Sun Devils Seek Third Straight Bowl Victory in Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
Dec. 6, 2006
(7-5, 4-5 Pac-10)
(10-3, 7-1 WAC)
Date: Sunday, December 24, 2006
Kickoff: 6 p.m. MT
Site: Aloha Stadium (50,000),
Play-by-Play/Color: Mark Jones/David Norrie
Sideline Reporter: Heather Cox
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
2006 marks the fifth edition of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. ASU will make its first appearance in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl and third all-time postseason appearance in
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU is one of only seven teams with two bowl wins in the past two years.
ASU's defense is allowing an average of only 7.9 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 31 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 89.1 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
Senior PK Jesse Ainsworth (307 career points) is only the third Sun Devil to ever score 300 or more points in a career. He joined fellow kicker Luis Zendejas and Wilford 'Whizzer' White in the 300-point club.
LAST GAME (
Carpenter drove the Devils down the field on their opening drive, capping it off with a 26-yard scoring strike to redshirt freshman WR Chris McGaha for a 7-0 lead. Carpenter connected on another big play later in the first, finding senior WR Jamaal Lewis from 38-yards away for a 14-0 lead.
That would be all
ASU-ARIZONA POST-GAME NOTES
The Sun Devils improved to 35-44-1 all-time against the Wildcats and 17-28 in contests played in
Comparing quarterback Rudy Carpenter's sophomore numbers against ASU's four most prolific passers who played in their second season (Danny White, Jake Plummer, Jeff Van Raaphorst and Ryan Kealy), Carpenter leads the pack in passing attempts (306), completions (171), yards (2,332) and touchdowns (21).
Carpenter's touchdown pass with 2:34 remaining in the first quarter made him just the tenth passer in Sun Devil history to throw for 20 touchdowns in a season and marked the fifth consecutive season that a Sun Devil quarterback has accomplished this feat.
Carpenter's three touchdown passes in the game marked the second-most for Carpenter this year, as he notched five against
Jamaal Lewis' 38-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter was his longest catch of the season and his second score of the year.
Zach Miller's touchdown reception in the first quarter was his fourth of the season, giving him sole possession of the team lead in that category.
The Sun Devils' 21 first quarter points marks the most scored by the Devils in the opening frame all season, eclipsing the 17 scored against Washington State.
Ryan Torain went over the 1,000-yard mark late in the second quarter, becoming the nineteenth Sun Devil rusher to reach that plateau and the first since Delvon Flowers accomplished it in 2001. Torain now has 1,065 yards on the season and leads the team in total TDs with nine (six rushing - tied for team lead in that category).
Torain also collected 139 rushing yards in the game, marking his third game with 100 rushing yards this season. That marks the most 100 rushing yard games in a season by a Sun Devil since 2003. His performance earned him a unanimous selection as the recipient of the Ben Goo trophy, given annually to the game's MVP.
Keegan Herring also passed a rushing plateau, passing the 500 rushing yard mark in the first quarter. The last time a Sun Devil team had a 1,000 yard and a 500 yard rusher was in 1999 when J.R. Redmond tallied 1,174 yards and Flowers collected 512.
PK Jesse Ainsworth has now scored at least one point in 28 straight games and 45 of his 47 career games. Ainsworth has connected on his last 136 consecutive PATs of his career, a Pac-10 record. He has missed just three times in 160 attempts in his four years in
Justin Tryon collected his first Division-I career interception in the third quarter.
The Sun Devils held the Wildcats to zero points in the third quarter, the sixth time this season they have shut an opponent out in the third, and have only given up two touchdowns in the third frame this year. The Sun Devil defense has surrendered a stingy total of just 26 points in the third quarter in 12 games this year.
The Sun Devils also blanked the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, the fourth time they have done that this year and the third time they have posted a second half shutout. The Sun Devils are averaging 7.92 second half points against this year.
ASU IN THE POSTSEASON
The 2006 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl will be the 23rd all-time postseason appearance for
This will be the third time the Sun Devils will play a bowl game in
ASU-HAWAI'I SERIES NOTES
This will be the seventh meeting between the Sun Devils and the Warriors.
ASU has not faced
DEVILS DEFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT
Perhaps no defensive unit in
Below are some of the highlights from ASU's defense through the regular season.
Allowing 170.3 fewer yards per game in total offense compared to last season.
Recorded 31 sacks, nine more than ASU had the entire 2005 season.
ASU's 31 sacks have come from 17 different players.
Held Washington State (Nov. 11) to only 192 yards of total offense, their lowest output of the season.
Allowed only 27 net rushing yards against
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
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 (
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).
Is allowing an average of only 7.9 points in the second half of games this season, including an aggregate total of only 26 points in the third quarter.
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
The Sun Devil defense finished the regular season second in the conference and 27th in the nation allowing only 298.5 yards per game. The defensive output was the one of the best in recent team history, as ASU's total defense ranks as its best since 1992 and the second-lowest yards-per-game average in the past 20 seasons.
Four Sun Devil defenders earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors (Barrett, Catanese, Caldwell and Marquardt), while redshirt freshman DL Dexter Davis and freshman LB Travis Goethel were both named to The Sporting News' Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Honorable Mention Freshman All-Americans.
PAC-10 HONORS 12 SUN DEVILS
Junior TE Zach Miller headlines a list of 12 Arizona State Sun Devils who earned All-Pac-10 honors from the Conference. Miller, who leads ASU with 49 receptions for 481 yards and four touchdowns, was named First Team All-Pac-10. The
Eight Sun Devils earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors, including junior S Josh Barrett, senior DL Kyle Caldwell, sophomore QB Rudy Carpenter, senior S Zach Catanese, sophomore OL Paul Fanaika, junior DL Michael Marquardt, junior OL Brandon Rodd and junior CB Justin Tryon. Catanese and Rodd both earned honorable mentions from the Pac-10 last season.
EARN ACADEMIC ALL-PAC-10 HONORS
Senior K Jesse Ainsworth and senior SN Jason Burke headline a list of eight Sun Devils selected to the Pacific-10 All-Academic football team, along with two honorable mention selections. Both Ainsworth and Burke earned their second straight First Team honors after being Second Team selections in 2004.
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.
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. Torain became the 19th Sun Devil to top the 1,000 yard mark, gaining 1,069 yards so far this year. He is third in the Pac-10 with his 89.1 yards per game average and leads the Sun Devils with his nine total touchdowns (6 rushing, 3 receiving).
After demonstrating his ability to be a steady contributor in the season's first three games, Torain had a breakout performance at
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. He was named Second Team All-Pac-10 for his efforts during the regular season. His 1,069 yards are the most by a Sun Devil in their debut season since Woody Green's 1,310 yards in 1971.
CARPENTER GETS THE CALL
Sophomore Rudy Carpenter just completed his first full regular 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
Currently 11-6 as a starter, Carpenter has thrown for 2,332 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. He is the 10th quarterback in ASU history to toss at least 20 touchdown passes in a season.
He threw three scoring strikes during the 28-14 win over
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).
Carpenter earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors this season.
MILLER AMONG NATION'S ELITE TIGHT ENDS
Through the 2006 regular season, junior consensus All-American 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 (49), receiving yards (481) and touchdown receptions (4).
After almost three seasons Miller, who was named a 2006 John Mackey Award Finalist, is at or near the top of the career standards for ASU tight ends in touchdown receptions (14, first), receptions (143, first) and receiving yards (1,509, 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 (14) and most receptions (143) by a tight end, Miller needs 184 yards to become the school's career leader for receiving yards by a tight end.
Thanks to his outstanding 2006 regular season, junior TE Zach Miller has become
JOHN MACKEY AWARD FINALIST
Junior TE Zach Miller was named one of three 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 (49), leads ASU in receiving yards (481) and in touchdown catches (four) as a starter in all 12 games. He has caught a pass in each game this season, and at least four passes in nine games, with season-high eight receptions in the 28-14 victory over
Miller joins fellow finalists John Carlson (Jr., Notre Dame) and Matt Spaeth (Sr.,
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 as well as an ESPN The Magazine Second Team Academic All-American. Miller carries a 3.84 grade-point average as a marketing major. He was also named First Team Academic All-Pac-10 this season after earning Second Team honors a season ago.
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
ASU has no shortage of talent in its backfield, which includes 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
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
ASU continued its road rushing success at
The Sun Devil backfield was once again impressive in the win over
In the regular season finale at
Just for Kicks
In his almost four seasons, Jesse Ainsworth has made it a habit of being nearly perfect on PAT attempts, missing just three times in 160 tries. Dating back to the final game of the 2003 season when he connected on 4-of-4 PATs, Ainsworth has now made 136 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
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 307 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
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
ASU had a trio of players on The Sporting News All-Pac-10 Freshman team. Freshman LB Travis Goethel, redshirt freshman DL Dexter Davis and redshirt freshman WR Chris McGaha all earned the honor. In addition, Goethel and Davis were named honorable mention Freshman All-Americans by the publication.
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 36.6, a difference of 6.3 yards. That yardage differential from 2005 is tied for the second best improvement in the Pac-10 conference.
During the 2006 regular season, ASU's five running backs (Ryan Torain, Keegan Herring, Shaun DeWitty, Dimitri Nance and Preston Jones) have demonstrated their ability to hold on to the football. After 12 regular season games and 461 carries, the Sun Devil running backs have lost only one fumble, DeWitty's at