Football Opens Pac-10 Play Saturday With Oregon State At Sun Devil Stadium
Sept. 28, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. -
After a heartbreaking 20-17 loss to Georgia at Sanford Stadium, the Arizona State Sun Devils return home to host Oregon State in the 2009 Pac-10 Conference opener on Saturday, October 3 at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. ASU came back from a 14-3 halftime deficit against the Bulldogs to tie it at 17 apiece, but a last second field goal by Georgia handed the Sun Devils their first defeat of the season. Oregon State comes into the ballgame 2-2, 0-1 in Pac-10 play after a 37-32 loss to Arizona in Corvallis last weekend.
ON THE AIR: The Sun Devil-ISP Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 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 Doug Franz patrols the sidelines. The Oregon State game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION: Versus will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Beavers. Ron Thulin and Kelly Stouffer will call the action from the booth while Lewis Johnson handles the sideline duties. This will be the first time Arizona State will appear on the Versus Netwwork.
SUN DEVILS VS. BEAVERS: The Devils and Beavers have met 35 times, with Arizona
State leading the series 24-10-1. Oregon State won last season's meeting 27-25 in Corvallis. ASU is 18-3 all-time against the Beavers in Tempe.
PAC-10 OPENER: Arizona State is 12-17-2 in Pac-10 opening games since joining the
conference in 1978, including victories in four of the past five. The Sun Devils won their
Pac-10 opener last season, beating Stanford 41-17 in Tempe. October 3 marks the latest start to Pac-10 play for ASU since 1992, when the Sun Devils faced the Oregon Ducks on October 3. The latest Arizona State has ever opened Pac-10 play was in 1987, when they traveled to Seattle to play Washington on October 10.
FAMILIAR PAC-10 OPENING FOE: Beginning Pac-10 play with Oregon State is nothing new for the Sun Devils, who have opened conference play with the Beavers eight times since joining the conference in 1978, the most of any Pac-10 foe. ASU has a 6-2 record in Pac-10 openers against the Beavers. Washington is next on the list, having played ASU seven times in the conference opener for the Devils.
NEXT UP: Arizona State heads to Pullman, Washington for a Pac-10 meeting with Washington State on October 10.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• 21 different Sun Devils have made their debut in 2009.
• Senior Dexter Davis is fourth all-time in ASU history with 27.5 career sacks.
• ASU has 24 seniors on its roster, tied for 8th most in the nation.
Georgia Recap: Arizona State fell behind 14-3 at halftime of a rainy battle in Athens, Georgia, but a great defensive effort helped ASU respond in the second half. The Sun Devils outscored the Bulldogs 14-6 in the second half, but it was the last three for Georgia that proved to be the decisive number. The Bulldogs hit a 37-yard field goal as time expired to pick up the 20-17 win at Sanford Stadium. Jarrell Holman led the way for the Sun Devil defense, intercepting two passes, returning one for a score, and recovering a fumble. Vontaze Burfict recorded a career-high 11 tackles, leading the Sun Devil defense. Dimitri Nance equaled his career high with 92 rushing yards and also caught a touchdown pass.
ASU at Georgia Notes:
• LeQuan Lewis made his Sun Devil debut.
• Jarrell Holman recorded his first career interception, scored his first career touchdown and recovered his first career fumble.
• Trevor Hankins booted a career-long 69-yard punt.
• The Sun Devil defense scored its second touchdown of the season on Jarrell Holman's 47-yard interception return for touchdown.
• Dimitri Nance caught his first career touchdown pass.
• Former Sun Devil and current PGA golfer Phil Mickelson was on the ASU sidelines, driving to the game following his round at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Mickelson went on to win the tournament on Sunday with a final-round 65.
• Arizona State played its first game in the Eastern time zone since a trip to Miami, Florida in 1997.
All The Way Omar: When Omar Bolden took the opening kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown against ULM on September 19, he became the first ASU player to ever return the game's opening kickoff for a score. It was the 13th kickoff return touchdown in ASU history and the first since Rudy Burgess took one back 98-yards against USC in 2007.
Run, Dimitri, Run: Dimitri Nance has solidified his hold on the starting running back spot over the past two games. The senior rushed for 82 yards against ULM, then ran for 92 against the Bulldogs. The 92-yard game equals Nance's career high, set in 2007 against Washington and equaled in 2008 against UNLV. Nance also caught a touchdown pass, a six yarder from Danny Sullivan for his first career receiving touchdown.
Making An Impact: Highly touted true freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been proving that he is worth all the hype through his first three collegiate games. Burfict had a coming out party against Georgia at Sanford Stadium, leading the Sun Devils with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Burfict made several highlight reel plays, headed by his flying leap over the Georgia offensive line and subsequent tackle for loss on a fourth and one play, giving ASU the ball back. Through the first three games of 2009, Burfict leads Arizona State with his 21 tackles. He's recorded three tackles for loss, a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery.
Debuts: 21 different ASU players have made their Sun Devil debuts so far this season. Those that have debuted are: Matt Hustad, Andrew Sampson, Derrall Anderson, Keelan Johnson, Toa Tuitea, William Sutton, Corey Adams, Dean DeLeone, Vontaze Burfict, Deveron Carr, Jonathan Carr, Jonathan Clark, Cameron Marshall, Brian Matsumoto, Brock Osweiler, Patrick Jamison, A.J. Pickens, Greg Smith, James Morrison, LeQuan Lewis, Bobby Wenzig and Steven Figueroa. Of those 21, seven (Sutton, Adams, Burfict, Marshall, Osweiler, Smith and Wenzig) are true freshmen. ASU played a school-record 10 true freshmen last season.
Start Me Up: Eight Sun Devils have made their first career starts so far in 2009. Gerell Robinson started at wide receiver against Idaho State, Andrew Sampson and Matt Hustad both started on the offensive line against Idaho State, William Sutton and Dean DeLeone started on the defensive line against the Bengals, Brandon Magee started at linebacker, Jarrell Holman started at safety and Danny Sullivan started at quarterback against ISU.
Player of the Week Against Idaho State: Senior linebacker Mike Nixon did everything but lead the marching band at halftime of the opener against Idaho State. The 26-year old team captain intercepted three passes, returned one for a touchdown, blocked a punt and recorded four tackles, including one for loss. Now in his fourth season in maroon and gold, Nixon went the first 30 games of his career without an interception, but since picking off his first career pass at Cal last season, he has intercepted eight passes in his last 10 games. He tied for the Pac-10 lead with five last year, including returning one for a score. Nixon became the first Sun Devil with three interceptions since Nathan LaDuke against Houston (Sept. 23) in 1989. Nixon's blocked punt was the first by a Sun Devil since 2006, when Brandon Smith blocked a Colorado punt in Boulder. For his efforts, Nixon was named both the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week and the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week.
Emergency Kick: Freshman kicker Bobby Wenzig was expected to redshirt in 2009, but that all changed when he was forced into emergency action against ULM on September 19. Filling in for Thomas Weber, Wenzig has gone 7-7 on PATs and 2-3 on field goals for 13 points.
Disruptive Dexter: Playing in his senior season, Dexter Davis is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding career in maroon and gold. The Phoenix native put up great numbers for the third consecutive year in 2008, recording a team-high 11.0 sacks, third most in the Pac-10 and tied for the sixth highest single-season total in school history. Davis also owns the eighth highest total, 10.5 in 2007. Davis has 27.5 sacks in his Sun Devil career, fourth most in school history. The 11 sacks in 2008 established a new career high for Davis, who has eight career multi-sack games. He is a half sack shy of Vernon Maxwell (1979-82) for third place on the school's all-time list. Terrell Suggs (2000-02) is the leader with 44. Davis earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 last season and was a Second Team All-Pac-10 choice in 2007. He earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-American status from The Sporting News in 2006.
Mr. Dependable: Dexter Davis is the only returning player in the nation who has recorded double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons (10.5 in 2007 and 11 in 2008). He also has started 41 of a possible 41 games in his Sun Devil career, one of only three returning seniors in the Pac-10 who can boast that stat. The others are Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Cal's Syd'Quan Thompson. In the past 25 years, only four other Sun Devils have started as many games as Davis. Scott Peters started 44 games from 1998 to 2001, the most since 1984.
Ball Hawks: ASU collected three more turnovers against Georgia, intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble. That gives the Sun Devils 11 total on the year, including eight INTs. Jarrell Holman displayed an eye for the ball against the Bulldogs, picking off two passes and recovering a fumble. He returned the first interception 47-yards for a touchdown. The Sun Devils currently hold a turnover ratio of 11 to 1. The +10 leads the nation and the ASU defense has now scored two touchdowns on interception returns. Mike Nixon took one back against Idaho State.
The Road Less Traveled: Arizona State's trip to Georgia for the non-conference road game was something foreign to all but seven members of the roster. Only Dexter Davis, Gerald Munns, Chris McGaha, Mike Nixon, Dimitri Nance, Shaun DeWitty and Travis Goethel saw action the last time ASU played a non-conference road game, in 2006 at Colorado. ASU beat the Buffaloes 21-3 in that game, with Davis recording five tackles, including two for loss. The Georgia trip was the longest by the Sun Devils since they traveled to Miami, Florida for a meeting with the Hurricanes in 1997.
Push 'Em Back, Push 'Em Back: The Sun Devil defense has been stingy two games into the 2009 season. Opponents so far have run 103 plays, with 17 of those resulting in negative yardage. Opponents have lost a total of 44 yards while also turning the ball over eight times.
Six Pack From Corona: The 2009 Sun Devil football team boasts six players from Centennial High School in Corona, California. Sophomore RB Ryan Bass and sophomore LBs Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee will welcome former high school classmates Vontaze Burfict, William Sutton and Jarrid Bryant to Tempe this season. This marks the first time in school history that ASU has had six players from an out-of-state high school. Bryant spent three seasons at Centennial High School before spending his senior season at Salisbury Prep in Connecticut. Magee, Sutton, Bass, Lyons and Burfict are all expected to be major contributors this season, while Bryant is expected to redshirt.
Two-Sport Athlete: Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee is making the most of his opportunity to be a Sun Devil. Not only is he contributing on the gridiron for ASU, but he is also a member of the Sun Devil Baseball team. Magee was a member of the 2009 Pac-10 Champion Sun Devil nine and traveled with the team to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series, where they finished third in the country. Magee appeared in 13 games for the baseball team, all as a pinch hitter, as he juggled baseball with spring football. Magee was a 29th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 MLB draft.
Big Guy: Perhaps no true freshman made a bigger impact during the 2008 season than defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. The Las Vegas, Nevada product finished seventh on the team with 44 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. He also scored a touchdown after recovering a fumble during his rookie season. He was a consensus Freshman All-American and also earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. The sophomore will be expected to play a major role for the Sun Devil defense in 2009, teaming up with fellow d-lineman Dexter Davis to form a devastating pass rush duo.
Hail To The Chief: Sophomore corner Josh Jordan had an interesting offseason at Arizona State. The Las Vegas product ran for and was elected as a Student Senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Jordan will serve in that capacity for the 2009-10 school year.
Gaining Experience: 10 true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen saw action during the 2008 season, including six who started at least one game. 21 different players made their first career start last season, including six on the offensive line. The 10 true freshmen was the highest total to ever play in school history, eclipsing the nine that played in 1994.
Winning Tradition: Since 1950, Arizona State football has the 10th highest winning percentage in the national among all FBS Schools. Since 1950, ASU is 435-216-8 in their 659 games, a winning percentage of .667. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .758 winning percentage (513-160-12). Dennis Erickson is sixth among active coaches winning percentage among coaches with at least 10 years as a FBS coach.
Record Tying Night Against ISU: Thomas Weber had a memorable first game of the 2009 campaign, booting five field goals and scoring a career-high 20 points (5 FGs, 5 PATs) in the win over Idaho State. The five field goals ties a school record held by who else but Luis Zendejas. Zendejas kicked five field goals against Stanford in 1983. The 20 points by Weber surpasses his previous high of 15 (4 FGs, 3 PATs) set last season against Stanford and was also the most ever by a Sun Devil in school history.
Kicking His Way To The Top: Thomas Weber is 48-56 (86%) on field goal attempts and has scored 224 points in his ASU career. He connected on 43 made field goals during his first two seaons, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker in his first two years with the program, surpassing Luis Zendejas’ previous record of 40. His 48 career field goals also puts Weber in fourth place on ASU’s all-time made field goal list, one behind Mike Barth (1999-2002). The record is 81, held by Zendejas. Weber's 224 points is the fifth highest total in school history in points by a kicker. He also has kicked the third longest field goal in school history, a 53-yarder at the Rose Bowl against UCLA in 2007. His 24 made field goals in 2007 was the second most in a single season in school history, and his 19 last season was the fifth most. Weber scored 118 points in his debut season in 2007, tied with Mike Barth (2002) for the most points by a kicker in a single season.
Playboy Twice: Kicker Thomas Weber has been named a Preseason First Team All-American by Playboy Magazine, the second straight year he has made the Playboy team. Weber becomes only the second Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team twice. Cornerback Mike Richardson made the team in 1981 and 1982. Weber becomes the 14th Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team. It is the 16th time an ASU player has been named to the squad (Weber and Richardson twice). Former Sun Devil head coach Bruce Snyder was named to the team in 1997 as the National Coach-of-the-Year.
All-Decade Team: Former Sun Devil and current Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs was named to the College Football All-Decade Team by the The Sporting News.