No. 23/25 Football Faces Stanford in First Road Contest of the Year

Sept. 24, 2007

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Date: Saturday, September 29, 2007
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. PT
Site: Stanford Stadium (50,000) - Palo Alto, Calif.
Television: FSN Arizona
Play-by-Play: Ted Robinson 
Color: Former ASU OL Juan Roque & Todd Husak
Sun Devil Radio: KTAR 620 AM & KMVP/KTAR 92.3 FM
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
Sideline: Amy Bender

• ASU had two players record interceptions in one game for the first time since 1991
• Arizona State had five interceptions in a game for the first time since 1998
• Ryan Torain surpassed the 1,500 career rushing yard mark against the Beavers
• Ryan Torain is averaging two touchdowns per game. He has scored seven times (five rush, two pass) in the three games he has appeared
• ASU has allowed 62 points so far in 2007, with 39 of those coming in the first quarter
• ASU has started 4-0 for the first time since 2004, when it won its first five games
• Troy Nolan has four picks on the season, the most in a season since 2004
• ASU has been in the red zone 17 times in 2007 and has scored on 16 of those chances (12 TDs, 4 FGs)
• Arizona State was ranked 23rd in the AP poll this week and tied with Purdue for 25th by the USA Today/Coaches Poll
• Senior WR Rudy Burgess is the only active player in the Pac-10 Conference to have surpassed 1,000 yards rushing and receiving during his career
• ASU has not suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 59 years, the fourth longest active streak in the nation

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State hits the road for the first time in 2007 as it heads to Palo Alto, Calif. for a Pac-10 match up with the Stanford Cardinal on Sept. 29. The Sun Devils are 4-0 and 1-0 in conference play thanks to the 44-32 win over Oregon State last week. Stanford enters the contest 1-2 and 0-2 in Pac-10 play. All three of Stanford's games so far have been played at Stanford Stadium. Last week, the Cardinal dropped a 55-31 decision to Oregon.

The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action, while Amy Bender will provide sideline reports during home games. Saturday's game can be heard on 92.3 KTAR FM.

FSN Arizona will televise the Sun Devils meeting with Stanford. Ted Robinson will handle play-by-play while former ASU All-America offensive lineman Juan Roque and Todd Husak will be the color analysts.

Saturday will be the 24th meeting between Arizona State and Stanford on the gridiron. ASU leads the all-time series 14-9, although Stanford is 6-5 against the Sun Devils in Palo Alto. Arizona State won last season's meeting in Tempe 38-3, but has not won at Stanford since 1997. It will be ASU's first trip to new Stanford Stadium, which was renovated during the 2006 off-season.

After spotting the Beavers a 19-0 first quarter lead, Rudy Carpenter led ASU back to beat Oregon State 44-32. Carpenter threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns, while the ASU defense forced six Oregon State turnovers, including five interceptions. Ryan Torain found the end zone three times, twice through the air, while Michael Jones also hauled in two TD tosses in the win. Robert James and Troy Nolan each had two interceptions in the come-from-behind victory. It was Arizona State's 16th-straight win over Oregon State at Sun Devil Stadium. Oregon State last won in Tempe in 1969.

• The Oregon State game marked the sixth game in a row, dating back to last season, that the ASU defense has recorded an interception
• The Sun Devil offense had four plays go for over 40-yards against the Beavers. All four went for touchdowns, including a 63-yard bomb from Rudy Carpenter to Michael Jones
• Arizona State scored on two one-play drives, both of which lasted eight seconds. Carpenter hit Jones from 43-yards out in the third quarter, then found Ryan Torain from 48-yards away at the end of the third.

The Sun Devil defense intercepted five Beaver passes last weekend, the most interceptions in a game for ASU since November 7, 1998 against California. In that game, Golden Bears QB Justin Vedder threw five picks in a 55-22 ASU win. Last week, OSU's Sean Canfield threw five picks in a 44-32 ASU win. Arizona State now has nine interceptions so far this season after totaling 15 all of 2006.

Robert James and Troy Nolan each had a pair of interceptions against the Beavers. It was the first time Arizona State had two players record two interceptions since November 16, 1991, when Darren Woodson and Adam Brass each had two in a 25-6 loss at California.

Troy Nolan now has four interceptions on the season, while Robert James has three. The four picks by Nolan is the most by a Sun Devil in a single season since Emmanuel Franklin had four in 2004.

Michael Jones added two more touchdown receptions against the Beavers, giving him a team-leading five on the season. Jones entered 2006 with two career scores, but now has two games with two touchdowns this season. Jones scores a touchdown every 3.4 times he touches the ball in 2007. So far, he has 324 yards on 17 catches (19.1 yards per catch) to go along with his five scores.

In addition to his second two TD game of his career, Jones achieved another career high against the Beavers. The four catch, 124-yard performance was his first 100-yard receiving game of his career. The 64-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter also marked the longest reception of his career.

Thomas Weber continued to show off his leg against the Beavers, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts. Weber hit from 29, 30 and 18 yards, bringing his season total to 6-6 with a long of 48. He has scored 36 points on the season.

Robert James had another monster game against Oregon State, amassing nine tackles to go with his two interceptions. James leads the Sun Devils with 39 tackles, including six for loss and two sacks. He has also broken up two passes in addition to his three interceptions.

With his 91 yards against Oregon State, Ryan Torain surpassed the 1,500 rushing yard mark for his career. Torain now has 1,534 yards on 283 carries as well as 12 rushing touchdowns. Torain also added two receiving touchdowns against Oregon State, giving him 17 career scores.

Rudy Carpenter threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns against the Beavers, the eighth time in his career he has topped the 300-yard passing mark. That is tops among all active Pac-10 quarterbacks. It was the third time in his career he has thrown for at least four scores, and the first time since he threw five TDs against Nevada last season. Carpenter ranks second to only Alex Brink of Washington State, who is a year of eligibility ahead of Carpenter, in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards and touchdown passes. Carpenter now has 51 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 5,823 yards.

Thanks to his four touchdown tosses against Oregon State, Rudy Carpenter now has 51 in his career. He is only the fourth Sun Devil all-time to throw at least 50 touchdowns, joining Andrew Walter (85), Jake Plummer (65) and Danny White (64). Carpenter passed Mike Pagel for fourth most in ASU history with his four against OSU. Pagel threw 48 touchdowns from 1978 to 1981.

Arizona State is ranked nationally in many major categories on both offense and defense. The Sun Devils are ranked 7th nationally in pass efficiency defense (85.25) and tied for 19th in total defense (289 ypg). The defense is also ranked 14th in the country in scoring defense (15.5 ppg/allowed). The Sun Devils are fifth in the country in Time of Possession at 33:13. Troy Nolan is tied for seond in the nation with four interceptions, while Robert James is tied for ninth with three. James is also tied for 19th in the nation with six tackles for loss. Ryan Torain is tied for fourth in the country in scoring, averaging 14 points per game.

Sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history last season, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News. The Phoenix, Ariz., native recorded a team-best and Pac-10 freshman season-high 6.0 quarterback sacks, the third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. Davis' total trails only those by Terrell Suggs (2000) and Shante Carver (1990), who each posted 10.0 sacks as a freshman and in total, Suggs (44 career sacks) and Carver (41) rank first and second on ASU's all-time career sacks list. Also, Davis totaled 40 tackles on the season, the most by an ASU freshman since TSN freshman All-America safety Jason Shivers' team-high 89 total stops in 2001. Davis proved to be a threat to opposing ballcarriers in a variety of ways, posting an ASU season-high and Pac-10 freshman best three forced fumbles, the most by a Sun Devil freshman since Suggs' four in 2000 and the fourth-most among freshmen in school history. He already has recorded three tackles for loss and two sacks so far in 2007.

No team in the Pac-10 showcased as many talented defensive freshmen as ASU did in 2006, headlined by defensive end Dexter Davis and linebacker Travis Goethel, both of whom earned Pac-10 All-Freshman and honorable mention Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News. Both Davis and Goethel anchor the Sun Devil defense in 2007.

The Sun Devils showcase one of the most experienced and honored offensive lines in the Pac-10, as ASU boasts the only unit of linemen in the conference which returns all five starters from the conclusion of the 2006 season. Also, ASU returns three offensive linemen that received All-Pac-10 honors in 2006, trailing only Oregon State for most in the conference and five Sun Devil linemen, including four starters, have already earned their undergraduate degree. The Sun Devil front five is led by second-team All-Pac-10 center, graduate Mike Pollak and honorable mention All-Pac-10 recipients junior guard Paul Fanaika and graduate tackle Brandon Rodd. Graduate guard Robert Gustavis and graduate tackle Julius Orieuwku also provide starting experience for 2007. Last season, Gustavis and Pollak started all 13 games at right guard and center, respectively, while Rodd started all 11 games in which he played at left tackle. After injuries suffered by 2006 seniors Andrew Carnahan and Stephen Berg, Faniaka started the season's final 10 games, while Orieukwu was a starter in the final seven contests. Sophomore tackle Richard Tuitu'u adds depth in 2007 after filling in as a starter for Rodd last season. Graduate Zach Krula will be welcomed back to the line in 2007, having earned a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the majority of the past two seasons due to injury. A starter in nine of 17 career games at guard, Krula was moved to right tackle this season. In 2006, the Sun Devil blockers helped enable ASU to gain its greatest rushing total since 1999 and showcase the team's first 1,000-yard runner since 2001. So far this season, the line has done their job again. ASU is averaging 172.8 yards per game on the ground and both Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring have 100-yard games under their belts. Also, ASU has rushed for seven touchdowns so far this year.

After establishing itself in recent years as a national offensive powerhouse predominately predicated on its passing attack, ASU proved it could attack opposing defenses with a punishing ground game last season. The Sun Devils boast the most potent running backs combination in the Pac-10, as senior Ryan Torain and junior Keegan Herring combined for 1,778 rushing yards in 2006, more than any pair of returning Pac-10 teammates. Torain and Herring have combined for 567 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns so far this year. In total, ASU showcases three of eight active Pac-10 ballcarriers to have surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards, including Herring and Torain as well as senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess, who is a dangerous all-purpose threat and was ASU's starting tailback during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Senior running back Ryan Torain enjoyed one of the most incredible rushing seasons in school history in 2006, totaling 1,229 rushing yards on 223 carries. Torain became the first Sun Devil to surpass 1,000 rushing yards since Delvon Flowers in 2001 and produced the greatest single-season rushing output since Sun Devil great Freddie Williams' total of 1,427 for head coach Frank Kush's legendary 1975 squad. The 1,229 yards was the most ever by a Sun Devil running back since ASU joined the Pac-10 in 1978. The 6-1, 213-pounder earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors while rushing for over 100 yards in four games and more than 80 yards in eight contests. Torain has his sights set on an even better 2007, totaling 305 yards and five rushing touchdowns so far this year. He has also added two TD receptions in 2007

Ryan Torain is only the seventh returning 1,000 yard rusher in school history, and the first since Darryl Harris in 1987. Only Woody Green, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in three straight years, and Freddie Williams have ever put together back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for the Sun Devils.

After breaking ASU's freshman rushing record by totaling 870 yards in 2005, junior Keegan Herring rushed for 549 yards on 94 carries in 2006 as part of the most dynamic rushing combination in the Pac-10 Conference. One of the quickest athletes in the Pac-10, Herring led all Sun Devil runners last season averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry and is one of only four active ballcarriers in the conference to have rushed for over 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. He's already over halfway to that mark again, with 262 yards so far this year. In 28 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 300 carries for 1,681 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

With the win over Oregon State, Rudy Carpenter is now 15-7 as Arizona State's starting quarterback. That's good for the fifth most victories by a starting ASU QB since 1983. Jake Plummer is #1 with 24 wins, while Jeff Van Raaphorst is second with 21. Andrew Walter and Ryan Kealy are tied for third with 18 wins apiece.

With the Sun Devils cracking the Top 25 this week, Arizona State becomes the fourth school under Dennis Erickson to show up in the weekly rankings. Erickson has been ranked with Washington State, Miami, Oregon State and now ASU. Coach Erickson trails only Lou Holtz, who has coached ranked teams at five different schools.

Dennis Erickson is one of four first-year coaches who has his team unbeaten. Coach Erickson joins Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski and Cincinnati's Brian Kelly as coaches who are 4-0 in their first season at their respective schools.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Chuck Berry will no longer be performing at halftime of the USC game on Thanksgiving. In his place, Sun Devil fans will be treated to musical legend Little Richard. He is an inaugural member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will perform with the Sun Devil Marching Band.

The Arizona State football team has several two-sport athletes on the roster. WR Mike Jones has spent the past two seasons as a centerfielder for the baseball team, including last year's Pac-10 Championship team that advanced to the College World Series. Jones was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 42nd round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, but has opted not to sign a contract and will return to the baseball team in 2008. WR Kyle Williams will also play baseball for ASU in 2008. He took the 2007 baseball season off to concentrate on football, but hopes to compete for an infield spot in 2008. In addition to the baseball players, ASU football also has three student-athletes who participated in the Pac-10 Track &Field Championships last season. WR Rodney Glass, CB Justin Tryon and WR Brandon Smith all ran for the Devils in Palo Alto, Calif.

Eight members of the Arizona State football team have already earned their undergraduate degrees, tied for the fifth most players in the country. Five of the ASU grads are offensive linemen.

Several Sun Devils are on preseason watch lists for national awards, led by senior safety Josh Barrett. Barrett finds himself on four lists for the 2007 season. He is on the watch list for the Lott Trophy, awarded to the nation's premier defensive player both on and off the field, the Nagurski Award, given to the nation's top defensive player, the Bednarik Trophy, handed out to best defensive player and the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Senior running back Ryan Torain is on the Maxwell Award watch list, the award given to the most outstanding college football player. Senior center Mike Pollak is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the top interior lineman in the country, and the Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in the nation. Junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter was named to the Manning Award Watch List, given to the nation's top quarterback. Senior offensive linemen Mike Pollak and Brandon Rodd are both on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, given to the top lineman in college football. Jonathan Johnson is on the Ray Guy Award Watch List, given to the top punter in the nation.

Josh Barrett, Michael Marquardt, Mike Pollak and Ryan Torain have been named the team captains for the 2007 season in a vote by the players.

ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference by West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. Defending Pac-10 champion USC was the unanimous choice to win their fifth straight conference crown, garnering all 39 first place votes. ASU and USC will meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 22 on ESPN. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 24 of 46 previous polls, including the last seven years.

Arizona State is one of 23 FBS (Division I-A) teams in the country that is still undefeated. USC, Oregon and California are other Pac-10 schools who have not suffered a loss. Oregon and Cal face each other this weekend, as do four of the other unbeatens.

The Sun Devils will travel to Pullman, Washington for a meeting with the Washington State Cougars. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with FSN providing the television coverage.