ASU Football to Take on LSU Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium

Sept. 5, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 63-16 victory over Temple last week, No. 20/18 Arizona State University continues the 93rd season of Sun Devil football this week, playing host to the No. 5/6 Louisiana State University Tigers on Saturday, Sept. 10. The game was originally scheduled to be played at LSU's Tiger Stadium but due to the ongoing relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the game has been moved to ASU's Sun Devil Stadium. ASU and LSU officials have announced that the proceeds from the game will be donated to the hurricane relief effort.

Game time and television coverage details were still being worked out on Monday afternoon. With last week's victory over Temple, the Sun Devils won their third straight season opener and eighth straight home game. This weekend, ASU looks to start the season with a 2-0 mark for the third consecutive season. With 48 returning letterwinners and 13 returning starters, fifth-year head coach Dirk Koetter's Sun Devils were 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 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 year.

ExposureESPN will televise the LSU game to a national television audience with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Mike Gottfried (analyst) and Dave Ryan (sidelines) calling the action. It will mark the 14th straight television broadcast for the Sun Devils with all 12 games being televised last year and last week's Temple game on Fox Sports Arizona. Westwood One is also expected to broadcast the LSU game to a national radio audience with John Tautges and Fran Curci 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.

Games at Sun Devil StadiumThis will mark the second time that Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium will play host to a previously unscheduled game. ASU hosted a NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins on Monday, Oct. 27, 2003 after wildfires in San Diego County forced the game from Qualcomm Stadium.

In the Series with LSUSaturday will mark the first meeting between ASU and LSU. The Sun Devils have only played one other team from the Southeastern Conference, holding an 0-2 record against Arkansas. This year's game will be considered its own event with ASU's scheduled home-and-home series with the Tigers to begin in 2008. LSU will visit Sun Devil Stadium on Sept. 6, 2008, which will mark the first of two home games against SEC opponents that season as Georgia is scheduled to visit Tempe two weeks later (Sept. 20, 2008). ASU's return trip to Baton Rouge, La., will be scheduled at a later date.

No. 5/6 LSU will be playing in its season opener after postponing its Sept. 3 game with North Texas due to Hurricane Katrina. The Tigers have been picked to win the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (third overall in the SEC).

Team CaptainsSix Sun Devils have been elected team co-captains by their teammates. ASU's team co-captains for the season are senior tight end/h-back Lee Burghgraef, senior wide receiver Derek Hagan, junior defensive tackle Jordan Hill, junior quarterback Sam Keller, senior center Grayling Love and senior linebacker Jamar Williams. Three of those six captains will represent the Sun Devils at the coin toss each game with one single-game captain being selected by ASU's coaches each week. The single-game captain for the LSU game will be senior safety Maurice London.

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.

Lighting Up the ScoreboardASU's 63-16 victory over Temple last week marked the fifth time in Dirk Koetter's ASU career that his team has scored 50 points or more. It also ties for second for the most points scored by Koetter's ASU squads and was the highest scoring effort since the team's 65-24 victory over Stanford in 2002.

Arizona State has averaged 31.1 points per game in Dirk Koetter's four-plus years at the helm. Since coming to ASU, a Koetter-led team has put at least 40 points on the scoreboard 13 times and 50 or more points on five occasions (11 times in his career). Last year, the Sun Devils ranked fourth in the Pac-10 at 29.8 points per game with a season high of 48 points in a 48-42 victory over UCLA on Oct. 23. The team averaged 24.5 points per game in 2003, 32.3 ppg in 2002 and 34.0 ppg in 2001. ASU set its school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game with its 65-24 win over Stanford on Sept. 28, 2002.

ASU in Season OpenersWith its victory over Temple last week, Arizona State now holds a 64-27-2 all-time record (.696) in season openers and a 44-15-1 record (.737) when opening the season at home. The Sun Devils have won their last three season openers, six of their last seven and 16 of the last 20, including a 41-9 victory over UTEP on Sept. 2 of last year. When opening the season at home, ASU has now won its last five contests and nine of its last 10 dating back to 1993. Fifth-year head coach Dirk Koetter is now 4-1 in season openers at ASU.

Last Time OutTrue freshman Keegan Herring rushed 12 times for 134 yards and one touchdown in his Sun Devil debut to lead ASU to a 63-16 victory last Thursday night against the Temple Owls at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Herring set the school record for net rushing yards in the first game of a career, passing the mark of 117 yards set by Woody Green against Houston in 1971.

Junior quarterback Sam Keller led the Sun Devils on an impressive 14-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a three-yard run by sophomore Rudy Burgess to give ASU a 7-0 lead with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter. After forcing Temple into a punt, Keller took the Sun Devils to the air, finding junior receiver Jamaal Lewis on a 28-yard pass to cross midfield and then on a 24-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-0 lead as the first quarter ended.

Temple opened the second quarter by punting away but got on the board with a safety after an eight-yard sack of Keller in the end zone. ASU answered with an interception by senior cornerback Mike Davis Jr. that set up a four-yard touchdown reception by sophomore tight end Zach Miller. Halfway through the second, ASU led 21-2.

With the clock winding down in the first half, ASU got a 45-yard punt return from junior Terry Richardson to set up senior preseason All-American Derek Hagan on an 18-yard TD pass from Keller to give ASU a 28-2 halftime lead.

ASU wasted no time in picking up where they left off in the second half as Herring rushed deep into Temple territory on a 33-yard gain before punching it into the end zone on a four-yard run to give the Sun Devils a 35-2 lead.

Halfway through the third quarter, Herring got the call again, gaining 30 yards on the ground during a seven-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in another ASU touchdown, this time a 31-yard pass from Keller to Hagan. Temple responded with an 80-yard drive of its own, scoring when tailback Josh Bundy found the end zone on a one-yard rush. Through three quarters of play, the score was 42-9 in favor of the Sun Devils.

In the final quarter of play, the Sun Devils' No. 2 offense took over and added three touchdowns to the score with a 17-yard touchdown reception by redshirt freshman Nate Kimbrough, a two-yard TD rush by sophomore Antone Saulsberry, and a four-yard touchdown rush by sophomore Preston Jones. ASU gave up a second touchdown to Temple late in the fourth quarter but emerged with a 63-16 win.

In just his second career start, Keller led the Sun Devils with 208 yards on 14-of-24 passing for a career-best four touchdowns. Ten different receivers made catches for the Sun Devils with four players scoring ASU's five touchdowns in the victory. ASU's receivers were led by Hagan who caught three passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns, while Lewis had two catches for 52 yards and the fifth TD reception of his career.

Keeping Up With KeeganWith his 134-yard rushing effort last week vs. Temple, tailback Keegan Herring became the first ASU true freshman to rush for more than 100 yards since Mike Williams in 2000. Herring had 12 carries for 134 yards with one touchdown vs. the Owls, while Williams carried the ball 33 times for 143 yards and one score in ASU's win over Colorado State in 2000.

Herring broke ASU's 34-year-old record for rushing yards in the first game of a career. His 134-yard showing shattered the 117 yards Woody Green gained on 21 carries in the 1971 season opener vs. Houston. Herring also became just the third true freshman in 14 years (since 1991) to rush for 100 yards in a game.

ASU is now 242-45-5 (.837) when having a player gain at least 100 yards on the ground (11-7 under Dirk Koetter).

Gains on the GroundSix Sun Devils carried the ball 44 times for 300 yards in last week's victory over Temple, which marked the team's first 300-yard rushing game in four years. ASU's last 300-yard contest came on Oct. 20, 2001 when the Sun Devils accumulated 314 yards in a 41-24 victory over Oregon State.

Four different Sun Devils - sophomores Rudy Burgess, Preston Jones and Antone Saulsberry and freshman Keegan Herring - scored ASU's four rushing touchdowns last week against the Owls. The four scores on the ground marked the most since ASU scored four rushing touchdowns in a 59-14 victory over Oregon on Oct. 11, 2003. Last year, ASU scored just six rushing touchdowns all season compared to 35 passing TDs.

More Notes from the Temple Game

- A total of 71 Sun Devils saw action in the Temple game, including 21 who saw the first action of their ASU careers. Three Sun Devil juniors - DE Will Kofe, S Zach Catanese and CB Keno Walter-White - made starts in their ASU debuts. Senior DT Quency Darley and sophomore LB Robert James also made their first career starts although both played in reserve roles last year.

- ASU turned in four drives of 80 or more yards in the victory over the Owls. Backup quarterback Rudy Carpenter engineered the longest drive of the night in an eight-play, 88-yard drive that culminated in a 17-yard touchdown pass to fellow redshirt freshman Nate Kimbrough. The team had 14 drives of 80 or yards all of last season with a season-high three in the win over UCLA.

- Sophomore Rudy Burgess' first-quarter touchdown run marked just the second time in Dirk Koetter's five years at ASU that the Sun Devils have opened the season with a score on the ground. It also marked just the 10th time since 1982 that ASU's first TD of the year was a rushing TD. Burgess scored five receiving touchdowns last season, but Thursday's rushing TD was the first of his career.

Hagan's HijinksPreseason All-American Derek Hagan led the Sun Devils with three receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns in ASU's season-opening victory over Temple. That snapped a four-game streak of 100-yard receiving games for the senior wide receiver, but it marked the fifth game in his career that he has caught two or more touchdown passes.

Hagan has listed as a preseason first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Lindy's and Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, while Lindy's ranks him the second-best receiver in the nation.

Including the Temple game, Hagan now needs just five receptions, 212 yards and five touchdowns to set ASU's career records in each category. He already 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 184 passes for 2,782 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hagan has caught at least one pass in 30 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation.

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. 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.

In last week's win over Temple, ASU spread the receiving wealth with 10 Sun Devils catching a pass and four different receivers scoring a TD. ASU had six players with at least two catches in the win over the Owls.

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.

Home-Field AdvantageIncluding the Sept. 1 season-opening victory over Temple, the Sun Devils have now won eight consecutive home games, 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 years.

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-since broken), completions (25-of-45) and yards (370).

Keller opened the 2005 season with a solid performance, completing 14-of-24 passes for 208 yards and a career-best four touchdowns Sept. 1 vs. Temple.

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.

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. He continues to climb the ASU career charts and already ranks seventh in career receptions by a tight end (59) and tied for fifth in career receiving touchdowns by a tight end (seven).

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.

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.

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. Robinson opened the 2005 season strong, leading the Sun Devils with eight tackles vs. Temple. He also tied his career high with three tackles for loss against the Owls.

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.

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