No. 21 Football Hits The Road For Showdown With Oregon
Sept. 27, 2004
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Coming off a 27-14 victory over Oregon State in their Pac-10 opener last week, the No. 21/25 Arizona State Sun Devils continue conference play this week, traveling to Eugene, Ore., to take on the Oregon Ducks Saturday night. Saturday's matchup at Autzen Stadium will kick off at 7:15 p.m. Pacific Time and be televised nationally by TBS. With last week's win over the Beavers, Arizona State climbed one spot to No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and made its first appearance at 25th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches rankings. The Sun Devils also improved to 4-0 for the first time since the team reeled off 11 straight wins to open the 1996 Pac-10 Championship & Rose Bowl campaign. The victory was also the team's first in a Pac-10 opener since turning in a 65-24 win over Stanford in 2002. This week at Oregon, ASU will be looking to win its second straight game at Autzen Stadium and turn in its first Pac-10 road victory since downing Arizona 34-20 to end the 2002 regular season. Oregon brings a 1-2 record into Saturday's game after getting the Ducks' first victory of the year with last week's 48-10 win over Idaho in Eugene.
Following this week's game, Arizona State will have its first bye week on Oct. 9 and travels to top-ranked USC on Oct. 16. The Sun Devils do not return to Tempe until Oct. 23 when they take on the UCLA Bruins on Parents' Weekend at Sun Devil Stadium.
TBS will televise the Oregon game to a national cable audience with Bob Neal (play-by-play), Tom Ramsey (color) and Craig Sager (sidelines) 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 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.
In the Series
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Oregon 15-9 dating back to a first meeting in 1966. Arizona State has won the last two games in the series, including a 59-14 victory at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 11 of last year. The Sun Devils hold a slim 7-6 advantage in games played in Eugene, including a 45-42 victory over the then sixth-ranked Ducks on Oct. 19, 2002 at Autzen Stadium.
Wild Devil-Duck Matchups
In recent years, the meetings between Arizona State and Oregon have had a tendency to get a little wild. Last year, Arizona State turned in a 59-14 victory over Oregon on Oct. 11 at Sun Devil Stadium. After taking a 21-7 lead in the first half, the Sun Devils scored on their last six possessions of the game to turn in five unanswered TDs in the second half. ASU racked up 497 yards of total offense and scored four rushing touchdowns and three scores through the air.
In 2002, ASU rallied from a three-touchdown deficit, falling behind 21-0 in the second quarter before coming back to earn the 45-42 victory. ASU's Andrew Walter completed 31-of-53 passes for a Pac-10-record 536 yards and four touchdowns to lead ASU to the win, while the two teams combined for 87 points and 1,049 yards of total offense, including a whopping 847 yards and seven touchdowns through the air.
The 2001 season saw Oregon turn in a 42-24 victory (809 yards of combined total offense between the teams), while three of the previous four games had been decided by a combined seven points. In 1999, Oregon staged a wild 20-17 come-from-behind victory which saw Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington throw a 29-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left to win the game in Eugene, while in 2000, Harrington completed a 17-yard TD pass with 27 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and help Oregon to a 56-55 double-overtime victory in Tempe. In that 2000 game, the two teams combined for an ASU-record 111 points, 866 passing yards and 1,232 yards of total offense.
Three members of the Arizona State coaching staff, including head coach Dirk Koetter, have ties to the University of Oregon. Koetter spent two seasons in Eugene (1996-97) as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach...Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Tom Osborne came to Tempe after spending six seasons at Oregon (1995-00) where he coached the two top tight ends in Duck history and transformed Oregon's special teams into the best unit in the Pac-10 and one of the best in the country. During his tenure, the Ducks' special teams units accounted for 10 touchdowns and blocked 22 kicks...Quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator Mark Helfrich, a 1996 graduate of Southern Oregon University in Ashland, and a Coos Bay native, spent one season in Eugene, serving as Oregon's offensive graduate assistant in 1997 under then offensive coordinator Koetter.
Last Time Out
Behind the defensive efforts of safety Emmanuel Frankin and linebackers Jamar Williams and Justin Burks, the Arizona State Sun Devils shut down the Oregon State Beavers, scoring 20 straight points en route to a 27-14 victory in front of a crowd of 63,312 at Sun Devil Stadium.
Striking first, OSU's Derek Anderson found wide receiver Mike Hass on a 34-yard pass that gave the Beavers their only lead of the night at 7-0 with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter. After stopping the Devils on offense, the Beavers looked to build on their lead from the Sun Devil 20-yard line, but Williams picked off his first of two passes on the night and returned it 30 yards to the OSU 1-yard line. With an impressive goal-line stand, the Beavers forced the Sun Devils to kick the field goal, which Oregon State blocked and recovered in its own end zone for a touchback.
Following a Beaver punt, the Sun Devils took over on offense as senior Andrew Walter picked up 16 yards on a quarterback keeper before handing the ball off to junior tailback Hakim Hill on the next play for the Devils' first touchdown of the night, their first rushing TD of the year and a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter.
The Sun Devils took advantage of a Beaver miscue as Franklin stripped the ball from OSU tight end Joe Newton on the ASU 1-yard line and recovered the football in the end zone, saving a touchdown and giving the Devils possession on their own 20-yard line. ASU responded by gaining 64 yards on the Beavers before turning to sophomore Jesse Ainsworth for a 33-yard field goal to put ASU out in front 10-7 with 2:01 left in the first half.
With the momentum of the game in their favor, the Sun Devils capitalized on another Beaver turnover as Anderson fumbled the ball on OSU's next possession and allowed ASU senior tackle Jordan Hill to recover on the Sun Devils' 12-yard line. With the help of a block by Walter, sophomore Terry Richardson carried the ball 12 yards into the end zone on a reverse to give ASU a 17-7 halftime.
Beginning the second half with good field position, the Sun Devils started from their own 43-yard line and utilized two 15-yard penalties by the Beavers to set up a 17-yard touchdown on a slant route from Walter to freshman tight end Zach Miller. With 10:11 remaining in the third quarter, the Sun Devils led the Beavers 24-7.
The Sun Devils continued to dominate on the defensive side of the ball, opening the fourth quarter with another interception by Williams. Two possessions later, Anderson fumbled again, allowing Jordan Hill to recover on the ASU 32-yard line. Again taking advantage of costly penalties, the Sun Devils brought the ball down to the OSU 27-yard line and called on Ainsworth for a 45-yard field goal which split the uprights and secured the Sun Devil lead at 27-7.
After 52 minutes of shutout defense, the Sun Devils surrendered a score to the Beavers last in the fourth quarter as tailback Dwight Wright carried the ball one yard across the goal line to inch OSU closer at 27-14, but it proved to be too late as the Devils held on to win their fourth straight game and open 4-0 for the first time since the 1996 campaign when they earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Walter finished with 124 yards on 16-of-40 passing with one touchdown. Burks led the defense with a career-high 13 tackles (6 solo). Junior Dale Robinson, senior Ishmael Thrower and senior Jimmy Verdon each contributed a sack for the Sun Devils who held the Beavers to -19 rushing yards for the game. Franklin finished with a career-best eight tackles in addition to two pass breakups, the forced fumble and recovery and a TFL.
Arizona State leads the Pac-10 and ranks third in the nation in turnover margin, forcing +2.50 turnovers per game. So far this year, the Sun Devils have won the turnover battle 12-2, recovering five fumbles and picking off seven passes, while giving up just two miscues (two interceptions). The team has yet to lose a fumble this year and has gone without a turnover in two games (Northwestern and Oregon State). Southern Mississippi is leading the nation in turnover margin at +3.50.
Junior linebacker Jamar Williams is tied for first in the Pac-10 and third in the nation with three interceptions this year, including two last week against Oregon State, while sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Hill is tied for fourth in the Pac-10 after recovering two fumbles in last week's win over the Beavers.
This year, ASU's defense is ranked in the top 25 in the nation in three categories. The Sun Devils are tied for first in the Pac-10 and 12th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 12.75 points per game. The team also ranks second in the Pac-10 and 10th in the country in pass efficiency defense (90.82) and is third in the league and 19th nationally in rushing defense (89.8 yards per game). ASU's defense has allowed just one touchdown in the first quarter and has given up just 17 points in the fourth quarter this year.
Against Oregon State last week, the Sun Devils held the Beavers to minus-19 rushing yards, which marked the fewest rushing yards given up since the Sun Devils limited Louisville to minus-78 yards in a 19-0 victory on Sept. 19, 1992. In the last two weeks, ASU's defense has allowed a total of 37 rushing yards (18.5 yards per game).
The defense gave Iowa just 100 yards of total offense and only six first downs in ASU's Sept. 18 win (44 yards passing, 56 yards rushing), which marked the fewest yards allowed since the Sun Devils surrendered just 13 in that 1992 win over Louisville (91 passing, -78 rushing). Iowa's 44 passing yards also marked the fewest given up since ASU held Oregon State to 20 passing yards in a 1996 win in Corvallis. The Sun Devils also held Iowa's offense scoreless with the Hawkeyes' only TD of the game coming on a punt return and limited Iowa to 2-of-12 third-down conversion tries.
Linebackers Producing Big Numbers
Arizona State's linebacking crew of juniors Dale Robinson and Jamar Williams and senior Justin Burks has already reaped big benefits from ASU's switch to a 4-3 defense this season. In the team's first four games, ASU's linebacking trio has accounted for 34.9 percent of Arizona State's tackles (89 of 255), including 29 of 69 stops Sept. 11 at Northwestern. Robinson led the team in tackles in the first three games of the season and is averaging 9.8 stops per game (fifth in the Pac-10), while Burks led the team with a career-best 13 stops in last week's win over Oregon State (six solo). Burks (7.3 tackles per game) and Williams (5.3) are second and third on the team in tackles.
Robinson was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after turning in 14 tackles (10 solo) against Northwestern, while Burks had eight tackles (seven solo) Williams was third on the team with seven tackles (all solo) against the Wildcats. Against Iowa on Sept. 18, Robinson led the way with nine tackles, while Williams had five stops (four solo), a TFL, a sack and an interception to earned Pac-10 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors.
Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood
Junior linebacker Dale Robinson has made his presence known with big plays and big hits in Arizona State's first four games of the season. He led the Sun Devils in tackles in each of the first three games. Robinson is averaging 9.8 tackles per game, which ranks fifth in the Pac-10. He is tied for first in the league with 4.0 sacks and is second in the Pac-10 with 7.5 tackles for loss. Last season while at Glendale (Ariz.) Community College, Robinson, who is originally from Queens, N.Y. and was a childhood friend of ASU senior cornerback Chris McKenzie, was the Western States League Defensive Player of the Year.
Robinson's 2004 Game-by-Game Tackles:
|---------TACKLES---------| |-SACKS-| Date Opponent Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds No-Yds Sep 02, 2004 UTEP................... 4 5 9 2.5-5 1.0-3 Sep 11, 2004 at Northwestern........ 9 5 14 3.0-12 1.0-10 Sep 18, 2004 IOWA................... 4 5 9 0.5-6 0.5-6 Sep 25, 2004 OREGON STATE........... 1 6 7 1.5-20 1.0-18 Totals.............................. 18 21 39 7.5-43 3.5-37
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