Sun Devils Return Home to Face Stanford in Homecoming Game
Oct. 16, 2006
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Date: Saturday, October 21, 2006
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.
Site: Sun Devil Stadium (71,706), Tempe, Ariz.
Sun Devil Radio: KTAR 620 AM & KMVP/ESPN Radio 860
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
Play-by-Play: Ivan Lara
Color: Former Sun Devil All-American OL Juan Roque
The Sun Devils are currently in the midst of a stretch which has them playing home only twice in seven games.
Arizona State and Stanford have alternated in victories the last five seasons with Stanford winning in 2001, `03 and `05 and ASU winning in 2002 and `04. Stanford won last season's meeting 45-35 in Palo Alto, Calif.
Junior All-America TE Zach Miller (115 career receptions) needs one reception to pass former Sun Devil All-America and current Baltimore Ravens TE Todd Heap (115 receptions) for the most career receptions by a Sun Devil tight end. He needs 122 yards receiving to pass former Sun Devil tight end Joe Petty for third on ASU's all-time list for most receiving yards by a tight end.
Senior PK Jesse Ainsworth (260 career points) needs 18 points to pass former Sun Devil Mike Barth (1999-02) for second on ASU's all-time list for most points.
Currently with 1,092 career kickoff return yards, senior Terry Richardson needs 134 yards to pass former Sun Devil Chris Hopkins (1992-95) for most career kickoff return yards. In ASU's last home game vs. Oregon (Sept. 30), Richardson became the first Sun Devil to return a kickoff for a touchdown in Sun Devil Stadium since 1986 when he tied a school record with a 100-yard return.
ASU's defense is allowing an average of only 7.5 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only seven points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 134.5 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
The Sun Devil defense has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season.
Currently with 20 sacks, the Sun Devil defense needs two more sacks to tie its sack total from the entire 2005 season.
TEMPE, Ariz. - After playing three of their last four games on the road, Arizona State (3-3, 0-3 Pac-10) returns home this week to host the Stanford Cardinal (0-7, 0-4 Pac-10) in the annual homecoming game (Sat., Oct. 21, 12:30 p.m.). Since winning their first three contests of the season the Sun Devils have dropped their last three games to the top three teams in the Pac-10, most recently a hard-fought 28-21 setback to the No. 3 USC Trojans last week in Los Angeles. In that game the Sun Devils fought back from a 21-point deficit to tie the game only to see the Trojans score a late touchdown for the win.
LAST GAME (USC 28, ASU 21)
For the second time in as many seasons Arizona State pushed undefeated and No. 3 USC to the limit, however in the end came up just short, falling 28-21 before a crowd of 91,126 at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
One year earlier the Sun Devils jumped out to a 21-3 lead against USC in Tempe before a furious Trojan rally saw the eventual Pac-10 champion and national title game participant come from behind for a 38-28 win. This season it was nearly the Sun Devils who battled back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit against a team which came into the game having won 50 of its last 52 games, including its last 29 at home.
The Trojans scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to jump out to a 21-0 lead. Determined not to let the game get away, the Sun Devils would answer USC's quick flurry with a workmanlike 11-play, 84-yard drive that consumed 5:48 off the clock. TB Ryan Torain, who had a 36-yard reception on third and 21 to extend the drive for ASU, capped the march with a six-yard touchdown run to get the Sun Devils on the board and cut USC's lead to 21-7.
In the third quarter the Sun Devil defense stepped forward to get ASU back into the game. On USC's opening possession of the second half, Sun Devil DE Kyle Caldwell stormed through USC's line and pried the ball loose from Trojan QB John David Booty. LB Gerald Munns recovered the ball and set up the Sun Devil offense at the Trojan 30-yard line. QB Rudy Carpenter would take it from there eventually hooking up with TE Zach Miller on an eight-yard scoring strike to get the Sun Devils within a touchdown at 21-14.
Later in the third quarter the ASU defense struck again when CB Keno Walter White stepped in front of a Booty pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to knot the score at 21-21.
The two teams would exchange punts before the Trojans took control of the game with a 14-play, 74-yard drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock. Trojan RB Chauncey Washington put the Trojans up for good with a two-yard scoring run to give USC a 28-21 lead.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter Said ...
'This is the hardest we have competed this year. We still made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. But this is the hardest we competed ... We played three very good football teams in a row, all picked ahead of us. If we can weather the storm from an emotion and confidence standpoint, our team is capable of playing some good football ... [Rudy Carpenter] was much more like himself. We had a conservative game plan. At one point in the third quarter, he came to me and said that he was ready. He had that fire in his eyes and made some plays with his legs.'
ASU-USC POST-GAME NOTES
The Sun Devils had one sack at USC giving them 20 for the season. They now need two more sacks to equal their sack total from entire 2005 season (22).
With his PAT in the second quarter, senior K Jesse Ainsworth passed Luis Zendejas (137) as the school's record holder for most made PATs. Ainsworth made three PATs in the game and now has 140 for his career.
Keno Walter White's 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter was the third interception returned for a touchdown by the Sun Devils this season. Junior CB Chris Baloney returned one 35 yards for a score in the season opener vs. Northern Arizona and freshman S Ryan McFoy returned another 30 yards vs. Nevada.
Opponents have still scored only seven points versus Arizona State in the third quarter in 2006 following USC's scoreless third quarter on Saturday.
The Sun Devil defense held the Trojans to their lowest totals of the season in both net yards passing (148 yards) and total offense (307 yards). USC came into the game averaging 249.6 yards per game in the former and 413.4 yards per game in the latter.
The 307 yards in total offense were the fewest for the Trojans since Oct. 9, 2004 when they had only 205 yards in total offense in a 23-17 win vs. Cal.
USC's 148 passing yards were its fewest since it threw for 87 yards in the 2000 season opener vs. Penn State (Aug. 27, 2000).
The Sun Devil defense limited USC QB John David Booty to a completion percentage of only 48 percent, the first time this season that Booty failed to complete more than 50 percent of his passes. Booty came into the game with a completion rate of 65.4 percent.
Zach Miller's eight-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter represented the first time an opposing offense has scored a touchdown against the Trojans defense in the third quarter this season.
Miller had four receptions at USC giving him 115 career receptions which ties him with former Sun Devil Todd Heap for the most receptions in school history by a tight end.
Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter reeled off a 38-yard run in the first quarter. It was the longest run of Carpenter's career and the second-longest run by a Sun Devil this season.
ASU-STANFORD SERIES NOTES
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Stanford 13-9, including a 8-3 record in games played at Sun Devil Stadium.
The two teams have alternated in victories the last five seasons with Stanford winning in 2001, `03 and `05 and ASU winning in 2002 and `04. Stanford won last season's meeting 45-35 in Palo Alto, Calif.
DEVILS DEFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT
Despite no shortage of effort and having the Pac-10 co-Defensive Player of the Year (Dale Robinson), the ASU defense endured a tough season in 2005, finishing the season ranked 114th in total defense and 86th in scoring defense.
Through six games in 2006, the unit has shown improvement under second-year defensive coordinator Bill Miller, who twice in his coaching career has been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, which is given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
Below are some of the highlights from ASU's defense through the season's first six games:
Recorded 20 sacks, only two fewer sacks than it had (22) the entire 2005 season (12 games).
ASU's is 12th in the nation with 3.3 sacks per game.
Returned three interceptions for touchdowns (junior CB Chris Baloney vs. NAU, freshman S Ryan McFoy vs. Nevada, senior CB Keno Walter White at USC).
Colorado's 219 yards in total offense was the fifth-best defensive effort by ASU in Koetter's five-plus seasons at ASU while the Buffaloes' 86 yards passing was the third-best defensive passing effort under Koetter.
Held USC to its lowest totals of the season in both net yards passing (148 yards) and total offense (307 yards). USC came into the game averaging 249.6 yards per game in the former and 413.4 yards per game in the latter. The 307 yards in total offense were the fewest for the Trojans since Oct. 9, 2004 when they had only 205 yards in total offense in a 23-17 win vs. Cal. USC's 148 passing yards were its fewest since it threw for 87 yards in the 2000 season opener vs. Penn State (Aug. 27, 2000).
The Colorado offense failed to score a touchdown marking the first time the ASU defense has not allowed a touchdown since a 44-7 win at home against Iowa on Sept. 18, 2004. Iowa's only touchdown in that game came on a punt return.
Allowed just 53 net rushing yards to NAU, ASU's best effort since holding Stanford to 37 yards on Nov. 6, 2004. It also marked the seventh-best defensive rushing effort under Koetter.
Is allowing an average of only 7.5 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only seven points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 134.5 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
In his first start as a Sun Devil vs. NAU (Aug. 31), senior LB Derron Ware had four tackles for loss, including four sacks.
Has allowed only four rushing touchdowns in 2006.
CARPENTER GETS THE CALL
Sophomore Rudy Carpenter is in the midst of his first full season as ASU's starting quarterback after being forced into duty midway through last season.
Despite not starting until the eighth game of the 2005 season, Carpenter finished the year ranked first in the nation with a school record 175.01 passer efficiency rating while also ranking third nationally in completion percentage (68.4). He also threw for a team-high and school freshman record 2,273 yards to go along with 17 touchdown passes. In addition, he achieved a nation-leading and team record-low interception percentage (.008), after throwing two interceptions out of 228 total passing attempts. He capped-off his phenomenal rookie campaign by earning Offensive Player of the Game honors for his role in ASU's victory against Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl. In that game, Carpenter accounted for ASU individual bowl game records of 467 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
Currently 7-4 as a starter, Carpenter passed for 333 yards and a career-best five touchdown passes (to five different receivers) in ASU's 52-21 win over Nevada (Sept. 9).
MILLER AMONG NATION'S ELITE TIGHT ENDS
Through six games in 2006, junior All-America TE Zach Miller has continued to prove why he is regarded as one of the top players in the country at his position. Miller currently leads the Sun Devils in receptions (21), receiving yards (203) and touchdown receptions (3).
After two and a half seasons Miller, who was named to the 2006 John Mackey Award Watch List, is at or near the top of the career standards for ASU tight ends in touchdown receptions (13, first), receptions (115, tied for first) and receiving yards (1,231, fourth).
Miller's 98 catches in 2004-05 were more than any other tight end in the nation the last two seasons while his receiving yardage and touchdown totals were also the second-most in the nation at his position during that same duration.
According to his head coach, it is not only his ability as a receiver that makes him such a special player.
'In my opinion, Zach Miller is one of the best blocking tight ends in the nation,' Koetter said. 'He gets a ton of credit for his acrobatic catches, but when you watch cut-ups you see what a tremendous blocker he is.'
After his freshman season, Miller earned second-team All-America honors, just one of four freshmen to earn first team or second-team All-American accolades that season. Miller also earned first-team Freshman All-American accolades for his successful 2004 season. In 2004, he was named the Pacific-10 Conference Freshman of the Year, becoming just the second Sun Devil to earn the honor (Terrell Suggs, 2000).
As a freshman, Miller broke the ASU record for receptions in a season by a tight end with 56. His 56 receptions in 2004 tied for the most receptions in the NCAA by a tight end. Along with his 56 receptions, he tallied 552 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In 2005, Miller missed some time with an injury and still managed the team's third-highest amount of receptions with 38, four of which were touchdowns. He also recorded 476 receiving yards for an average of 12.5 yards per reception.
Already the school record holder for most touchdowns by a tight end (13), Miller needs one reception and 455 receiving yards to become the school's career leader for a tight end in each of the aforementioned categories.
COVERING A LOT OF TORAIN
Junior college transfer TB Ryan Torain has proven to be one of the best additions to the Sun Devils offense in 2006. After demonstrating his ability to be a steady contributor in the season's first three games, Torain had a breakout performance at California (Sept. 23), when he rushed for a career-best 191 yards (Sept 23). Many of Torain's yards against the Golden Bears were earned after initial contact with Cal's defenders as he broke numerous tackles throughout the game. One week later against the Oregon Ducks (Sept. 30), Torain led the Sun Devils with 113 yards rushing on 19 carries. It was the third time this season that Torain has led the Sun Devils in rushing.
Through six games, Torain leads the Sun Devils in rushing with 524 yards and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 87.3 yards per game. He has seven carries of 15 yards or more, including a team-high 40-yard run vs. Nevada (Sept. 9).
In addition to his ability to run with the football, Torain has also displayed a talent for receiving, too. He is currently tied for third on the team with 10 receptions for 120 yards and two scores.
When a team ranks third in the country in passing offense (as ASU did last year) it would not be hard to understand why its running game, no matter how solid, might be overlooked. Last season the Sun Devils averaged 145.7 yards per game, their highest average since head coach Dirk Koetter's first year at ASU in 2001. Through six games this season the Sun Devils are averaging 164.2 yards rushing per game. To put that number in perspective, if the Sun Devils were to keep up that pace, it would be the first time since 2001 that they averaged more than 150 yards on the ground.
ASU has no shortage of talent in its backfield, which includes sophomore Keegan Herring, who led the team in rushing last season with 870 yards; sophomore Shaun DeWitty, a 6-2, 215-pound back who had a solid spring for ASU; junior college transfer Ryan Torain, who rushed for more than 800 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore at Butler (Kan.) CC despite missing four games with an injury; and freshman Dimitri Nance, who ran up career totals of 3,173 yards and 41 touchdowns during his high school career.
The aforementioned quartet of running backs combined for 142 yards rushing (5.1 per-carry average) in ASU's season-opening victory over Northern Arizona (Aug. 31). Nance led the way with 61 yards and one score. The following week against Nevada (Sept. 9), Torain led ASU's rushing attack with 70 yards on only eight carries (8.8-yard average). Torain's night included a 15-yard TD run in addition to a 40-yard scamper, the longest rush by an ASU player in 2006. In addition to Torain's success, DeWitty tallied a touchdown reception for the second consecutive week, this one a 22-yard strike from QB Rudy Carpenter.
At Colorado (Sept. 16), the Sun Devils rushed for 182 yards, the 10th-best rushing performance under Koetter and the second-best on the road. Herring (82 yards) and Torain (80 yards) combined for 162 of ASU's yards against the Buffaloes, who came into the game No. 6 in the NCAA in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (32.5) and No. 4 in the country in per-carry average (0.9). ASU averaged 4.0 yards per carry at Colorado.
At California (Sept. 23), the Sun Devils had their best ever rushing performance on the road under Koetter as they gained 237 yards, including a career-best 191 yards from Torain. One week later ASU ran for 142 yards against Oregon (Sept. 30). Torain once again paced the backfield with 113 yards on 19 carries.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS FOR T-RICH
During his Sun Devil career, senior WR/KR/PR Terry Richardson has proven to be one of ASU's biggest threats for a big play anytime he touches the football, particularly when he is bringing back punts and kickoffs.
Last month versus Oregon (Sept. 30) Richardson became the first Sun Devil to return a kickoff for a touchdown in Sun Devil Stadium since 1986 when he tied a school record with a 100-yard return vs. Oregon. It was his third touchdown on a return the last two seasons after scoring on a pair of punt returns in 2005. Currently Richardson ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 6 in the country in kickoff returns (33.56 yard average). Richardson is also ranked No. 3 in the Pac-10 and No. 17 in the country in punt returns, averaging 11.22 yards per return.
Richardson, who earned Second Team All-America honors last season from SI.com, was named the US Bank Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in last season's game against USC. His 84-yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter against the Trojans (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 an 89-yarder against California in 1992.
In the last regular season game of 2005 Richardson would deliver again with a momentum-turning return of 71 yards against Arizona for a touchdown that tied the game in the fourth quarter. It made him the sixth Sun Devil overall and first since Ron Washington (1977) to return a pair of kicks for touchdowns in a season.
Richardson ended last season No. 2 in the Pac-10 and No. 7 in the nation with an average of 15.3 yards per punt return while also sitting third in the Pac-10 and No. 15 in the nation with an average of 27.4 yards on kickoff returns. Both his punt (337 yards) and kick return (629) yardage totals for the season were good enough to make into the top five of the school's all-time single-season annals. On offense, Richardson finished fourth on the team with 37 catches for 495 yards (13.4 avg.) and five touchdowns.
JUST FOR KICKS
In his three-plus seasons Jesse Ainsworth has made it a habit of being nearly perfect on PAT attempts, missing just three times in 143 tries. [Dating back to the final game of the 2003 season when he connected on 4-of-4 PATs to start his current streak of 119 in a row, a school record.]
Ainsworth, who was a perfect 53-of-53 last season after going 40-of-40 in 2004, moved past former program record holder Luis Zendejas, who netted 75 from 1981-83. Ainsworth tied Zendejas' mark when he connected on a try following ASU's first touchdown against Oregon last season, a 20-yard touchdown reception by Derek Hagan in the first quarter. In the third stanza, Ainsworth hit home the record-breaking 76th PAT in a row. Ainsworth's 53 PATs last season put him fourth in ASU's record books for the most PATs made in a single season.
Ainsworth's 40 field goals are third-most in a Sun Devil career and he needs 10 more to move into second place. He also is just the sixth kicker in school annals to score 200 or more points as his 260 points are 18 points behind Mike Barth (1999-2002) for second on the list.
ASUS TO HONOR '86 & '96 ROSE BOWL TEAMS
Scheduled in conjunction with ASU's football game against Washington State University at Sun Devil Stadium on November 11, ASU will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1986 Rose Bowl team and the 10th anniversary of the 1996 Rose Bowl team.
Former Sun Devil head football coaches John Cooper (1986) and Bruce Snyder (1996) have been contacted and have committed to attend the weekend's festivities.
The 1986 Sun Devils captured the Pac-10 title and culminated their season with a 22-15 victory over Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl. It was the first Rose Bowl appearance in ASU history. The team would finish its season with a 10-1-1 record.
The 1996 Sun Devils had an undefeated regular season before falling to Ohio State in the 1997 Rose Bowl. Highlights of the year included shutting out top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Nebraska 19-0 on Sept. 21, 1996 and overcoming a three-touchdown deficit to beat UCLA on the road.
ESPN2 AND ESPNU TO SHOWCASE 1997 ROSE BOWL
ASU's epic showdown with The Ohio State University in the 1997 Rose Bowl has been selected by ESPN2 and ESPNU to be a part of its new original series ESPNU Honor Roll: College Football's Top 10. The series will be hosted by ESPN's Rece Davis from the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., and will count down college football categories, such as Honor Roll: Greatest Quarterbacks and Honor Roll: Greatest Rivalries.
The Jan. 1, 1997 matchup pitting the No. 2, Pacific-10 Conference Champion Sun Devils against the No. 4 Buckeyes will be showcased among the Honor Roll: College Football's Greatest Bowl Games edition of the series, to air Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Each episode of the series will rank the top picks from 10 to one, and each of the Top 10 lists were determined through a combination of fan votes and ESPN college football experts' opinions.
The Sun Devils will go back on the road to take on the Washington Huskies (Sat., Oct. 29, kickoff TBA). Although the Huskies are a regular conference opponent, it will be ASU's first trip to Seattle since the 1999 season.