No. 18/22 Football to Play Host to Northwestern Saturday Night

Sept. 12, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Following a hard-fought 35-31 loss to fifth-ranked Louisiana State last week, the No. 18/22 Arizona State University Sun Devils wrap up the non-conference slate this week, playing host to the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils look to get back on track after having their eight-game home winning streak snapped by the Tigers and dropping from 15th to 18th and 22nd in the national polls. This weekend, ASU looks to get its fourth consecutive victory over a team from the Big Ten Conference after going 3-0 against teams from that league last season.

Following this week's game with the NU Wildcats, ASU will open Pac-10 Conference play by traveling to Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 24. ASU has been picked to finish third in the Pac-10, while the Beavers were tabbed seventh.

ExposureThe 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

There will be no television for the Northwestern game.

In the Series with NorthwesternArizona State holds a 3-0 record in the all-time series with Northwestern. Last season, the Sun Devils turned in a 30-21 victory over the Wildcats on Sept. 11 at NU's Ryan Field. That game marked the first meeting between the schools in 26 years. ASU holds a 1-0 record against NU at Sun Devil Stadium, opening the 1977 season with a 35-3 win over the Wildcats on Sept. 17 in the only meeting in Tempe.

Northwestern holds a 2-0 record on the year after turning in a 38-14 win over Ohio to open the year and edging Northern Illinois 38-37 last week.

Sun Devils vs. the Big TenArizona State holds a 13-5 all-time record against teams from the Big Ten Conference. The Sun Devils have won their last three games against Big Ten schools and eight of their last 10 dating back to a Sept. 13, 1986 victory over Michigan State in that year's season opener in Tempe. Last season, ASU turned in a 3-0 record against schools from the Big Ten, earning a 30-21 win at Northwestern, downing then No. 16/12 Iowa 44-7 on Sept. 18 at Sun Devil Stadium and closing the season with a 27-23 come-from-behind thriller over Purdue in the Vitalis Sun Bowl on Dec. 31. Three Pac-10 schools will take on teams from the Big Ten this weekend with Arizona hosting Purdue and Cal taking on Illinois in addition to ASU's matchup with NU.

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 an additional single-game captain who is selected by ASU's coaches each week. The single-game captain for the Northwestern game will be senior middle linebacker Dale Robinson.

In the RankingsFollowing last week's loss to then No. 5/5 LSU, ASU dropped to 18th and 22nd in this week's Associated Press and USA Today coaches' polls, respectively. The Sun Devils had climbed to 15th in both polls after the season-opening victory over Temple, marking the highest national ranking for the team since being 14th in each of the final polls in 1997. Northwestern is not ranked.

Last Time OutThe 15th-ranked Sun Devils came up short on their final drive of the night and fell to the No. 5/5 LSU Tigers 35-31 despite a career night from junior quarterback Sam Keller. The Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Sun Devils in front of a crowd of 63,210 at Sun Devil Stadium. The game was moved from Baton Rouge, La., to Tempe four days before the game due to the ongoing relief effort from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The Sun Devils got on the board first following a fumble recovery by junior defensive tackle Jordan Hill on the ASU 19-yard line. Leading the offense 81 yards down the field, Keller found junior tight end Jamaal Lewis on a 25-yard touchdown pass to put ASU on top 7-0 in the second quarter. The Tigers responded with an 80-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard rush by Joseph Addai to tie the game late in the first half. However, the Sun Devils gained the advantage heading into the half when Keller found senior Matt Miller on a 44-yard completion to bring the Sun Devils across midfield and set up a 26-yard field goal by junior Jesse Ainsworth.

On the first drive of the second half, Keller led the Sun Devils on a 75-yard march down the field. Finding senior tight end Lee Burghgraef on a 27-yard completion to bring the Sun Devils into the red zone, Keller finished the drive with a screen pass to sophomore Rudy Burgess that went eight yards for the TD. Following fumbles by both teams in the opponents' red zone, the Sun Devils led 17-7 after three quarters.

The momentum then shifted into LSU's corner as the Tigers scored 28 points in the fourth quarter. LSU blocked an ASU field goal and Mario Stevenson returned the ball 55 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-14, while the Tigers blocked a punt and returned it 29 yards forth another TD on the next possession, erasing a 10-point deficit in less than two minutes.

Trailing 21-17, the Sun Devils responded with a touchdown as a 19-yard pass to Burghgraef set up Keller's second TD pass of the night to Lewis, this one a 26-yard down the sideline. LSU went to the ground on its next possession, rushing for 67 yards in an 80-yard drive that concluded with a five-yard touchdown rush by Addai to put the Tigers on top, 28-24, with just over eight minutes remaining.

The Sun Devils again responded in turn with a 80-yard touchdown drive that featured three receptions by senior receiver Derek Hagan for a total of 55 yards. Keller put the Sun Devils in the end zone with a four-yard pass to senior Moey Mutz, giving ASU the 31-28 lead. With 4:19 remaining in the game, LSU took over following a touchback on their own 20-yard line and drove to the ASU 39-yard line. Trying to convert on a fourth-and-10, Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russel found Earl Doucet on a double-roll in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown that gave LSU a four-point lead with 1:13 remaining. With a chance to win the game, the Sun Devils drove to the LSU 28-yard line but failed to convert on a fourth down in the 35-31 loss.

Keller finished completed 35-of-56 attempts for 464 yards and four touchdowns (all career highs). Nine different ASU receivers had catches in the game, led by Hagan, who surpassed John Jefferson's school record for career receptions in the game. Hagan finished with seven catches for 95 yards, while junior Terry Richardson had seven receptions for 75 yards. Lewis hauled in three receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, senior linebacker Dale Robinson made a career-best 15 tackles, including a career-high 11 solo stops, and had three tackles for loss, while junior safety Zach Catanese added 12 tackles in his second career game.

Sam I AmJunior quarterback Sam Keller has turned in 669 passing yards in the first two games this season, which sets the school record, previously held by Jeff Krohn who had 637 combined yards in the first two games of 2001 (San Diego State and Stanford). Keller passed for 208 yards in the season opener vs. Temple and added a career-best 461 yards last week against fifth-ranked LSU.

Keller, who is on the Maxwell Award watch list, is leading the Pac-10 with 334.5 passing yards per game and is third in the league and eighth in the nation in total offense at 328.8 yards per contest this year. He has started the last three games, dating back to his MVP performance in the 2004 Sun Bowl, and holds a 2-1 record in those contests. In his three games as ASU's starter, Keller has averaged 346.3 yards per contest, completed 59.2 percent (74-125) of his passing atttempts and thrown 11 touchdown passes.

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, while last week against the LSU Tigers, he matched that career high with four TDs and set career marks with 35 completions, 56 attempts and 461 yards. His 461 yards were the ninth-best single-game performance in school history, while he has also tied for eighth on the ASU single-game chart for TD passes in each of the last two weeks.

Keller's Numbers as ASU's StarterOpp.	Com./Att.	Yds.	TD/Int.	LongPurdue (W, 2004)	45/25	370	3/0	68Temple (W, 2005)	24/14	208	4/2	31#5/5 LSU (L, 2005)	56/35	461	4/0	44Totals	125/74	1039	11/2	68

ASU's Receiving CorpsASU has spread the receiving wealth this season with 13 Sun Devils catching at least one pass and six different players hauling in a touchdown pass. Last week vs. LSU, nine Sun Devils had at least one reception with four catching TD passes, while the previous week against Temple, 10 caught a pass and four different receivers scored touchdowns. Senior Derek Hagan leads the team with 10 catches for 148 yards and has caught two TD passes. He is tied for ninth in the Pac-10 with 5.0 receptions per game and 10th in the league with 74.0 yards per contests. Junior tight end/h-back Jamaal Lewis paces the squad with three touchdown receptions this season. He has scored a touchdown on three of his five receptions on the year, while in his career, Lewis has scored seven TDs in just 21 catches.

The 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.

Hagan's HijinksWith his five catches last week vs. LSU, preseason All-American Derek Hagan became ASU's all-time leader in career receptions, passing the 188 that College Football Hall of Famer John Jefferson had (1974-77). Hagan has now caught 189 passes in his Sun Devil career. He also needs just 117 yards and five touchdowns to set ASU's career records in those categories as well. Hagan 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 189 passes for 2,877 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hagan has caught a pass in 31 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation.

Hagan has led the Sun Devils in receiving in each of the first two games of 2005. He had three receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns in ASU's season-opening victory over Temple and caught seven passes for 95 yards last week vs. No. 5/5 LSU. The Temple game snapped a four-game streak of 100-yard receiving games for the Palmdale, Calif., native, 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.

Hagan led the Sun Devils in receiving yards in eight of 12 games last year en route to second-team All-Pac-10 and 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.

2005 Division I-A Active Consecutive Reception StreakChris Francies, WR, UTEP	34Derek Hagan, WR, ASU	31Mark Philmore, WR, Northwestern	30Garrett Mills, TE, Tulsa	29Steve Odom, WR, Toledo	27Vincent Marshall, WR, Houston	26Cory Rodgers, WR, TCU	26

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 the top wide receiver in college football.

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.

Mr. Robinson's NeighborhoodSenior middle linebacker Dale Robinson has picked up where the honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection left off last season, leading the Sun Devils in tackles in each of the first two games of 2005. He opened the year with eight tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss against Temple and followed that up with a career-best 15 tackles (11 solo) last week against fifth-ranked LSU. He also had 2.5 TFLs, including a sack, and forced a fumble vs. the Tigers.

Robinson is tied for third in the Pac-10 with 11.5 tackles per game and is pacing the league with 2.50 TFLs per contest.

Lighting Up the ScoreboardASU's 63-16 victory over Temple on Sept. 1 marked the fifth time in Dirk Koetter's ASU career that his team has scored 50 points or more. It also tied 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. Two games into the 2005 season, ASU is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 11th in the nation in scoring offense with 47.0 points per game.

ASU averaged 24.5 points per game in 2003, 32.3 ppg in 2002 and 34.0 ppg in 2001. The team set its school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game with its 65-24 win over Stanford on Sept. 28, 2002.

Getting OffensiveIn addition to scoring offense, ASU is also listed among the nation's leaders in passing offense and scoring offense. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 and rank fourth in the nation in both categories, averaging 360.0 passing yards and 559.5 total offense yards per game this season.

Keeping Up With KeeganWith his 134-yard rushing effort in the season opener 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. He is leading the Sun Devils and ranked seventh in the Pac-10 in rushing this year at 85.0 yards per game. He is also averaging 10.0 yards per carry this season, which is second among the Pac-10's top 10 rushing leaders.

ASU is 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 the Sept. 1 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 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.

Sophomore Rudy Burgess' first-quarter touchdown run vs. Temple marked just the second time in Dirk Koetter's five years at ASU that the Sun Devils had 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 has scored six receiving touchdowns in his career (five in 2004), but his rushing TD in the season opener vs. the Owls was the first of his career.

Home-Field AdvantageASU's Sept. 10 loss to then No. 5/5 LSU snapped the team's eight-game winning streak at Sun Devil Stadium, which had dated back to the Arizona game in 2003. That marked 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 and opened the 2005 season with a 63-16 win over Temple. 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.

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 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 (61) 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 is one of the strengths of this year's team. Love made the move to center this year and was listed as the third-best center in the country by the Sporting News this preseason. 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.

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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