Sun Devil Football Opens 2004 Campaign Thursday Against UTEP
Aug. 27, 2004
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Arizona State kicks off the 92nd season of Sun Devil football Thursday, Sept. 2 as the Sun Devils play host to the University of Texas-El Paso Miners at 7 p.m. at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. Thursday is City of Tempe Night with city employees being recognized and receiving discounted tickets. With 47 returning letterwinners and 14 returning starters, fourth-year head coach Dirk Koetter's Sun Devils have been picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 by the league's media. Arizona State looks to win its second consecutive season opener and the team's fifth in six years. Following the season opener with the Miners, the Sun Devils head to Evanston, Ill., on Sept. 11 to take on the first of two Big Ten Conference opponents, Northwestern. Following the matchup with the NU Wildcats, ASU returns to Sun Devil Stadium to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sept. 18 and opens the Pac-10 Conference slate the following weekend by playing host to the Oregon State Beavers, a team picked to finish fourth in the league.Exposure
FSN Arizona will televise the UTEP game regionally with Tom Dillon and former Sun Devil quarterback and College Football Hall of Famer Danny White calling the action.The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 11 of ASU's football games live on its 12-station radio network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM in Phoenix. Tim Healey (play-by-play), former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) 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 the Sun Devils' official web site at www.TheSunDevils.com.Season Openers
Arizona State holds a 62-27-2 all-time record (.692) in season openers and a 42-15-1 record (.733) when opening the season at home. The Sun Devils have won four of their last five season openers and 14 of their last 18, including a 34-14 victory over Northern Arizona on Sept. 6 of last year. ASU has won its last three and seven of its last eight games when opening the season at home.The game with the Miners also marks ASU's first Thursday night contest since the team opened the 2000 season with a 10-7 win at San Diego State on Aug. 31, 2000. The last home game on a Thursday came during the 1998 season when the Sun Devils slipped past the Stanford Cardinal with a 44-38 overtime win on Oct. 22, 1998.In the Series
Arizona State holds a 32-13-3 record in the all-time series with UTEP, including a 20-5 record at home. This year's game marks the first meeting between the two schools since 1995. The Sun Devils have won the last seven games in the series and 24 of the last 25 contests. ASU turned in a 45-20 victory in Tempe on Sept. 9, 1995 in the last meeting between the two schools and holds a 61-27-3 all-time record against teams from the Western Athletic Conference.The series with UTEP dates back to 1925 when the Miners took a 27-12 victory in El Paso in the first meeting. The two schools met almost every year from 1925 to 1978 when ASU and UTEP (formerly Texas Western) were both members of the Border Conference and the WAC.UTEP Connections
Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter was an assistant coach at the University of Texas-El Paso from 1986-88. He was the quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator in 1986 and the offensive coordinator and QB coach from 1987-88. While in El Paso, Koetter helped the Miners to the 1988 Independence Bowl. First-year UTEP head coach Mike Price is also more than a little familiar with ASU after coaching at Washington State from 1989-2002. Price was 6-6 against ASU in his career as the Cougar mentor.Who's Back
The Sun Devils return 47 letterwinners, including 14 starters and two specialists this season. The seven offensive starters slated to return are QB Andrew Walter, WR Derek Hagan, OL Andrew Carnahan, OL Drew Hodgdon, OL Grayling Love, TE Lee Burghgraef and TB Loren Wade. On defense, the seven returning starters include DE Jimmy Verdon, DE Ishmael Thrower, LB Jamar Williams, LB Justin Burks, CB R.J. Oliver, S Riccardo Stewart and CB Chris McKenzie. Placekicker Jesse Ainsworth and snapper Jason Burke also return for the Sun Devils this season.Walter on Three Preseason Watch Lists
Senior quarterback Andrew Walter has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award, the Walter Camp Football Foundation's Player of the Year Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm 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. 9 at the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Orlando. The winner will be honored at the 28th Annual O'Brien Awards Dinner in February 2005, at the Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.Walter is one of 40 'players to watch' for the Walter Camp Award, the nation's fourth-oldest individual college football accolade. That watch list will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists in early November. The 2004 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 then receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Feb. 13, 2005 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.Walter is also one of the 22 senior quarterbacks who have been selected as candidates for the the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation's top senior collegiate quarterback by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. A committee of football experts from across the country will choose five finalists plus any ties and announce the list on Oct. 20. The 2004 recipient will be announced Dec. 1, with the award presentation to be made in Louisville on Dec. 10 at the Clarion Conference Center.On the verge of breaking just about every ASU career passing record, Walter has been named a preseason third-team All-Pac-10 selection by Athlon Sports and is listed as the eighth- and ninth-best quarterback in the nation by Athlon and the Sporting News, respectively.
ASU Career TD Passes1. 65 Jake Plummer, 1993-962. 64 Danny White, 1971-733. 55 Andrew Walter, 2001-pres.4. 48 Mike Pagel, 1978-815. 46 Dennis Sproul, 1974-77 46 Ryan Kealy, 1997-00ASU Career Passing Yards1. 8,827 Jake Plummer, 1993-962. 7,467 Andrew Walter, 2001-pres.3. 6,912 Ryan Kealy, 1997-004. 6,717 Danny White, 1971-735. 6,610 J. Van Raaphorst, 1984-86ASU Career Attempts1. 1142 Jake Plummer, 1993-962. 990 Andrew Walter, 2001-pres.3. 868 Jeff Van Raaphorst, 1984-864. 859 Ryan Kealy, 1997-005. 849 Dennis Sproul, 1974-77ASU Career Completions1. 632 Jake Plummer, 1993-962. 533 Andrew Walter, 2001-pres.3. 503 Jeff Van Raaphorst, 1984-864. 477 Ryan Kealy, 1997-005. 418 Paul Justin, 1987-90ASU Single-Season Passing Yards1. 3,877 Andrew Walter, 20022. 3,044 Andrew Walter, 20033. 2,878 Danny White, 19734. 2,776 Jake Plummer, 19965. 2,591 Paul Justin, 1989
Through the Air
Senior Andrew Walter threw 24 touchdown passes in 2003, which tied for third on the Arizona State single-season charts. With 55 career TD passes, Walter has moved into third place on ASU's career list and needs just 10 more scoring strikes to tie current Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer (1993-96) who holds the school record with 65 touchdowns in his illustrious career. Walter is also tied for 13th on the Pac-10's career touchdown passes list. He has turned in 16 multiple touchdown games in his career, including seven in 2003. An honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honoree, he threw a season-high four touchdown passes twice last season, including four in the team's season-opening win over Northern Arizona and four at Stanford in November. He has had six career games with at least four TD passes, while his career high is five TDs in the team's 65-24 win over Stanford in 2002.Heading into his senior year, Walter is on pace to set nearly every Arizona State career passing record. He holds the top two marks on the Sun Devil single-season passing charts (3,877 yards in 2002 and 3,044 yards in 2003) and is just 1,260 passing yards short of the ASU career passing mark held by Plummer (8,827 yards, 1993-96). Walter also ranks second for both career completions and attempts and should set those marks this year as well.Hagan's Hijinks
Junior wide receiver Derek Hagan has been named a preseason third-team All-American by Athlon in its preseason college football edition. Hagan, who is also listed as a first-team All-Pac-10 selection by the magazine and the 15th-best wide receiver in the nation by Lindy's, led the team in receiving last year with 66 catches for 1,076 yards and nine touchdowns. In addition to leading the team, his 1,076-yard performance ranked fifth on the ASU single-season charts and made him just the seventh Sun Devil in school history to tally 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Hagan finished fifth in the Pac-10 and 19th in the country in 2003 with 89.7 receiving yards per game. With 66 catches, he also ranked second in the ASU record books for receptions in a single season.Hagan turned in six 100-yard receiving games in 2003 to lead the squad, including a career outing to lead the Sun Devils past North Carolina on Oct. 18. In that game, he hauled in 11 passes for 185 yards (both career bests) and a touchdown. In addition to being a career high, his 11 catches tied with three other Sun Devils for the fourth-best single-game mark in school history.
ASU Season Receiving Yards1. 1,405 Shaun McDonald (87), 20022. 1,144 Morris Owens (52), 19733. 1,104 Shaun McDonald (47), 20014. 1,082 Ron Fair (64), 19895. 1,076 Derek Hagan (66), 20036. 1,036 Keith Poole (55), 19957. 1,009 J.D. Hill (61), 19708. 974 Greg Hudson (62), 1973ASU Season Receptions1. 87 S. McDonald (1405 yds.), 20022. 66 Derek Hagan (1076 yds.),20033. 64 Ron Fair (1082 yds.), 19894. 62 Skyler Fulton (901 yds.), 2003 62 Greg Hudson (974 yds.), 1973Hagan's 100-Yard Games185 at North Carolina (11 rec.), 10/18/03170 vs. USC (8 rec.), 10/4/03155 at Arizona (8 rec.), 11/28/03138 at Stanford (4 rec.), 11/8/03109 at Washington St. (7 rec.), 11/15/03108 vs. Oregon (7 rec.), 10/12/03
ASU Picked Sixth in Preseason Pac-10 Poll
Arizona State has been picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 in the league's preseason poll of West Coast media members. Defending league and Associated Press national champion USC was picked to finish first, garnering all 24 first-place votes.ASU proved to be something of a challenge for the media members. The Sun Devils were sixth but were just seven points out of fourth place, while media members picked the team anywhere from third to ninth.
Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)1. USC (24) 2402. California 2103. Oregon 1924. Oregon State 1385. Washington State 1336. Arizona State 1317. Washington 1008. UCLA 989. Stanford 4010. Arizona 38
A 2003 second-team All-Pac-10 honoree, senior safety Riccardo Stewart returns as one of the top safeties in the Pac-10. Stewart was a team co-captain last year and has won the Sun Devil Valor Award in each of the last two seasons, an honor given to a great team player who consistently displays courage on and off the field.Stewart has been named a preseason honorable-mention All-American by Street & Smith's and is listed as the 20th-best safety in the country in the preseason by Lindy's. A four-year starter, Stewart is one of the most experienced Sun Devils with 32 career games and 22 starts to his credit. Last year, he ranked second on the team and seventh in the Pac-10 with 7.6 tackles per game (84 stops) and paced the Sun Devils with three interceptions.All-Conference Selections
Nine Sun Devils earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors last season, including second-teamers Regis Crawford, Grayling Love, Riccardo Stewart and Jason Shivers. Five Sun Devils earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors, including Skyler Fulton who was named to the all-academic first team. Fulton was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Team, while Grayling Love earned second-team all-district honors.
All-Pac-10 Second Team: OL Regis Crawford, OL Grayling Love, S Riccardo Stewart, specialist Jason ShiversAll-Pac-10 Honorable Mention: WR Skyler Fulton, WR Derek Hagan, FB Mike Karney, P Tim Parker, QB Andrew WalterPac-10 All-Academic First Team: WR Skyler FultonPac-10 All-Academic Second Team: QB Chad Christensen, SN Jason BurkePac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention: OT Andrew Carnahan, OT Grayling Love
Wade on the Run
With a team-leading 773 rushing yards last season, Loren Wade broke ASU's 48-year-old freshman rushing record, passing Leon Burton's 1955 mark of 694 yards. Wade led the Sun Devils in rushing with 136 carries for 773 yards and five touchdowns in 2003, marking the second consecutive year that a redshirt freshman paced the team in the category (Cornell Canidate in 2002). Wade finished fifth in the Pac-10 at 70.3 yards per game. He turned in four 100-yard rushing games in 2003, including a stretch of three straight (at North Carolina, at UCLA and vs. California) to become the first Sun Devil to accomplish the feat since Delvon Flowers in 2001. Wade's career and season highs in 2003 included 130 yards at North Carolina and 22 carries vs. California. He scored one rushing touchdown in five games last year. Wade's average of 5.7 yards per carry tied for first among the Pac-10's rushing leaders and was the most for the Sun Devils' leading rusher since J.R. Redmond averaged 5.9 yards per carry in 1997.Osborne Receives Special Teams Honor
ASU assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Tom Osborne was honored as the 2003 American Football Monthly Magazine's Division I-A Special Teams Coordinator of the Year. AFM, the magazine published for professional and collegiate football coaches, measured several aspects of the game to arrive at the honor. While statistics were a main element to the award, there were also many other factors involved in the selection of Osborne such as player/coach relationship and improvement from the previous year.Under Osborne, ASU has had a punter earn All-Pac-10 honors in each of the last three seasons. In 2002, punter Tim Parker led the league, while he ranked in the nation top 20 in each of the last two years. He has also had a placekicker ranked in the nation's top 10 during his tenure. ASU ranked third in the Pac-10 in kickoff coverage in 2002 and 2003.Youth Movement
A total of 20 Sun Devils saw the first action of their Arizona State careers in the Sun Devils' first two games of 2003, including seven true freshmen, nine redshirt freshmen and four juniors. Seven true freshmen saw action in 2003, including defensive end Kyle Caldwell, linebacker DeAndre Johnson, quarterback Sam Keller, placekicker Jesse Ainsworth, safeties Josh Barrett and Daniel Varvel and linebacker Mark Washington. ASU had three players named to the Sporting News Pac-10 All-Freshman squad in 2003, including left tackle Andrew Carnahan and tailback Loren Wade and defensive end Kyle Caldwell.Lighting Up the Scoreboard
Arizona State has averaged 30.6 points per game in Dirk Koetter's three years at the helm, including 24.5 points per game last year, 32.3 ppg in 2002 and 34.0 ppg in 2001. Last season, the Sun Devils scored a season-high 59 points in a 59-14 win over Oregon on Oct. 11. That effort marked the most points for the team since ASU set its school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game with its 65-24 win over Stanford on Sept. 28, 2002. Since coming to ASU, a Koetter-led team has put 50 or more points on the scoreboard four times (10 times in his career).The Sun Devils have also set the school record for consecutive games without being shut out. ASU has scored in 102 straight games dating back to the last six games of the 1995 season.Protecting the Quarterback
Arizona State's offensive line finished third in the Pac-10 in sacks allowed in 2003, giving up just 25 sacks on the year. The Sun Devils led the league after allowing only five sacks in the first four games of the season. ASU did not allow a sack in ASU's 59-14 victory over Oregon on Oct. 11 and allowed just one Oct. 18 at North Carolina.The Sun Devils return three starters along the offensive line in 2004 in senior center Drew Hodgdon (26 career starts), junior left guard Grayling Love (12) and sophomore right tackle Andrew Carnahan (12). In addition, junior left tackle Chaz White returns after starting 10 games in his career. A first-team All-Pac-10 selection by all three preseason publications, Love has been named a preseason honorable-mention All-American by Street & Smith's and is listed as the best run blocker in the Pac-10 by Lindy's.Academic Achievements
ASU's roster features two student-athletes who have already earned their undergraduate degrees in senior quarterback Andrew Walter (communication) and senior offensive lineman Drew Hodgdon (interdisciplinary studies-justice studies and sociology).A total of 38 football student-athletes were named 'Scholar Ballers' this year for turning in GPA's of 3.0 or higher. This season, Arizona State will become the first Division I school in the country to honor its student-athletes' academic success with a Scholar Baller patch on the front of their jerseys. This spring, the Sun Devils achieved an all-time best 2.58 semester GPA (for scholarship student-athletes on the team).Preseason Prognostications
Arizona State has been picked to finish from fourth to seventh in the Pac-10 Conference standings in the preseason college football annuals. Street and Smith's has the Sun Devils fourth in the Pac-10 (behind Oregon and ahead of Oregon State), while Lindy's and the Sporting News rank the team sixth (Lindy's behind Washington State and ahead of Washington, Sporting News behind OSU and ahead of UW). Athlon Sports has the team seventh in the Pac-10 (behind UW and ahead of WSU). The Sporting News also lists ASU's strength of schedule No. 11 in the country.A number of Sun Devils have also been recognized in the preseason annuals. Here is a complete list of those honors:
... Athlon lists Derek Hagan as a third-team All-American at wide receiver.... Athlon lists Derek Hagan as first-team All-Pac-10 at wide receiver.... Athlon lists Grayling Love as first-team All-Pac-10 offensive line.... Athlon lists Riccardo Stewart as second-team All-Pac-10 defensive back.... Athlon lists Josh Golden as second-team All-Pac-10 punt returner.... Athlon lists Andrew Walter as third-team All-Pac-10 quarterback.... Athlon lists Jimmy Verdon as third-team All-Pac-10 defensive line.... Athlon lists Zach Miller as a 'Rising Star'.... Athlon lists Zach Miller as a Pac-10 'Future Star'.... Lindy's lists Andrew Walter as the eighth-best QB in the country.... Lindy's lists Derek Hagan as the 15th-best wide receiver in the nation.... Lindy's lists Riccardo Stewart as the 20th-best safety in the country.... Lindy's lists Zach Miller as the nation's top tight end and 33rd overall player in the country.... Lindy's lists Grayling Love as the Pac-10's best run blocker.... Lindy's lists Grayling Love as first-team All-Pac-10 offensive line.... Lindy's lists Loren Wade as second-team All-Pac-10 running back.... Lindy's lists Derek Hagan as second-team All-Pac-10 wide receiver.... Lindy's lists Riccardo Stewart as second-team All-Pac-10 defensive back.... The Sporting News lists Andrew Walter as the ninth-best quarterback in the nation.... The Sporting News lists Derek Hagan as the 20th-best wide receiver in the nation.... The Sporting News lists Grayling Love as first-team All-Pac-10 offensive line.... The Sporting News lists Derek Hagan as second-team All-Pac-10 wide receiver.... The Sporting News lists Dale Robinson as the Pac-10's defensive newcomer of the year.... Street & Smith's lists Grayling Love as honorable mention All-American offensive line.... Street & Smith's lists Riccardo Stewart as honorable mention All-American defensive back.... Street & Smith's lists Grayling Love as first-team All-Pac-10 offensive line.
Tillman Jersey to Be Retired
Arizona State will retire the No. 42 jersey of former Sun Devil Pat Tillman (1976-2004) at the Nov. 13 game with Washington State. The 1997 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time all-league honoree, Tillman played linebacker at ASU from 1994-97. An Academic All-American and three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection, Tillman graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business with a B.S. in marketing on Dec. 19, 1997.After a successful five-year NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman and his brother, Kevin, a former ASU baseball player, enlisted in the U.S. Army and became members of the elite Rangers unit. He was killed in the line of duty in April in Afghanistan. Tillman was posthumously promoted to corporal and awarded the Silver Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart.The Sun Devil team will wear a patch with Tillman's numbers on the front of their jerseys this season, and the Pac-10 Conference has also honored Tillman by renaming its Defensive Player of the Year Award after him.In cooperation with the Tillman family, Arizona State and the Arizona Cardinals have established the Pat Tillman Memorial Scholarship. For more information on the scholarship, please contact Lynda Lumpkin at (480) 965-2475. Donations can be sent via mail to the ASU Foundation, Attn: Lynda Lumpkin, P.O. Box 873208, Tempe, AZ 85287-3208.Tillman's family has also established a foundation in his memory, which can be reached at pattillmanfoundation.net.