Pac-12 football championship set for Saturday in Tempe
Arizona State Athletics
PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7
7/7/10 STANFORD (10-2, 7-2) at 11/11/13 ARIZONA STATE (10-2, 8-1)
Site: Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) 4:45 p.m. PT/5:45 p.m. MT Tempe, Ariz. ESPN
Series History: Arizona State leads, 16-12-0
Last Meeting: Stanford, 42-28 (9/21/13)
Season rankings listed (BCS/AP/Coaches poll)
STANFORD CARDINAL: Have won 10 or more games in each of the last four seasons, posting an overall record of 45-7 over that four year span. . . Stanford’s defense has been among the nation’s best this season at stopping the run and getting to the opposing quarterback. The Cardinal have allowed just 87.3 yards rushing per game (No. 3 in the FBS) and are averaging 2.92 sacks per game (tied for No. 11 in FBS). . . The Cardinal defense is led by senior LB Trent Murphy and senior LB Shayne Skov, a Butkus Award finalist. Murphy is second the FBS in sacks (1.1 per game) and is sixth in the FBS in tackles for loss (1.6 per game), while Skov is the team’s leading tackler with 85 stops. . . Stanford has allowed just 313 rushing yards over its last six games, that’s 52.2 yards/game with no team reaching the 100-yard mark over that stretch. . . Offensively, the Stanford ground game is in good hands with senior RB Tyler Gaffney. Gaffney is third in the league, averaging 123.8 yards per game. His 1,485 yards are the third best single-season effort in school history. Gaffney has 17 rushing touchdowns and 21 yards lost this season. He has lost yardage on just 11 of his 284 carries. Gaffney has eight 100+ rushing yard games this season. He is one of four Stanford players to register at least six 100-yard rushing games.. . . Junior WR Ty Montgomery provides a deep threat and is a special teams weapon. He averages 161.9 all-purpose yards per game. He’s posted 12 TDs, including two by kickoff return. . . Stanford is 31-2 under head coach David Shaw when out-rushing an opponent, and 18-4 when the Cardinal produces a 100-yard rusher . . Coach David Shaw notched 30 career wins in his first 35 games, which is the third-fastest among active coaches (Larry Coker [with Miami: 30-31], Chris Peterson [with Boise State: 30-33]. . . Stanford is looking for a repeat appearance in the Rose Bowl Game after defeating Wisconsin in last year’s game, 20-14. The Cardinal are 6-6-1 all-time in the Rose Bowl Game and appeared in the very first Rose Bowl Game in 1902 (lost to Michigan, 49-0).
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State has its first 10-win season since 1996 when they finished 11-1 and made their last Rose Bowl Game appearance (lost to Ohio State, 20-17). . . The Sun Devil offense has scored 30 or more points in 11 of 12 games this season, including a school record six games where they posted 50 or more points. The Sun Devils are averaging 43.2 points per game, which is just behind their single-season record of 46.8 ppg set in 1972. . . Defense had allowed 451.8 yards per game through the first four FBS games of the season, including 215.8 rushing yards per game. Over the last seven games, it has given up 321.0 total yards per game, including just 98.9 rushing yards per game. . . Senior DBs Alden Darby and Robert Nelson lead a Sun Devil secondary that’s allowing just 217.2 passing yards per game. Darby leads the squad in passes defended (12), while Nelson is tied for the Pac-12 lead with six interceptions. . . Junior QB Taylor Kelly has seven rushing touchdowns over the last six games. Those seven touchdowns are notable as Kelly had just one rushing touchdown in 18 games prior to the current streak. Through 12 games, Kelly already has 3,337 passing yards and is averaging 278.1 yards per game and is on pace to challenge the school records in both categories. Kelly started the season with five consecutive games of throwing for 300 or more passing yards and now has eight career games where he has accomplished the feat, moving him into sole possession for the third-most games with 300 or more passing yards. Statistically, the team relies heavily on Kelly’s ball protection, as ASU is 6-7 with Kelly as the starter when he throws an interception, compared to an unblemished 11-0 record when he doesn’t. . . Freshman PK Zane Gonzalez has set an ASU record for most points in a season by a Sun Devil kicker with 124 points. He’s hit a school-best 18 consecutive field goals. . . The Sun Devils don’t give referees much reason to reach for their pockets under Todd Graham. ASU ranks tied for fifth nationally in penalties per game (3.7) and is third in penalty yards per game at (28.5), leading the Pac-12 in both categories.