White Defeats Maroon 31-7 in Arizona State's Annual Spring Game
April 15, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz - Led by the offensive trio of sophomore QB Rudy Carpenter (302 yards passing, four touchdown passes); redshirt freshman RB Shaun DeWitty (121 yards rushing, 21 yards and one touchdown receiving) and sophomore WR Michael Jones (seven receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns) the White Team defeated the Maroon Team 31-7 in Arizona State's annual spring football game held at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday.
First-string QB Sam Keller, who missed the last five games of last season with a thumb injury, completed 19 of 35 passes for 135 yards with one interception for the Maroon Team. Keller started the first seven games of the 2005 season, throwing 20 TDs in those seven starts before suffering the thumb injury. Carpenter came in and led the Sun Devils to a 4-1 record in his five starts and led the country in passing efficiency.
'I thought both quarterbacks made good decisions today,' said Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter. 'I'm the happiest guy in America. We have two great quarterbacks ... Don't you wish we had this problem at every position? How good would we be? It is the greatest thing in the world.'
After redshirting last season, DeWitty is expected to contribute this season and challenge starter Keegan Herring for playing time at running back. Herring ran for 52 yards on eight carries with one touchdown on Saturday.
'That is an excellent battle right now,' said Koetter about the competition at running back. 'DeWitty is right up there as one of the most improved players this spring. Keegan had a good spring overall as well. You have to give Keegan credit because we are out there throwing him passes and he is playing with that big cast on his hand, too.'
One of the questions heading into next season will be replacing the contributions of WR Derek Hagan, who ended his Sun Devil career last season as the Pac-10's all-time leader in receptions. Coming through with a big day on Saturday was Jones, who last season caught four passes for 22 yards in 11 games.
'Mike Jones has been our most consistent receiver all spring of the wide receiver group and I think you could see that today,' said Koetter. 'Brandon Smith I think you can see flashes of being an outstanding player ... We are used to seeing No. 80 (Hagan) out there ... Our receiving crew when we get it all put together will be fine.'
In addition to his duties as tailback, wide receiver and kick returner, junior Rudy Burgess also played at cornerback this spring, something that Koetter said went well.
'I'm very pleased with how that went (with Burgess playing CB) because now I know Rudy can play three positions,' said Koetter. 'I know he can play tailback, I know he can play wide receiver and I know he can play corner and that is going to give us a lot of flexibility in the fall in terms of how we plug him in.
'(Junior) Justin Tryon and (junior) Chris Baloney are the real deal at cornerback,' said Koetter. 'I'm excited about (Tryon and Baloney). If they can get the job done then Rudy will be playing on offense. If we get in an injury situation then this spring will be very well worth the price of training him at corner. You can see when Rudy plays corner he is still a playmaker. He does not give up big plays. He is a smart football player and a really valuable guy to have.'
Overall, Koetter was really pleased with how the spring went.
'I'm excited,' said Koetter. 'I wish we could take a week off and get into fall camp, but that is not the way it works.'
The Sun Devils enter the 2006 season coming off bowl wins in back-to-back seasons. They open up next season on August 31 when they host Northern Arizona.
Spring Game Statistics
Passing Sam Keller 19-35-135-1 INT
Rushing: Keegan Herring 8-52-1 TD
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