ASU to Kick Off 93rd Football Season Thursday Night vs. Temple

Aug. 26, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Arizona State University kicks off the 93rd season of Sun Devil football Thursday, Sept. 1 as the Sun Devils play host to the Temple Owls 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 48 returning letterwinners and 13 returning starters, fifth-year head coach Dirk Koetter's Sun Devils are ranked from 13th to 24th in the various preseason polls, including 18th in the preseason USA Today coaches' poll and 20th in the preseason Associated Press rankings. Picked to finish third in the Pac-10, ASU heads into Thursday's game looking to win its third consecutive season opener and the team's sixth in seven years.

ExposureFSN Arizona will televise the Temple game regionally with Trey Bender (play-by-play), former Sun Devil quarterback and College Football Hall of Famer Danny White (analyst) and Jody Jackson (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), Mark Lewis (pregame) and Vince Marotta (halftime and postgame) will bring the action to Sun Devil fans. Amy Bender will 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.

ASU in Season OpenersArizona State holds a 63-27-2 all-time record (.696) in season openers and a 43-15-1 record (.737) when opening the season at home. The Sun Devils have won their last two season openers, five of their last six and 15 of the last 19, including a 41-9 victory over UTEP on Sept. 2 of last year. When opening the season at home, ASU has won its last four contests and eight of its last nine dating back to 1993.

The Sept. 1 game with Temple will mark the second straight season that ASU has opened the year with a Thursday night contest. The team also opened the 2000 season with a 10-7 win at San Diego State on Aug. 31.

In the Series with TempleThis season will mark the first meeting between ASU and Temple. Eighth-year head coach Bobby Wallace returns 45 letterwinners from last season's 2-9 team. Temple has accepted an invitation to join the Mid-American Conference as an affiliate member in 2005 and 2006 before gaining full membership in 2007. The Owls will play four and six league games in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The Sun Devils hold 1-2 all-time record against teams from the Mid-American Conference.

Who's BackThe Sun Devils return 48 letterwinners to the field this season, including 13 starters and three specialists. The eight offensive starters slated to return are WR Derek Hagan, OL Grayling Love, OL Chaz White, OL Stephen Berg, OL Andrew Carnahan, HB Lee Burghgraef, TE Zach Miller and WR Terry Richardson. The Sun Devils also return three other players with starting experience on offense, including OL Mike Pollak (four starts at center), OL Zach Krula (five starts at right guard) and TB/WR Rudy Burgess (three starts at tailback). On defense, the five returning starters include DE Kyle Caldwell, DT Jordan Hill, LB Dale Robinson, LB Jamar Williams and CB Josh Golden. Josh Barrett also returns after starting four games at safety last season. ASU's three returning specialists are placekicker Jesse Ainsworth, punter Chris MacDonald and snapper Jason Burke.

Koetter's Temple ConnectionsFifth-year ASU head coach Dirk Koetter and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Tom Osborne joined Temple head coach Bobby Wallace and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Raymond Monica on the sidelines as the coaches of the North squad at the 2001 Blue-Gray Classic. Koetter also spent time with Temple linebackers coach Toby Neinas on Bob Stull's staff at the University of Missouri in 1992 and 1993. Koetter served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Columbia, Mo., from 1989-93.

Preseason RankingsArizona State is ranked from 13th to 24th nationally and has been picked to finish from second to fifth in the Pac-10 standings in the various preseason college football annuals. ASU is ranked 18th in the preseason USA Today Coaches' poll and 20th in the preseason Associated Press poll. That marks the first time since 2003 that ASU has been ranked in the preseason polls (20th by AP and 23rd by coaches that year). Last year, ASU ranked 19th in the final Associated Press poll and 20th in the final coaches' poll.

ASU Picked Third in Preseason Pac-10 PollArizona State has been picked to finish third in the Pac-10 in the league's preseason poll of West Coast media members. Defending league and national champion USC was the unanimous favorite to win its third consecutive Pac-10 title.

After USC, opinions were mixed as ASU, California, Oregon and UCLA all received multiple second-place votes and were tightly bunched in the upper half of the poll. The Sun Devils tied for third in the league last year after being picked to finish sixth in the preseason. The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 22 of 44 previous polls, including the last five years in a row.

Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)1.	USC (41)	4102.	California	3003.	Arizona State	2964.	Oregon	2905.	UCLA	2826.	Washington State	1897.	Oregon State	1598.	Arizona	1319.	Stanford	10610.	Washington	92

A Look AheadFollowing ASU's Sept. 1 season opener with the Owls, the Sun Devils head to Baton Rouge, La., to take on No. 5/6 LSU on Saturday, Sept. 10. The Tigers have been picked to win the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (third overall in the SEC). ASU wraps up the non-conference season at home on Sept. 17 with the Northwestern Wildcats before opening Pac-10 Conference play on the road at Oregon State on Sept. 24. The Beavers have been picked to finish seventh in the league this season.

Hagan's HijinksSenior Derek Hagan led the Sun Devils in receiving yards in eight of 12 games last year en route to second-team All-Pac-10 and Rivals.com All-America honors. This season, Hagan is listed as a preseason first-team All-American by Playboy, Lindy's and Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, while Lindy's ranks him the second-best receiver in the nation.

Hagan heads into the 2005 season needing just eight receptions, 265 yards and six touchdowns to set ASU's career records in each category, while he has 14 career 100-yard games, which is already one more than any other Sun Devil in school history. In his career, he has caught 181 passes for 2,729 yards and 19 touchdowns. Hagan has caught at least one pass in 29 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation.

Last year, his 83 receptions and 1,248 yards both ranked second on the ASU single-season charts. A 2004 second-team All-Pac-10 and All-America selection, he finished second in the Pac-10 and seventh in the NCAA with 104.0 yards per game. That mark also set the school record, passing the 100.4 receiving yards per game that Shaun McDonald had in 2001 and 2002. He turned in 100 or more receiving yards in eight games in 2004 to set the school single-season mark. Hagan caught nine passes for 182 yards (both season highs) with one TD in the Sun Bowl against Purdue, while he tied his career best with three TD catches Oct. 23 vs. UCLA.

Hagan on Biletnikoff Award Watch ListA semifinalist for the award last season, senior Derek Hagan is one of 31 players on the preseason watch list for the 2005 Biletnikoff Award. The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc., hands out the award annually to college football's outstanding wide receiver.

Semifinalists will be announced in early November with the three finalists named later in the month. The winner of the Biletnikoff Award will be announced in December at the annual ESPN College Football Awards Show at Walt Disney World.

ASU's Receiving CorpsThe Sun Devil receiving corps has been ranked as the fifth-best unit in the nation by Lindy's. ASU returns its top six receivers from last season, including preseason All-Americans Derek Hagan and Zach Miller. Last year, ASU's offense also featured three of the top 10 receivers in the Pac-10. Hagan finished the year ranked second in the Pac-10 and 12th in the nation with 6.9 catches per game, while Miller (4.7) was seventh in the league. Hagan also ranked second in the league and seventh in the nation with 104.0 receiving yards per game, while Terry Richardson ended up ninth in the Pac-10 at 56.6 yards per game last season.

Home-Field AdvantageThe Sun Devils head into the 2005 season with a streak of seven consecutive home victories, dating back to the Arizona game in 2003. That marks the longest home winning streak since the team won eight consecutive games over the 1996 and 1997 seasons (all seven in 1996 and the season-opener in 1997).

Last year, Arizona State won all six of its home games to turn in just the second undefeated (and untied) home season in 17 years. The previous Sun Devil squad to go unbeaten at home was the 1996 Pac-10 Championship team which turned in a 7-0 record at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU's 1986 Rose Bowl team went 6-0-1, while the Sun Devils have turned in just 10 undefeated home campaigns in the 46 seasons since opening Sun Devil Stadium in 1958.

Ainsworth a Candidate for Lou Groza AwardJunior placekicker Jesse Ainsworth is one of 30 players on the preseason watch list for the 14th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl.

ASU's 2004 special teams player of the year, Ainsworth ranked second in the Pac-10 and 13th in the nation last year with 1.50 field goals per game. He connected on 18-of-28 field goals (64.3 percent) and was one of two kickers in the Pac-10 to connect on all of his PAT attempts (40-of-40).

The 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Oct. 31, and the three finalists will be named on Nov. 14. The winner of the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Dec. 8 during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Orlando.

Caldwell on Hendricks Award Watch ListJunior Kyle Caldwell is one of 24 players on the preseason watch list for the 2005 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Named the three-time All-American at the University of Miami and and NFL Hall of Famer, the award is based on several criteria including on-field performance, leadership abilities and contributions to school and community. Former ASU star Terrell Suggs won the inaugural Hendricks Award in 2002.

Caldwell shared the team lead with seven sacks last season. He started all 12 games and showed his athleticism by hauling in an interception, collecting 26 tackles and breaking up four passes. A 2003 Sporting News Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection, Caldwell played in 11 games as a true freshman and was co-winner of the Bill Kajikawa Freshman of the Year Award. He has also been recognized as a Hard Hat Player for his work in ASU's winter strength and conditioning program each of the last two seasons.

Keller Named to Maxwell Award Watch ListJunior quarterback Sam Keller has been named to the watch list for 2005 Maxwell Award, which is annually presented to the collegiate player of the year. Keller led the Sun Devils to victory in the 2004 Vitalis Sun Bowl in his first career start. He was named the Sun Bowl MVP after recording career bests in touchdowns (3), completions (25-of-45) and yards (370).

Ten semifinalists for the award will be announced in October, and the field will be trimmed to three finalists in November. The winners of the Maxwell Award will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast on ESPN in December. The formal presentation of the Maxwell Award will take place at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Banquet in February 2006.

Love a Preseason Candidate for the Outland TrophySenior center Grayling Love is one of 36 preseason candidates for the 2005 Outland Trophy, which has been given annually to the nation's top offensive or defensive lineman since 1946.

A three-year starter who has played at every spot on the line, Love is the leader of ASU's talented and deep offensive line that will be one of the strengths of this year's team. Listed as the third-best center in the country by the Sporting News, he started all 12 games in 2004, including six at left tackle and six at right guard, and was a key contributor on a passing offense that led the Pac-10 and ranked fifth in the nation at 317.3 yards per game. He was named the Hard Hat Co-Champion for his work in ASU's offseason strength and conditioning program.

A 2005 graduate with a bachelor's degree in finance, Love was one of two players in the Pac-10 to earn first-team all-league honors for his work on the field and in the classroom. He also earned first-team Academic All-District honors and was the recipient of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame postgraduate scholarship (Valley of the Sun chapter).

The Outland Trophy winner is selected by the FWAA's All-America Committee, which selects the association's 25-man team and picks three Outland Trophy finalists. The 2005 Outland Trophy announcement will be on Dec. 8 on the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla. The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and First Data Corporation, is set for Jan. 12, 2006, in Omaha, Neb.

Zach Miller on Mackey Award Watch ListThe Nassau County Sports Commission has announced that sophomore tight end Zach Miller has been named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for the 2005 season. Given annually to the best collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and announced in mid-December.

A preseason first-team All-American, Miller was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season after setting ASU's freshman receiving records and breaking the school mark for catches by a tight end in a single season.

Named after NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey, the award has been awarded every year since 2000. All-American Todd Heap was one of three finalists for the inaugural Mackey Award in 2000.

Miller TimeFreshman All-America tight end Zach Miller set both of ASU's freshman receiving records last season. The 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and second-team Sporting News and Rivals.com All-American shattered ASU's record for receptions by a rookie with 56 catches, surpassing the 32 that Derek Hagan had as a rookie in 2002. With 552 yards, Miller also broke the mark of 423 yards that College Football Hall of Famer John Jefferson had in 1974. Miller turned in a career-high 102 receiving yards on eight catches Oct. 16 vs. top-ranked USC.

With his 56 catches, Miller also broke Todd Heap's single-season record for catches by a tight end (55) and finished seventh on ASU's season chart for receiving yards by a tight end with 552.

This preseason, Miller has been tabbed a first-team All-American by Street and Smith's and College Football News, while Lindy's has him ranked as the fourth-best tight end in the country.

Love and Miller on Lombardi Award ListSenior center Grayling Love and sophomore tight end Zach Miller are also listed among the 123 players under consideration for the 36th annual Rotary Lombardi Award, which is annually presented to the top lineman in college football.

The preliminary watch list is divided up nearly equally with 58 offensive players and 63 defensive players. To be eligible for the Rotary Lombardi Award, a player may play on the line of scrimmage (including tight ends on offensive) or must be a linebacker who lines up within five yards of the football. The first round of voting for the award is slated for the end of September, while the award will be presented Dec. 7 at an awards dinner in Houston.

Academic AchievementsASU's 2005 roster features seven student-athletes who have already earned their undergraduate degrees: Lee Burghgraef (business administration), Cornell Canidate (BIS-sociology and justice), Chad Christensen (finance), Josh Golden (BIS-justice studies and communication), Grayling Love (finance), Moey Mutz (kinesiology) and R.J. Oliver (recreation management).

A total of 41 football student-athletes were named 'Scholar Ballers' in 2004-05 for turning in GPA's of 3.0 or higher. Arizona State is 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.

Number of Graduates on Fall 2005 RostersMiami (Fla.)	11Auburn	9Boston College	9Louisiana Tech	8Virginia Tech	8Alabama	7Arizona State	7Kentucky	7Notre Dame	7Arkansas	6

Dynamic DuoASU returns a pair of starters in its linebacking crew of seniors Dale Robinson and Jamar Williams. Heading into 2005, Street & Smith's named both Robinson and Williams as preseason honorable-mention All-America selections, while Robinson is listed as the 14th-best linebacker in the country by Lindy's.

Including departed senior Justin Burks (graduation), ASU's starting linebackers accounted for 35.0 percent of ASU's tackles last year (269 of 769) with each player earning honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2004. Burks led the team and finished eighth in the Pac-10 with 7.9 tackles per game (95 total tackles), while Robinson was second on the squad and 10th in the league at 7.8 (93 tackles). Williams finished third on the team and 16th in the Pac-10 with 6.8 stops per game.

Robinson led the team in tackes five times in 2004, including a career-high 14 tackles (10 solo) in ASU's win at Northwestern, and paced the squad with 13.0 tackles for a loss, including three in the Sun Bowl victory over Purdue.

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