). In 2001, the Sun Devils averaged 34.0 points per game, which tied for third in the Pac-10 with conference champion Oregon and 19th in the nation. The total marked the most for the team since 1996 when the Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl-bound Sun Devils averaged 40.7 points per contest.
The Sun Devils forced a Pac-10 Conference-leading 40 turnovers last season, including 22 interceptions and 18 forced fumbles. In 2001, the team forced just 18 turnovers all season. Last year, the Sun Devils had a season-high seven turnovers Sept. 28 vs. Stanford (four interceptions, three fumbles) and four Oct. 12 vs. Oregon State (three interceptions, one fumble).
Thirteen Sun Devils combined for ASU's Pac-10-leading 22 interceptions last year led by R.J. Oliver and Brett Hudson who each picked off four passes to finish tied for sixth in the Pac-10. Oliver also paced the Pac-10 with a total of 22 passes defended. Their four interceptions mark the most for a Sun Devil since Nijrell Eason had five in 2000, while the team's 22 picks were the most for an ASU squad since the 1991 Sun Devils had nine players pick off 23 passes. The Sun Devils snagged four interceptions in the team's Sept. 28 win over Stanford, the most in a single game since ASU had five in a 1998 win over California.
NFL Draft Note
With defensive tackle Terrell Suggs being taken by the Baltimore Ravens as the 10th pick of the 2003 NFL Draft, it marked the fourth straight season and 21st time overall that a Sun Devil has been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. In fact, Arizona State is just one of three schools in the country to have a player taken in the first round in each of the last four NFL Drafts (Miami and Florida are the other two).
... The Sun Devils improved to 2-0 on the year with last week's win over Utah State despite missing four starters with a combined 82 starts (TB Mike Williams-15 starts, FB Mike Karney-19, CB R.J. Oliver-24 and FS Jason Shivers-24).
... Five Pac-10 teams are ranked in this week's polls led by No. 4/3 USC and No. 16/16 ASU. Arizona State will play three of its next four games against ranked opponents.
... Arizona State scored a touchdown 1:07 into the Utah State game, marking just the sixth time in the last 16 games that ASU has scored first.
... The Sun Devils are averaging 6.2 yards per play this year (4.4 yards per rush and 14.2 yards per pass). Last year, the team averaged 5.3 yards per play (2.5 ypr, 7.6 ypp).
... ASU had a bye on Aug. 31, meaning that the Sun Devils will play on 11 straight Saturdays starting Sept. 6 against NAU. The team will not enjoy another bye until Nov. 22, the week before the team hosts instate rival Arizona on Nov. 28.
... The Sun Devils have a 219-76-3 all-time winning record (.740) at Sun Devil Stadium.
... Sports Illustrated labeled ASU's Dirk Koetter as the most organized coach in college football - 'The Organization Man' - in its college football preview edition.
... SI also listed junior quarterback Andrew Walter fourth on their Heisman Watch list in that issue.
... Walter was a counselor at this year's Elite 11 quarterbacks camp.
... Koetter is also tied for fifth on Kirk Herbstreit's list of 'offensive geniuses' in his third annual Herbie Awards column in espn.com.
... Senior defensive tackle Brian Montesanto has made 30 career starts (including the last 26 games), the most of any player on ASU's roster.
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