Football Heads To Tucson For Territorial Cup In Regular Season Finale
Nov. 20, 2006
Kickoff: 4 p.m. MT
Site: Arizona Stadium (56,002), Tucson, Ariz.
Television: Fox Sports Net
Play-by-Play/Color: Barry Tompkins/Petros Papadakis
Sideline Reporter: Jim Watson
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
Sideline Reporter: Trey Bender
Spanish Radio: KIDR 740
Play-by-Play: Ivan Lara
Color: Former Sun Devil All-American OL Juan Roque
THE TERRITORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP CUP
Registered with the NCAA as the oldest intercollegiate rivalry trophy in the nation, the Territorial Championship Cup will be presented to the winning team on the field at the conclusion of the game. The Cup was first awarded to Tempe Normal School (now ASU) on Nov. 20, 1899, following an 11-2 game at Tucson's Carillo Gardens Field.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
ASU's defense is allowing an average of only 8.6 points in the second half of games this season, including an aggregate total of only 26 points in the third quarter.
The Sun Devil defense has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season.
Currently with 29 sacks, the Sun Devil defense has already surpassed its sack total from last season (22).
Junior TB Ryan Torain currently ranks No. 3 in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 84.5 yards per game. Torain has scored nine touchdowns for the Sun Devils in 2006 (six rushing and three receiving).
Sophomore TB Keegan Herring has had ASU's two longest runs of the season (both touchdowns): 65 yards at Washington (Oct. 28) and 40 yards at Oregon State (Nov. 4).
Senior PK Jesse Ainsworth (303 career points) is only the third Sun Devil to ever score 300 or more points in a career. He joined fellow Luis Zendejas and Wilford 'Whizzer' White in the 300-point club.
LAST GAME (UCLA 24, Arizona State 12; Sat., Nov. 18, 2006; Tempe)
Senior K Jesse Ainsworth provided all the offense for the Sun Devils, booting four field goals for the second straight week as the UCLA defense held ASU to only 264 total yards. Junior safety Josh Barrett led the ASU defense with eight tackles, including one of three ASU sacks on the night, but big plays proved to be the Devils undoing.
UCLA opened the scoring with a 56-yard touchdown pass, then converted an interception into a touchdown to grab a 14-3 lead eary in the second quarter. ASU would pull to within two at 14-12, but a field goal and a 35-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Bruins.
ASU-UCLA POST-GAME NOTES
With his four field goals on the night, PK Jesse Ainsworth tied Luis Zendejas (vs. Washington in 1981, vs. Utah State in 1983 and vs. UCLA in 1983) for the third-most field goals in one game in program history, accomplishing the feat of the second weekend in a row. Zendejas (vs. Stanford in 1983) and Robert Nycz (vs. Miami in 1997) hold the single game record with five field goals in one game.
PK Jesse Ainsworth connected on four field goals and now has 303 career points after connecting on field goals of 20, 20, 35 and 45-yards in the first half. By reaching the 300-point level, Ainsworth become the third Sun Devil all-time and the second place kicker to achieve the status, joining PK Luis Zendejas (1981-84), who kicked in 380 points, and Wilford White (1947-50), who accumulated 327 points in his career. With his 20-yard kick at the 11:08 mark in the third quarter, Ainsworth also moved into a tie with Mike Barth (1999-02) for second on the all-time list with 49 career field goals made.
For his career, PK Jesse Ainsworth has scored at least one point in 44 of his 46 games and has connected on at least one score in 43 of the last 44 games. Including his two field goals tonight, Ainsworth has now scored in 27 games in a row.
CB Justin Tryon returned his first kick-off of the season at the start of the second quarter, carrying the ball 67 yards before being forced out of bounds. Tryon's return is the second-longest on the season for the Sun Devils behind the 100-yard return for a touchdown by Terry Richardson against Oregon.
WR Kyle Williams also had his hand in the return game as he returned a punt in the second quarter for 13 yards, his career high.
TB Ryan Torain opened the second half of play with a 38-yard run, the third-longest rush of the season for the Sun Devils behind his own 40-yard run against Nevada and TB Keegan Herring's 40-yard scoring run at Oregon State. In the passing category, QB Rudy Carpenter connected on a 55-yard pass to WR Kyle Williams, marking the longest passing play of the season for the Sun Devils, surpassing the 52-yard scoring strike WR Nate Kimbrough hauled in against Nevada.
ASU-UA SERIES NOTES
The 2005 meeting featured a stirring Sun Devil comeback from a 15-point deficit to pull out the 23-20 win. After Arizona jumped out to an early lead, Terry Richardson's 71-yard punt return and the subsequent two-point conversion tied the game at 20, setting up Jesse Ainsworth's 20-yard game-winning field goal.
ASU has always had memorable moments against the Wildcats, including John Jefferson's 'The Catch' in 1975, Kevin Galbreath's 'The Run' in 1992 and Terry Richardson's 'The Return' last season. All three led to Arizona State victories over Arizona.
ASU holds a 16-28 record all-time in Tucson. They were last there in 2004, falling 34-28.
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 eleven 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 eleven games.
Allowing 158.4 fewer yards per game in total offense compared to last season.
Recorded 29 sacks, seven more than ASU had the entire 2005 season.
ASU's 29 sacks have come from 17 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).
Held Washington State to only 192 yards of total offense, their lowest output of the season.
Allowed only 27 net rushing yards against Washington State (Nov. 11), the fourth-fewest allowed under Koetter (second fewest against a Pac-10 team).
Held Washington (Oct. 28) to only 148 yards passing, its second lowest output of the season and 59.5 yards below its season average coming into the game.
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.
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 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.
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 8.5 points in the second half of games this season, including an aggregate total of only 23 points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 131.9 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
S Josh Barrett was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in ASU's 26-23 overtime victory at Washington on October 28. Barrett had a game-high nine tackles, including five solos, and intercepted two passes, returning them 40 yards. For the season Barrett currently leads the team in combined tackles (55) and is second on the team in solo tackles with 37. Barrett's two interceptions and fives passes defensed are also currently tied for first on the team.
TEN DEVILS EARN ACADEMIC ALL-PAC-10 HONORS
Senior K Jesse Ainsworth
Joining Ainsworth and Burke on the First Team were junior TE Zach Miller, junior DL Michael Marquardt, junior DB Josh Barrett and senior DB Chris Price. Miller earned Second Team accolades last season. Senior OL Andrew Carnahan and junior OL Brandon Rodd were both named Second Team members, the second consecutive Second Team selection for Carnahan . Rodd was an Honorable Mention in 2005. It is the first All-Academic honor for Barrett, Price and Marquardt. Redshirt freshman QB Brett Boon and junior DT Brett Palmer earned honorable mentions.
CARPENTER GETS THE CALL
Sophomore Rudy Carpenter
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 10-6 as a starter, Carpenter passed for a season high 339 yards in the 47-14 win over WSU (Nov. 11). He also had three touchdown passes, including a 50-yarder and a 62-yarder. In ASU's win at Washington (Oct. 28), Carpenter completed 16-of-22 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 25-yard scoring strike to TE Brent Miller in overtime.
Last month against 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 ASU-UA game Saturday marks the final regular season game for 19 seniors on the Sun Devil roster. The 2006 senior class includes: TB Randy Hill (out), WR Jamaal Lewis, OL Zach Krula (Out), OL Andrew Carnahan (Out), S Zach Catanese, DL Jordan Hill, LB Derron Ware, CB Keno Walter-White, WR Terry Richardson, CB Chris Price, LB Beau Manutai, LB Andy Howe, DL Shannon Jones, WR Alex King, DL Kyle Caldwell, SN Jason Burke, OL Stephen Berg (Out), K Jesse Ainsworth and DL Will Kofe.
ASU Special teams have shown a marked improvement over a season ago, led by the punting of Jonathan Johnson. In 2005, ASU averaged 30.3 net yards per punt, but this season the Devils average 37.2, a difference of 6.9 yards. That yardage differential from 2005 is tops in the Pac-10 this season. Arizona State is second only to California in net yards per punt this season.
Eleven games into 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 (41) and receiving yards (420) and is tied for first on the team in touchdown receptions (3).
After two and a half seasons Miller, who was named a 2006 John Mackey Award Semifinalist, is at or near the top of the career standards for ASU tight ends in touchdown receptions (13, first), receptions (135, first) and receiving yards (1,448, second).
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 (135) by a tight end, Miller needs 245 yards to become the school's career leader for receiving yards by a tight end.
MIND AND BODY CONTROL
Not only is junior TE Zach Miller a standout on the gridiron, he is also a star in the class room. Miller was named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team selection on Nov. 9. Miller carries a 3.84 grade-point average as a marketing major. He was named First Team Academic All-Pac-10 this season after earning Second Team honors a season ago.
JOHN MACKEY AWARD SEMIFINALIST
Junior TE Zach Miller was named one of eight semi-finalists for the 2006 John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end.
On the year, Miller leads the Sun Devils and all Pacific-10 Conference tight ends in receptions (41), leads ASU in receiving yards (420) and is tied for the team-lead in touchdown catches (three) as a starter in all 11 games. He has caught a pass in each game this season, and at least four passes in eight games, with season-highs of six catches for 84 yards in ASU's 47-14 victory over Washington State on Nov. 11.
Miller joins fellow semi-finalists Travis Beckum (Soph., Wisconsin), Martellus Bennett (Soph., Texas A&M), John Carlson (Jr., Notre Dame), Chase Coffman (So., Missouri), Jonny Harline (Sr., BYU), Joe Newton (Sr., Oregon State) and Matt Spaeth (Sr., Minnesota).
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 eleven games, Torain needs only 70 yards to become the 19th Sun Devil runner to top the 1,000 yard mark in a season. He leads the Sun Devils in rushing with 930 yards and is ranked third in the Pac-10 averaging 84.5 yards per game. He has eleven carries of 15 yards or more, including a season-best 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 second on the team with 16 receptions for 177 yards and three scores. Torain currently leads the team in touchdowns with nine.
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 eleven games this season the Sun Devils are second in the Pac-10 averaging 162. 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.
ASU continued its road rushing success at Washington (Oct. 28) as the Sun Devils ran for 190 yards in a hard-fought 26-23 overtime victory. Torain (23 carries) and Herring (six carries) each rushed for 98 yards to lead the Sun Devils. Herring's 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter at Washington is the longest offensive play for the Sun Devils this season. Against Oregon State, Herring tied the second-longest ASU run of the season with a 40-yard touchdown scamper.
The Sun Devil backfield was once again impressive in the win over Washington State (Nov. 11), as ASU rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Four Sun Devil runners had at least 20 yards on the ground, led by Ryan Torain's 84 on 19 carries.
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 153 tries. Dating back to the final game of the 2003 season when he connected on 4-of-4 PATs, Ainsworth has now made 132 consecutive PATs, establishing a new Pac-10 Conference record. Ainsworth broke the record of 108 straight, set by UCLA's John Lee from 1983 to 1985.
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.
Against UCLA on Nov. 18, Ainsworth tied a career high (set the week before) when he booted four field goals, tying him with Zendejas for the second-most field goals made in a single game in school history. His four field goals were from 45, 35, 20 and 20 yards, respectively.
Ainsworth's 49 career field goals tie him with Mike Barth for second most by a Sun Devil in a career. He also is just the second kicker in school annals to score 300 or more points as his 303 points place him second on the list, behind only Zendejas. The only other player to ever score 300 or more points was Wilford 'Whizzer' White, who totaled 327 from 1947 to 1950. Thanks to his four field goals against Washington State on Nov. 11, Ainsworth was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. His 17 points against the Cougars (4 FGs, 5 PATs) are the most scored by a kicker in the Pac-10 this season. This is the second career Special Teams Player of the Week honor earned by Ainsworth, who also picked up the award during his sophomore season.
VIVA LAS VEGAS ALL-AMERICAN CLASSIC
Four Sun Devils have been selected to play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic at Sam Boyd Stadium on January 15th. S Zach Catanese, DL Jordan Hill, LB Derron Ware and K Jesse Ainsworth have all accepted invitations and will take part in the sixth annual senior All-Star game. Last season, CB Mike Davis, Jr. represented Arizona State in the game.
Arizona State's inclusion in the 2006 preseason Associated Press poll (24th) marks just the second time it has been ranked in the preseason poll in back-to-back years in 24 seasons (1983 to present). It was ranked 20th in the poll last year. In 1998, ASU was ranked eighth in the preseason poll and was 25th prior to the 1999 season.
ASU PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN PRESEASON PAC-10 POLL
ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference in a pre-season poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. Defending Pac-10 champion USC earned 18 first-place votes and was picked to win its fourth straight Pac-10 title.
Four teams received first place votes this season after USC was the unanimous choice last year. The Trojans garnered 18 votes, while Cal was second with seven. Oregon received three votes and the Sun Devils also earned a first place vote.
The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 23 of 45 previous polls, including the last six years in a row.