Sun Devils Travel to Pacific Northwest to Face Wasington
Oct. 23, 2006
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Date: Saturday, October 28, 2006
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. PT
Site: Husky Stadium (72,500), Seattle, Wash.
Television: FSN Northwest & FSN Arizona
Play-by-Play: Brian Davis
Color: Sonny Sixkiller and Dale Hellestrae
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
The Sun Devils are currently in the midst of a stretch which has them playing on the road five times in seven games.
Despite playing in the same conference, this will be ASU's first trip to Seattle to play the Huskies since the 1999 season.
Junior All-America TE Zach Miller (1,263 career receiving yards) needs 90 yards to pass former Sun Devil tight end Joe Petty (1970-72) for third on ASU's all-time list for most receiving yards by a tight end.
QB Rudy Carpenter will be facing the team he made the first start of his career against last season. In that game, a 44-20 ASU win, Carpenter threw for 401 yards and three scores.
ASU's defense is allowing an average of only 6.9 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only 10 points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 127.7 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 23 sacks, the Sun Devil defense has already surpassed its sack total from last season (22).
ASU's defense has given up an average of only 107 passing yards in its last two games while allowing opposing QBs to complete only 38 percent (19-50) of their passes during that span. In addition, ASU has allowed only one touchdown in its last six quarters of play.
Junior TB Ryan Torain currently ranks No. 5 in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 87.7 yards per game. Torain has scored eight touchdowns for the Sun Devils in 2006 (five rushing and three receiving).
Senior PK Jesse Ainsworth (268 career points) needs 10 points to pass former Sun Devil Mike Barth (1999-02) for second on ASU's all-time list for most points.
After playing running back, wide receiver, punt returner and kick returner in his first two seasons, junior Rudy Burgess started at cornerback in last week's 38-3 win over Stanford.
LAST GAME (ASU 38, Stanford 3)
A steady offensive attack combined with a relentless defensive effort enabled Arizona State to snap a three-game losing streak, beating the Stanford Cardinal 38-3 before a Homecoming crowd of 53,323 at Sun Devil Stadium.
One week after pushing the No. 3 team in the nation to the limit, ASU showed no letdown in capturing its first Pac-10 win of the season. QB Rudy Carpenter was nearly flawless, completing 14-of-15 passes for 160 yards and one score. Carpenter was aided by a productive rushing attack which accounted for 206 yards and four touchdowns. TB Ryan Torain led the way for the Sun Devils, gaining 90 yards on 17 carries and scoring one touchdown. Torain also added another touchdown receiving.
The Sun Devils were equally dominant on the defensive side of the ball in limiting the Cardinal to only 145 yards in total offense, the second-best defensive showing under head coach Dirk Koetter. ASU forced three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) and allowed Stanford QB T.C. Ostrander to complete only 28 percent of his passes (seven of 25) while also sacking him (twice) and Cardinal backup QB Tavita Pritchard (once) three times.
The Sun Devils wasted no time going on the offensive, scoring on their first three drives - 59 yards (27-yard TD pass from Carpenter to Torain), 68 yards (19-yard FG by Jesse Ainsworth) and 70 yards (Torain two-yard scoring run) - to take an early 17-0 lead. By halftime Torain had amassed 84 yards rushing and Carpenter was a perfect 8-8 passing for 87 yards and one score.
ASU scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the third quarter to extend its lead to 31-0. Both touchdowns came courtesy of TB Keegan Herring, who had scoring runs of eight and six yards. Carpenter's consecutive completions streak would eventually reach 12 as he fell one shy of tying the school's single-game record for consecutive completions.
Stanford would get its only points with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter when K Aaron Zagory connected from 35 yards. ASU TB Dimitri Nance would close out the day's scoring in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard scoring run, which capped a nine-play 57-yard drive.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter Said ...
'I thought our guys played very hard again. We were efficient in all phases ... We ran the ball well. Rudy Carpenter managed the game well. I think the guys really played the game plan and exactly how we set it up. In a game like this you have to be methodical about it and that is the way they executed ... Ryan Torain got us off to a good start and I think we showed our depth at tailback, even though Shaun DeWitty continues to be out. We scored with three different tailbacks ... We held the Stanford offense to 145 yards and about 50 of those yards came on one play when we missed a tackle ... I think our defense is getting better and better. We're getting into the home stretch here with the Pac-10 and we're just taking it week to week.'
ASU-STANFORD POST-GAME NOTES
The Sun Devils shut out the Cardinal in the first half, marking the first time this season Arizona State did not allow a point in the opening half of play (Colorado scored its only three points of the game in the first quarter in Week 3).
Stanford's three points for the game represented the second time this season that a team scored no more than three points in a game (Colorado also scored three points on Sept. 16). It marks the first time that ASU has held multiple opponents to three or fewer points in the same season since 1993 when three ASU opponents scored three or fewer points.
The Sun Devil defense allowed Stanford to gain only 145 yards in total offense, marking the second-best defensive showing under Dirk Koetter. The best showing came against Iowa in Tempe on September 20, 2004, when the Sun Devils limited the Hawkeyes to 100 total yards.
ASU limited Stanford to its third-lowest passing total (66 yards) and ninth-lowest total yard (145) outputs in program history.
ASU's defense sacked Stanford quarterbacks three times, raising the Sun Devils' total to 23 on the year, one more than all of last season.
TE Zach Miller caught a six-yard pass from Rudy Carpenter on the first offensive play of the game to bring his career receptions total to 116, surpassing Todd Heap (1998-00) for the top spot for tight end receptions at Arizona State. Miller ended the game with four receptions for 32 yards, moving him closer to passing Joe Petty (1,352 yards) for third and Ken Dyer (1,365 yards) on the school's career tight end receiving yardage list. Miller now has 1,263 yards receiving.
For just the third time this year, the Sun Devil offense found the end zone on its opening possession as Ryan Torain scored on a 27-yard pass from Carpenter. Carpenter hooked up with Torain on a nine-yard strike to open the California game while Carpenter and Z. Miller (two-yard scoring pass) started the scoring in the Nevada game.
Carpenter opened the game 5-for-5 passing in the first quarter before going 3-for-3 in the second quarter, ending the first 30 minutes of play with 87 yards on 8-for-8 passing and one touchdown. Carpenter then completed his next four passes before failing to connect with Z. Miller in the end zone in the third quarter. His streak of 12 consecutive completions fell one short of tying the school record of 13 set by Dick Mackey vs. San Diego Navy in 1952.
Carpenter finished the game with 160 yards on 14-for-15 passing and one touchdown. His .933 completion percentage vs. Stanford ranked as the best in a single game (10-15 attempts) for the Sun Devils, bettering the .818 percentage put up by John Hangartner (9-of-11) vs. San Jose State in 1957 and Dave Graybill (9-of-11) vs. San Jose State in 1956.
Following the opening touchdown, the Sun Devils scored on their next two possessions (field goal followed by touchdown before punting). The last time the Sun Devils had scored on three or more possessions in a row this season came during the Nevada game when they ended the first half with two touchdowns and one field goal before opening the second half with two touchdowns in a row (five possessions in a row).
Arizona State gained 206 yards on the ground vs. Stanford, the eighth-best showing under Koetter in his six seasons in Tempe. The total marks the ninth time the Sun Devils have accumulated 200-plus yards on the ground under Koetter.
PK Jesse Ainsworth connected on all five of his extra point attempts vs. Stanford, extending his school-record conversion streak to 124 in a row while also extending his school-record total to 145. Along with one field goal on the day, Ainsworth has now scored 267 points and stands just 10 behind second-place Mike Barth (1999-02) on the all-time list.
With their victory vs. Stanford, the Sun Devils continued a recent trend in their series with the Cardinal by alternating victories over the past six years. Arizona State won the games played in 2002 and 2004 before winning today while Stanford had captured wins in 2001, 2003 and 2005.
ASU-WASHINGTON SERIES NOTES
Washington leads the all-time series 15-10 (7-3 in Seattle) dating back to the first meeting between the two schools in 1975, a 35-12 ASU victory.
This will be the first time ASU has traveled to Seattle since 1999. Since then ASU and Washington have met four times - all at Sun Devil Stadium.
The Sun Devils have won the last two meetings, most recently a 44-20 win last season in the first start of Rudy Carpenter's ASU career. In that game, Carpenter completed 27-of-34 for 401 yards and three scores. Prior to ASU's last two wins, Washington had won four of five games from 1997-2001.
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 seven 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 seven games:
Allowing 125.9 fewer yards per game in total offense compared to last season.
Recorded 23 sacks, one more than ASU had the entire 2005 season. ASU is currently tied for 13th in the nation with 3.29 sacks per game.
ASU's 23 sacks have come from 14 different players.
Returned three interceptions for touchdowns (junior CB Chris Baloney vs. NAU, freshman S Ryan McFoy vs. Nevada, senior CB Keno Walter White at USC).
Allowed Stanford (Oct. 21) to gain only 145 yards in total offense, marking the second-best defensive showing under Dirk Koetter. The best showing came against Iowa in Tempe on September 20, 2004, when the Sun Devils limited the Hawkeyes to 100 total yards.
Stanford's three points for the game represented the second time this season that a team scored no more than three points in a game (Colorado also scored three points on Sept. 16). It marked the first time that ASU held multiple opponents to three or fewer points in the same season since 1993 when three ASU opponents scored three or fewer points.
Allowed Colorado (Sept. 16) to gain only 219 yards in total offense, the (then) fifth-best defensive effort by ASU under Koetter. The Colorado offense failed to score a touchdown marking the first time the ASU defense did not allow 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.
Held USC (Oct. 14) 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).
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 6.9 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only 10 points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 127.7 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
Has allowed only four rushing touchdowns in 2006.
IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN'T DO?
Even before this season began ASU junior Rudy Burgess was lauded by football people for his remarkable versatility. In his first two seasons Burgess proved to be one of ASU's most potent threats whenever he had the ball in his hands be it as a running back, a receiver, a punt returner or a kick returner. Last season Burgess was ASU's second leading rusher and receiver and let the team with 10 touchdowns.
Burgess added another accomplishment to his already impressive resume when he started at cornerback vs. Stanford. Although he took reps at cornerback last spring, Burgess remained on the offensive side of the ball this season until an injury in the secondary necessitated the move.
'I think I did pretty well for my first game at cornerback,' Burgess said following his first defensive start. 'We used a nice rotation to keep me healthy and fresh on the field; it was fun. At the beginning they were going up top and throwing some short routes to test the waters a little bit, I think I covered them pretty well. I think throughout the game they figured out that all of our corners are decent and they had to try to find something else that would work for them.'
'[Playing defense] is not that much different other than you are running backwards and having guys running at you instead of the other way around. Being a receiver did help me out knowing what routes the receivers were going to run.'
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 8-4 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). In his most recent outing vs. Stanford (Oct. 21), Carpenter nearly tied the school single-game record for consecutive completions (13). He completed his first 12 passes, but missed on his 13th. He would go on to finish the game 14-15 for 160 yards and one touchdown. Carpenter's .933 percent completion percentage vs. Stanford set the school single-game record for highest completion percentage (10-15 attempts). The school record holder for most consecutive attempts without an interception, (149 which was snapped in the season opener vs. NAU) Carpenter has not thrown an interception in his last 50 attempts.
MILLER AMONG NATION'S ELITE TIGHT ENDS
More than halfway through the 2006 season, 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 (25) and receiving yards (235) and is tied for first on the team in 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 (119, first) and receiving yards (1,263, 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 touchdown receptions by a tight end (13) and most receptions (119) by an tight end, Miller needs 423 yards to become the school's career leader for receiving yards by a tight end.
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.
Through seven games, Torain leads the Sun Devils in rushing with 614 yards and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 87.7 yards per game. He has eight 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 12 receptions for 152 yards and three scores.
Torain currently leads the team in touchdowns with eight. He has scored at least one touchdown either rushing or receiving in six of seven games this season.
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 seven games this season the Sun Devils are averaging 170.1 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, who missed last week's game vs. Stanford because of an injury suffered in practice, ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 3 in the country in kickoff returns (33.56 yard average). Richardson is also ranked No. 4 in the Pac-10 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 148 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 124 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 41 field goals are third-most in a Sun Devil career and he needs nine more to move into second place. He also is just the sixth kicker in school annals to score 200 or more points as his 268 points are 10 points behind Mike Barth (1999-2002) for second on the list.
ASU TO HONOR 1987 & 1997 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 & 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 be on the road for the second consecutive week and the third time in four games when they travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the Oregon State Beavers (Sat., Nov. 4, time TBA).
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