Sun Devils Look For Third Win a Row; Travel to No. 14 UCLA
Nov. 7, 2005
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Two of the nation's top scoring teams will meet Saturday as the Arizona State University Sun Devils, winners of their past two contests and 2-1 in road games on the year, travel for the second straight week as they go to the Rose Bowl for a meeting with 14th-ranked UCLA (8-1; 5-1). The game kicks off at 4 p.m. PT (5 p.m. MST) and will be carried regionally by ABC with Terry Gannon and Jamal Anderson on the call and Jim Gray on the sidelines. Sun Devil Derek Hagan needs just seven catches to take over the Pac-10 career reception mark while redshirt freshman Rudy Carpenter makes his third career start after hitting on 55-of-77 (.714) for 782 yards in wins over Washington and Washington State. UCLA ranks sixth in the nation in scoring (39.44 ppg. while ASU is ninth at 37.67.
Pac-10 Career Watch For Hagan: Senior All-American Derek Hagan has lived up to his billing as one of the top receivers in the country and needs just six receptions to tie Stanford's Troy Walters (1996-99) as the Pac-10's career leader (Washington's Reggie Williams is second at 243). With 61 catches for 969 yards and seven touchdowns this year, Hagan ranks among the Pac-10 and NCAA leaders in several receiving categories. Over the last five games, Hagan has caught 46 passes for 731 yards and four touchdowns. Hagan owns ASU career receiving records for catches (242), yards (3,698) and touchdowns (26). He is also climbing the Pac-10 career record charts in yards (3,698/second) and is tied for eighth in touchdowns (26). Hagan has a reception in 38 straight and in 45 of 47 career games.
Devil Data -- Release Highlights
ASU is second in the nation in passing offense at 381.6 yards per game.
Dale Robinson leads the Pac-10 in solo tackles with 54 (UCLA's Spencer Havner is second at 53).
Robinson also is second in the league in total tackles with 9.8 per game, trailing only Trent Bray of Oregon State (9.9).
ASU ranks sixth in the nation in kickoff returns at 26.26 yards per return.
Rudy Carpenter has thrown for 782 yards and 5 TDs in his first two starts.
Zach Miller ranks third all-time among ASU tight ends with nine TD catches.
Derek Hagan is the third player in Pac-10 history with 240 catches and 3,500 yards.
Terry Richardson is first in the Pac-10 averaging 30.4 yards per kickoff return.
ASU's tight ends have accounted for 11 of the team's 31 receiving TDs.
Derek Hagan and Rudy Burgess (4 rec., 3 rush) lead the team with 7 TDs each.
The Sun Devils have rushed for 13 TDs after having only six last season.
ASU is third in the nation in total offense at 518.4 yards per game.
UCLA Series: ASU topped the Bruins 48-42 last year for its first win over UCLA since 1999 as Andrew Walter threw six touchdowns in a game that saw four lead changes in the second half as ASU scored 17 straight points. ASU trailed 42-31 with 7:12 left but quick touchdowns from Walter and a game-clinching interception from Dale Robinson gave ASU its sixth win of the season. UCLA leads the series 13-7-1, including a 7-4-1 mark against ASU in the Rose Bowl. ASU played at UCLA three straight times in 2000, 2001 and 2003 but lost each game (teams did not play in 2002). ASU's last win in the Rose Bowl was during its 1996 Rose Bowl season when it came back from deficits of 28-7 and 34-21 to top UCLA 42-34.
Radio: The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 11 of ASU's football games 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) bring the action to Sun Devil fans. Amy Bender provide sideline reports during home games. ASU games can also be heard live on the Sun Devils' web site at www.TheSunDevils.com or www.sundevilsportsnetwork.com.
Captains: Five Sun Devils have been elected team captains by their teammates: seniors Lee Burghgraef, Derek Hagan and Grayling Love and juniors Jordan Hill and Sam Keller. Four of those five 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 (UCLA game TBD).
Carpenter Constructs Solid Starts: Redshirt freshman Rudy Carpenter connected on 27-of-34 passing for 401 yards and three throwing touchdowns, as well as one on the ground, to lead ASU to a 44-20 victory over Washington in his first collegiate start on Oct. 29 and then bounced back with a 28-of-43, 381-yard outing at Washington State last weekend. Carpenter hooked-up with eight receivers against UW, including Matt Miller on five occasions (139 yards and three touchdowns) and Derek Hagan for nine receptions (115 yards). Overall, his 401 yards through the air is the second most in school history by a freshman (Jeff Krohn vs. Oregon, 2000, 432 yards) and his .794 completion percentage is a school record for the 31-40 attempt range, bettering the .771 mark (27-for-35) set by Krohn in 2001 against San Diego State.
In his last three games, including a solid performance off the bench at Stanford, Carpenter has accumulated 1,086 yards on 74-of-102 passing (.725) with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Overall in 2005, Carpenter has appeared in six games and has amassed 1,226 yards on 74 percent passing (88-for-119) with 10 touchdowns, two interceptions and a passing efficiency rating of 184.86.
T-Rich Leads Special Teams: Junior wide receiver Terry Richardson was named the US Bank Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week (10/2) and is ranked as one of the top returners in the nation this season. His 84-yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter against USC (10/1) marked the first by a Sun Devil since current St. Louis Ram Shaun McDonald had a 78-yarder against USC on Nov. 4, 2000. It was the 10th longest punt return in school history (9th longest for a TD) and the longest by a Sun Devil since Eric Guliford had a 89-yarder against California in 1992. Richardson ranks first in the Pac-10 and fourth in the nation averaging 30.4 yards per kickoff return while also sitting third in the Pac-10 and 17th in the NCAA averaging 13.1 yards on 18 punt returns. On offense, Richardson is fourth on the team with 27 catches for 346 yards (12.8 avg.). For his career, Richardson has caught 88 passes for 1,221 yards and eight touchdowns.
ASU 27, WSU 24 (Last Time Out): Using the combined arms of their two Rudys, the Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the Washington State Cougars 27-24 behind a pair of defensive stands in the fourth quarter at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. Freshman Rudy Carpenter threw for two touchdowns and 381 yards on 28-of-43 passing while sophomore tailback Rudy Burgess also threw for a touchdown.
The Sun Devils scored on their first drive of the game as Carpenter moved the ball across midfield for the Sun Devils with long completions to receivers Terry Richardson and Chad Christensen. However, it was Burgess who threw the first touchdown pass of the game, finding Derek Hagan on a 43-yard halfback pass to give the Sun Devils an early 7-0 lead. Hagan finished the game with six catches for 139 yards.
After recovering a fumble, Carpenter had a pass picked off in the end zone. Starting from the 20-yard line, the Cougars took advantage of the situation and Jerome Harrison tied the game when he broke free on a 61-yard touchdown rush. With just under three remaining in the first, the score was tied at 7-7.
The Sun Devils struck quickly and scored before the end of the first quarter. Driving 87 yards in just 1:51, Carpenter led the charge with a 28-yard pass to Burgess. Finding sophomore tight end Zach Miller on two consecutive receptions for 13 yards, Carpenter connected with sophomore receiver Terry Richardson on a 10-yard touchdown pass to put the Devils ahead 14-7 at the close of the first quarter.
Carpenter began the second quarter where he left off, finding Zach Miller for a gain of 19 yards to begin the Devils next possession. With the ball nearly at midfield, he then connected with Hagan for a 59-yard passing gain, which setup a 19-yard field goal by Jesse Ainsworth, extending the ASU lead to 17-7. The Devils then struck again quickly, forcing a WSU punt and driving 74 yards. After a 20-yard completion to Burgess brought the Sun Devils into the red zone, Carpenter found Zach Miller again, this time for a five-yard touchdown, giving the Devils a 24-7 lead.
With the first half nearing its close, the Cougars chipped away at the lead, as Lorenzo Bursey returned the kickoff 39 yards to cross midfield. The Cougars' Loren Langley nailed a 40-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 24-10 heading into the half.
The Sun Devils opened the half with another scoring drive. Freshman Keegan Herring broke a 28-yard run to set the Sun Devils up to score more points. After reaching the goal line, an offensive pass interference penalty moved the Sun Devils back and a third down pass from Carpenter to Hagan for a touchdown was overturned after replay, forcing the Sun Devils to settle with a 33-yard field goal and a 27-10 lead.
But the Cougars would not go quietly, as they scored the next 14 points to close the gap. On the next drive, Alex Brink had two 20-yard completions and WSU tailback Jerome Harrison continued to give the ASU defense fits, as he ran the ball in for a touchdown from the ASU seven-yard line. Following a punt by the Devils, the Cougars struck again quickly, gaining 91 yards in just 1:21. After guiding WSU to the 50-yard line, Brink connected with Jason Hill on a 49-yard reception to cut the lead to just 27-24 after three.
The Cougars opened a see-saw fourth quarter with an opportunity to tie the game, but a field goal attempt by Langley from the 50-yard line hit the left upright. ASU drove down the field and entered WSU territory threatening to score, but a Carpenter fumble gave the ball back to the Cougars. With six minutes left, the Cougars had seemingly tied it after making a 25-yard field goal, but elected to accept an ASU offsides penalty and try for the touchdown from the one-yard line. ASU senior Dale Robinson dropped WSU's Harrison for a one-yard loss and gave the ball back to the Devils.
Taking over after a punt with just over five minutes remaining in the game, WSU again had a chance to tie the score. A short punt and a penalty had the Cougars lined up to score, but a 12-yard sack by ASU's DeWayne Hollyfield on a third down play proved to be the difference maker in the game, as Langley missed a 52-yard field goal wide left on the next play and allowed the Sun Devils to escape with victory.
Zach Miller led the ASU receivers with 10 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Rudy Burgess added to his passing touchdown with six receptions for 89 yards and Herring finished with 87 yards on the ground. Robinson led the Sun Devil defense with 10 tackles (seven solo) and one sack and Jamar Williams also added nine tackles (four solo).
What Time Is It?: Arizona never changes its clocks, remaining on Mountain Standard Time. From April to the end of October, Arizona is on Pacific Daylight Time, while when the rest of the country changed its clocks on October 31, Arizona remained the same, matching up again with MST.
In the Rankings: Following the 31-17 loss to No. 25 Oregon, the Sun Devils dropped out of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Poll for the first time this season. The Devils had been ranked in the previous 19 polls, marking the ASU's longest such streak since the mid-1980's, nearly 20 years. The 19 straight weeks among the nation's Top 25 helps illustrate the consistency that fifth-year head coach Dirk Koetter has built in the Sun Devil program since taking over in 2001. The No. 14 ranking (AP) earlier in the season marks the highest national ranking for the Sun Devils since also being 14th in each of the final polls in 1997.
Tight End U: ASU is quickly becoming one of the marquee schools in producing tight ends. Sophomore TE/HB Zach Miller is a candidate for the Mackey Award and is coming off a Freshman All-America campaign in which he caught 56 passes for 552 yards and six touchdowns. Battling through a shoulder and ankle injury this season, Miller busted out at Washington State with 10 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Over the last four games Miller has recorded 26 receptions for 309 yards. For the season, Miller is third on the team with 31 catches for 358 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Jamaal Lewis is also having a solid season with 17 catches for 324 yards and five TDs. Sophomore Brent Miller (2 TDs) and senior Lee Burghgraef (1 TD) have also hauled in a TD pass this year. The tight end corps has combined for 11 of ASU's 31 receiving TDs (35%) and 58 of 244 (24%) catches. ASU also produced two-time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap of the Baltimore Ravens.
Attendance Marks: After six home games, ASU ranks third in the Pac-10 averaging 60,077 fans per game. A total of 360,461 fans have passed through the turnstiles at Sun Devil Stadium this season, including a sellout against USC (71,706) and over 60,000 fans against LSU (63,210) and Oregon (62,789). USC leads the conference averaging 90,716 fans at the Coliseum in four games.
All-Around Rudy: Sophomore Rudy Burgess has proven to be an all-around player and is averaging 108.9 all purpose yards per game. He has rushed for 424 yards (107 carries), caught 43 passes (443 yards) and is tied for the team with seven touchdowns (4 receiving, 3 rushing), and then tossed a touchdown at Washington State. Over his last four games, Burgess has caught 26 passes for 223 yards and one TD and rushed 53 times for 205 yards and one TD. In 21 career games, Burgess has combined for 2,159 all purpose yards, averaging 102.8 yards per game with 10 TDs.
Homecoming Hauls: Senior Matt Miller has made it a habit of performing well in ASU's Homecoming game. After catching a pair of touchdowns in 2004 against Stanford, including the game-winning score, Miller hauled in three TDs from Rudy Carpenter against Washington. He also recorded a career-high 139 yards on his five grabs and became the first Sun Devil since Derek Hagan last year against UCLA to catch three touchdown passes in a game.
Entering the game, Miller had snared 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. His performance against the Huskies brought his season totals to 17 catches for 392 yards and five touchdowns. He ranks tied for sixth on the team in receptions (17) and is tied for second with five touchdowns through the air.
Tough Schedule: Three of ASU's four losses this season have come against ranked opponents. The Sun Devils fell to then No. 5/5 LSU, No. 1/1 USC and No. 25 Oregon.
W Column: Dating to the end of the 2003, ASU has won 15 of its last 22 games and 10 of the last 13 home games. In 94 seasons of Sun Devil football, ASU is 521-318-24.
Taking Off Under Koetter: It's no secret that Dirk Koetter-led teams have the propensity for a strong vertical passing attack. That was apparent against Washington as Rudy Carpenter stepped into the starting line up and recorded 401 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-34 passing in his first collegiate start. Koetter has guided several impressive debuts of Sun Devil quarterbacks, including Sam Keller, Andrew Walter and Jeff Krohn. In his first start, Keller earned Sun Bowl MVP honors by throwing for 370 yards on 25-of-45 passing with three touchdowns. Walter become one of the highest ranking quarterbacks in both school and conference history under Koetter as he established program records for yards (10,617) and touchdowns (85), which also ranked fifth and first in the Pac-10, respectively. Krohn, who played his junior season during Koetter's first year at the helm, led the Sun Devils to a 38-7 defeat of San Diego State to open the 2001 season while throwing for 271 yards on 27-of-35 passing and four touchdowns.
Overall, Koetter has coached seven quarterbacks that have gone on to play in the professional ranks, including ASU's Walter (Oakland, 3rd round), Oregon's Joey Harrington (Detroit, 1st), Akili Smith (Cincinnati, 1st) and A.J. Feeley (Philadelphia, 5th), Boston College's Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle, 6th) and Boise State's Bart Hendricks (CFL Edmonton, FA) and Ryan Dinwiddie (Chicago, FA).
Sam I Am: Junior Sam Keller, who ranks seventh in the nation with 2,165 passing yards (155-264) and threw for 20 touchdowns in the first seven games, will miss the remainder of 2005 following surgery to repair damage to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand. Keller joined an elite list, becoming only the sixth quarterback in ASU history to throw 20 touchdowns in a season and is already tied for eighth in ASU single-season record book with John Torok (1964). Keller's 669 yards in the first two games set the school record (for first two games of a season), previously held by Jeff Krohn who had 637 combined yards in the first two games of 2001 (San Diego State and Stanford). With 56 attempts and no interceptions vs. fifth-ranked LSU (9/10/05), he also broke Paul Justin's record for consecutive attempts without an interception in a single game (51 vs. Houston, 1990). Keller had a string of 131 consecutive pass attempts without an INT snapped against top-ranked USC on Oct. 1, falling just six short of breaking the school record set by Mike Pagel in 1980.
Keller has thrown two or more TDs in seven of his eight career starts and has thrown four or more TDs six times this season. He set career marks with 35 completions, 56 attempts and 461 yards against No. 5 LSU (9/10). His 461 yards were the ninth-best single-game performance in school history, while he has also tied for 8th on the ASU single-game chart with four TDs four times this season.
Hagan's Highlights: Preseason All-American Derek Hagan is ASU's all-time leading receiver and is living up to the high expectations for his senior season. Over the last six games, Hagan has gained sole possession of the school's career receiving yards record (3,698) and TD record (26). He also holds the school career records for catches (242) and 100-yard games (18). With 46 catches over the last six games, Hagan leads the team with 61 catches for 969 yards and is fifth in the nation averaging 107.67 yards per game. His 61 grabs also is tied for the seventh-most in a single-season at ASU, giving him three of the top seven performances. Additionally, Hagan became just the 10th player in Pac-10 history to record 3,000 or more yards and 200 or more catches in a career and is currently second with 3,698 yards and is third with 242 catches. Hagan has 18 career 100-yard games, which is already five more than any other Sun Devil and his 193 yards against Oregon State are the 10th most in ASU single-game history. He has caught a pass in 38 consecutive games, which is the fourth-longest streak in the nation, and has at least one catch in 45 of 47 career games (three career games with 10 or more catches).
Hagan was a preseason first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Lindy's and Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, while Lindy's ranked 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 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.
2005 Division I-A Active Consecutive Reception Streak
Jovon Bouknight, WR, Wyoming 45
Charles Sharon, WR, Bowling Green State 43
Chris Francies, WR, UTEP 39
Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State 38
Hagan on Biletnikoff Award Watch List: A semifinalist last season, Derek Hagan is one of 31 players on the watch list for the 2005 Biletnikoff Award. The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc., hands out the award to the nation's top wide receiver. Through nine games, Hagan leads the Sun Devils with 61 catches for 969 yards and seven touchdowns. He also ranks fifth in the nation in yards per game (107.67) and is 16th in catches per game (6.78).
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. Here is a look at Hagan's career and 2005 game-by-game statistics:
Year G Rec Yds TD Lg Rec/G Avg/C Avg/G2002 14 32 405 0 51 2.3 12.7 28.92003 12 66 1076 9 80 5.5 16.3 89.72004 12 83 1248 10 79 6.9 15.0 104.02005 9 61 969 7 59 6.8 15.9 107.8Career 49 242 3698 26 80 4.9 15.3 75.4
Date Opponent No. Yds TD LongSep 01, 2005 Temple 3 53 2 31Sep 10, 2005 #5 LSU 7 95 0 24Sep 17, 2005 Northwestern 5 90 1 26Sep 24, 2005 at Oregon St. 11 193 2 45Oct 01, 2005 #1 USC 10 162 0 25Oct 08, 2005 #25 Oregon 4 46 1 20Oct 22, 2005 at Stanford 6 76 0 17Oct 29, 2005 Washington 9 115 0 24Nov. 5, 2005 at Wash. St. 6 139 1 59Totals 61 969 7 59
Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood: Senior linebacker Dale Robinson has picked up where the honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection left off last season. Robinson is second in the Pac-10 with 88 total tackles (54 solo, which leads the league). He is also tied for second in the league with 13.0 TFL's and has recorded four games this season with at least 10 tackles. Robinson was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 12 for the second time in his career. Against LSU, Robinson recorded 15 tackles (11 solo), one sack, 2.5 TFL and forced a fumble. In 21 career games in the Maroon and Gold, Robinson has recorded 181 total tackles (104 solo) and 26.0 TFL.
Getting Offensive: ASU set a school record with 773 yards of total offense in the 52-21 win over Northwestern (9/17) and have combined for 3,019 yards over the last six games (503.2 avg). The previous school record was 743 yards (232 rush/511 pass) set vs. Stanford in 1981. ASU ranks second in the Pac-10 and third nationally with 518.4 yards per game. The Devils also rank ninth nationally in scoring (37.67) and second in passing (381.6) offense.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard: ASU's 52-21 victory over Northwestern (9/17) marked the sixth time in Dirk Koetter's ASU career (2nd this season) that his team has scored 50 points or more. ASU's season-opening 63-16 win over Temple 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. This season, ASU ranks third in Pac-10 and ninth in the NCAA averaging 37.67 points per game.
Arizona State has averaged 31.4 points per game in Dirk Koetter's five years at the helm (1821 points/58 G). Since coming to ASU, a Koetter-led team has put at least 40 points on the scoreboard 16 times and 50 or more points on six occasions (12 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. 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.
Herring Aiming For Freshman Record: True freshman Keegan Herring ranks ninth in the Pac-10 averaging 71.3 yards per game. He recorded his second 100-yard game of the year with a 197-yard effort against Northwestern (9/17). Herring also rushed for 134 yards in his collegiate debut, marking 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. Against NU, Herring recorded a career-high 23 carries for 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The performance against the Wildcats was the 22nd best in ASU single-game history and the most by a Sun Devil since Delvon Flowers rushed for 226 yards against Oregon State in 2001. Herring's 67-yard run in the first quarter is ASU's longest this season and the longest by a Sun Devil since a 74-yard rush by Flowers vs. Stanford in 2001. In nine games this season, Herring has rushed for 642 yards and has five TDs. The ASU freshman record for rushing yards in a season is 773 set in 2003.
ASU is 243-45-5 (.838) in 293 career games when having a player gain at least 100 yards on the ground (12-7 under Dirk Koetter).
Top Freshman: Freshman Keegan Herring is one of the top freshman running backs in the country. Herring ranks ninth of all freshman rushers with 642 yards and is fifth with a 6.1 yards per rush average. His 197 yards against Northwestern is the fifth most by a freshman this season.
Hurting Hogs: Injuries have hit the offensive line hard this year as nine different Sun Devils have started up front in 2005. Stephen Berg was injured during the Washington game, leaving only one interior lineman left from the original starting line against Temple.
A Cat-anese on the Prowl: Junior Zach Catanese has wasted little time making the transition from junior college to Division I. The Shasta College transfer is second on the team and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 78 tackles (45 solo). The safety has also recorded one interception, 2.5 TFL and 2.0 sacks. Over the last five games, Catanese has recorded 46 tackles, including 13 each against USC and Oregon.
Third-Down: ASU ranks second in the Pac-10 going 66-for-135 (48.9%) on third-down conversions. Conversely, the Sun Devils rank fifth in the league in defensive third-down percentage, allowing a 37.7 conversion rate (49-of-130).
ASU Picked Third in Pac-10 Poll: Arizona State was picked third in the league's preseason poll of West Coast media. 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, Cal, 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. The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 22 of 44 previous polls, including the last five years.
Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll (first-place votes)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
Who's Back: The Sun Devils returned 48 letterwinners this season, including 13 starters and three specialists. The eight returning offensive starters 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 returned 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 included DE Kyle Caldwell, DT Jordan Hill, LB Dale Robinson, LB Jamar Williams and CB Josh Golden. Josh Barrett also returned after starting four games at safety last season. ASU's specialists are also all back, including placekicker Jesse Ainsworth, punter Chris MacDonald and snapper Jason Burke.
Home-Field Advantage: ASU'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 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). With the 44-20 defeat of Washington, ASU has now won 10 of its last 13 home games. 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 (7-0). ASU's 1986 Rose Bowl team went 6-0-1, while the Sun Devils have turned in 10 undefeated home campaigns in the 46 seasons since opening Sun Devil Stadium in 1958.
Jamar Williams Named Pac-10 POW: Senior Jamar Williams was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week (9/26) after recording a career-high 13 tackles (9 solo) against Oregon State. It was his fifth career performance with 10 or more tackles, bettering his previous career high of 12 tackles at Washington State in 2003. In eight games this season, Williams is third on the team with 53 tackles (36 solo). He recorded nine solo tackles and his seventh career interception vs. Oregon before adding the eight picked pass of his career against Washington. In 45 career games, Williams has recorded 239 total tackles.
Ainsworth a Candidate for Lou Groza Award: Junior Jesse Ainsworth was 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.
In nine games, Ainsworth leads the team in scoring with 61 points (6 FG, 43 PAT) and has recorded a touchback on 35 of his 59 kickoffs. Dating back to the 2003 season, Ainsworth has connected on 87 straight PAT attempts and is 34-for-50 (68.0) in his career on field goals. He also took over the punting duties against Washington, kicking three times for 125 yards and a 41.7 average with one kick inside the 20 against the Huskies.
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).
Caldwell on Hendricks Award Watch List: Junior 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 NFL Hall of Famer, the award is based on several criteria including on-field performance, leadership abilities and contributions to school and community. Sun Devil 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. In seven games this season, Caldwell has battled through injuries to record 14 tackles.
Miller on Mackey Award Watch List: The Nassau County Sports Commission announced that sophomore Zach Miller has been named to the John Mackey Award Watch List. 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 Time: Sophomore 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.
In seven games this season (missed NU/OSU games), Miller has 31 catches for 358 yards (11.5 avg.) and three touchdowns. He recorded a season-high 10 catches for 98 yards and one TD at Washington State.
With his 87 career catches, Miller ranks fourth all-time among tight ends in ASU history. As a freshman in 2004, Miller 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. Miller entered the season tabbed a first-team All-American by Street and Smith's and College Football News, while Lindy's ranked him as the fourth-best tight end in the country. He continues to climb the ASU career charts and already ranks fourth in receiving yards by a tight end (910) and third in touchdowns by a tight end (9).
Keller Named to Maxwell Award Watch List: Junior Sam Keller was named to the watch list for 2005 Maxwell Award, which is annually presented to the collegiate player of the year. In six games, Keller has placed his name at the top of the watch list, ranking tied for fourth in the NCAA with 20 touchdown passes and seventh with 2,165 yards.
Love a Candidate for Outland Trophy: Senior 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. He has also been selected as a finalist (announced Oct. 27) for the 2005 Draddy Trophy, also known as the 'Academic Heisman', awarded to the student-athlete who best combines academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. Love, who graduated in May of 2004, was a National Scholar-Athlete Award winner last season.
A four-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 2004 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.
MacDonald on Ray Guy Watch List: Sophomore punter Chris MacDonald was named to the 2005 Ray Guy Award Watch List, the award given annually to the top collegiate punter. MacDonald is one of only three sophomores to make the list of 40 punters. Last season, MacDonald punted 64 times, averaging 43.1 yards a kick. 16 of those kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Academic Achievements: ASU'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 Rosters:Miami (Fla.)...............11Auburn......................9Boston College..............9Louisiana Tech..............8Virginia Tech...............8Alabama.....................7Arizona State...............7Kentucky....................7Notre Dame..................7Arkansas....................6