Sun Devils Accept Invitation To 71st Annual Vitalis Sun Bowl Against Purdue

Dec. 5, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- Following an impressive 8-3 regular season, Arizona State University will meet Purdue (7-4) in the 71st Annual Vitalis Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 (12 p.m. MT) at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.

The Sun Devils (8-3, 5-3 Pac-10) will be making their 21st all-time bowl appearance and sixth in the last nine seasons with its New Year's Eve match-up with the Boilermakers. ASU is 10-9-1 all-time in bowl games. ASU will head into the Sun Bowl ranked 19th in the final BCS standings, No. 21 by the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 24 by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Sun Devils finished third in the Pac-10 Conference for the second time in the last three years.

ASU will be making its fourth appearance in the Sun Bowl, going 1-1-1 in its previous three bowl appearances in El Paso. The Sun Devils defeated Iowa, 17-7, in their last trip to the Sun Bowl in 1997. ASU's other Sun Bowl appearances were in 1941 (Case Western Reserve won, 26-13) and in 1940 (ASU and Catholic University tied, 0-0). The Sun Bowl is the second-oldest bowl (to the Rose Bowl) in the nation.

The victory over the Hawkeyes in 1997 marked the final game in the illustrious career of fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman. Tillman will be inducted into the Sun Bowl Legends Hall of Fame and his No. 42 will be painted on the Sun Bowl Stadium turf. Members of the Tillman family will be in attendance.

ASU is scheduled hold 10 practices in Tempe before departing for El Paso on Dec. 26. The Vitalis Sun Bowl will be televised nationally on CBS with Verne Lundquist, Todd Blackledge and Tracy Wolfson calling the action. The game will also be carried on Westwood One national radio by Joel Myers and Shea Walker.

ASU and Purdue have never met on the gridiron. The Sun Devils are 10-5 all-time versus teams from the Big Ten Conference, including a pair of wins over Northwestern (30-21; Sept. 11) and Iowa (44-7; Sept. 18) earlier this season.

ASU Season Ticket holders can purchase Vitalis Sun Bowl tickets through the order form they received via mail or on-line ( until December 9th, 2004. Beginning Dec. 13 (Monday), the general public can purchase any remaining unsold Vitalis Sun Bowl tickets either at the Sun Devil Athletic Ticket Office or on-line. The ASU Athletic Ticket office is located at the South end of Sun Devil Stadium in the Carson Center. Vitalis Sun Bowl tickets are $35 each.

ASU Head Coach Dirk Koetter:
'As a program we feel really good about going to the Sun Bowl. Last year we were on the outside looking in, but there are five Pac-10 teams staying home this year, and we are not one of them. We accomplished a lot of goals and fought through a lot of adversity and I have no doubt that we will do that in the bowl game.'

'We are elated to be playing the Vitalis Sun Bowl, the nation's second oldest bowl game. We're very pleased to play a quality opponent from the Big Ten Conference in Purdue University. My association with the Sun Bowl and the people of El Paso goes back to when I was coaching at UTEP. I have a strong affinity for the city and all of the people.'

'I have really fond memories of my time spent in El Paso. The people are great and they really treated me well when I was a young coach starting out in this business. It's been a long time since I've been back, but I am looking forward to being back. The town and the bowl is known for its great hospitality and we are really excited for the opportunity to play in El Paso.'

'El Paso has great football fans, Purdue has a good traveling base and I think we'll travel good for this bowl game. I think the mix of great fans and the national TV exposure will really make this a great bowl match-up.'

ASU Senior Center Drew Hodgdon:
'We are excited to play Purdue in the Sun Bowl. It is a different scenario that we were all expecting, but we are honored to play in a bowl game and we'll be excited to be there.'

'I feel really bad for Cal. They had a great season and their only loss was to the No. 1 team in the nation on the road, and today they are on the inside looking out. I think they really deserved to go to the Rose Bowl.'

ASU Senior Defensive Lineman Jimmy Verdon:
'I felt bad for what happened to Cal, but we are still going to a great bowl game. The Sun Bowl is going to be great and I am looking forward to my final game as a Sun Devil. You have to take things as they come and we just need to really focus on getting ready for Purdue. They are a pass-oriented offense and that is a dream for a defensive lineman.'

Arizona State Director of Athletics Gene Smith:
'We are enthusiastic about our second Vitalis Sun Bowl appearance in eight years. It is less than a day's drive from Phoenix and it is a reasonable airline ticket away and we know that our fans will support our football team at this fine event. We also understand that the Sun Bowl Association is planning on honoring Pat Tillman by inducting him into its Legends of the Sun Bowl, making it an even more special event for our fans.'

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