Football Heads to San Diego State Saturday
Sept. 9, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
The Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1), winners of two straight, take on the San Diego State Aztecs Saturday night in San Diego. Off to the earliest start in school history and the beginning of the longest regular season in the university annals, Arizona State's trip to Qualcomm Stadium is the only road tilt in the middle of a streak that has the team playing five of six games at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU posted a convincing 46-13 win over Central Florida in Dirk Koetter's 50th game as a head coach on Saturday (Sept. 7) as the Sun Devils outscored the Golden Knights 36-0 in the second half, including 29 points within 5:21 in the third quarter.
Arizona State's defense has yielded just 10.33 points per game and has held opponents to just 23.8 percent on third down (10-of-42). The Sun Devils are using three tailbacks as redshirt freshmen Cornell Canidate (31 carries), junior Mike Williams (30 carries) and redshirt freshman Hakim Hill (29 carries) all are carrying the leather and also giving ASU a spark on special teams. Hill had 157 kickoff return yards (five attempts) vs. UCF, just two yards short of the school record, as he is 18th in the nation at 27.17 yards per kickoff return. The Sun Devils are seventh in the nation at 28.5 yards per return overall.
The team enjoys its first bye week of the year next week (Sept. 21) and opens ASU's 25th year of Pac-10 Conference play on Sept. 28 with the Stanford Cardinal at Sun Devil Stadium on ABC at 12:30 p.m.
In the SeriesArizona State holds an 8-0-1 advantage in the series with San Diego State including a 5-0-1 advantage in games played in San Diego. The Sun Devils hold a four-game winning streak in the series between the two schools which are located just 368 miles apart including last year's 38-7 season-opening victory over the Aztecs at Sun Devil Stadium.
ASU won the last meeting at SDSU's Qualcomm Stadium with a 10-7 win in San Diego on Aug. 31, 2000, while the Sun Devils have given up just 14 points in the last five meetings with the Aztecs including just a touchdown in each of the last two games and shutouts in the previous three (66-0 in 1957, 61-0 in 1956 and 46-0 in 1955). Arizona State holds a 98-27-2 all-time record (.780) vs. the teams that make up the four-year-old Mountain West Conference.
ExposureASU's newest television partner, AZ-TV, will broadcast this week's game live to a local audience. AZ-TV can be seen locally on Channel 13. Tom Dillon and Doug Plank will call the action on the broadcast, which will be produced by Fox Sports Arizona.
The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 13 of ASU's football games this season live on its 16-station network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play), Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst), Vince Marotta (pre- and postgame) and Dave Burns (sidelines) will bring the action to Sun Devil fans. The game can also be heard live on ASU's official web site at www.TheSunDevils.com.
Team CaptainsHead coach Dirk Koetter will select single-game captains each week. Koetter's selections for the San Diego State game are junior defensive tackle Brian Montesanto, sophomore cornerback R.J. Oliver and junior left tackle Regis Crawford.
Last Time OutAndrew Walter came off the bench to throw two touchdowns to Shaun McDonald as Arizona State rallied for a 46-13 victory over Central Florida on Sept. 7. McDonald also teamed with starter Chad Christensen on a scoring pass, and Terrell Suggs led a dominating defense with three sacks, a near-sack that produced one of the Sun Devils' two touchdowns on interceptions, five tackles for losses and two pass deflections.
'The Sun Devils put the game away with a 29-point outburst in 5:21 of the third capped by consecutive interception returns for scores. The surge began after the first of ASU's three pickoffs - by true freshman Jamar Williams, who also had a sack and two pass deflections.
Walter began the scoring series, but Christensen came back in for the key play that he had practiced all week- a 45-yard pass to Mike Pinkard on fourth-and-1. Three plays later, Walter found McDonald in the left flat, and the all-Pac-10 receiver ran right parallel to the goal line until he found room to turn upfield, scoring at 7:14 in the third. Sixty-six seconds later, Suggs sacked Schneider in the end zone, increasing the lead to 19-13.
The Sun Devils tried another fourth-down play after the Knights' post-safety kick, and the fake punt worked when upback Riccardo Stewart went 28 yards to the UCF 26. Walter found McDonald, who caught a 5-yard TD pass from Christensen in the first half, in the back of the end zone on the next play with 3:32 left.
The ASU defense harassed UCF quarterbacks all evening, collecting five quarterback sacks and 13 tackles for losses. The Golden Knights were 0-for-11 on third-down conversions and had just 190 yards of total offense (80 of which came on one pass play for a touchdown).
Senior linebacker Josh Amobi returned Schneider's second interception 21 yards for a score with 3:15 to go in the third, and sophomore defensive end Connor Banks made it 39-13 when he scored on a 9-yard interception return off Brian Miller, Schneider's replacement, with 1:54 left. Redshirt freshman Cornell Canidate added a 6-yard scoring run in the fourth . He led ASU in rushing with 57 yards on 11 carries (5.2 avg).
Redshirt freshman tailback Hakim Hill returned five kickoffs for 157 yards, just two yards shy of the school record of 159 set in 1990 by Kevin Galbreath (vs. Houston).
First-Year Head CoachesSan Diego State's Tom Craft is the first of three first-year head coaches that the Sun Devils will face in 2002. Stanford's Buddy Teevens and Cal's Jeff Tedford are the other two. In fact, just two of the 13 head coaches ASU will face in 2002 have been at their respective schools more than five years: Washington State's Mike Price and Oregon's Mike Bellotti.
Notes on the DefenseArizona State's defense has tallied 13 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in the first three games... through three games, ASU's opponents have been successful on just 23.8 percent of third down conversions (10-of-42)... the Sun Devils held Eastern Washington to minus-13 rushing yards on Aug. 31, the lowest total in 10 seasons since Howard Schnellenberger's Louisville struggled to minus-78 rushing yards in 1992 at Sun Devil Stadium... ASU also held Eastern Washington scoreless with the Eagles' only points in the game coming on a team safety in the third quarter... it marked the first time since the Sun Devils' 19-0 shutout of Nebraska in 1996 that ASU's defense did not allow a point in a game... ASU has yielded just 236.3 yards of total offense (20th in the nation) in the first three games, including 101.0 yards rushing and 135.3 yards passing (21st in the nation)... last year, ASU finished eighth in the Pac-10 in total defense and seventh in passing defense, allowing 399.4 yards of total offense and 260.9 passing yards per game... so far in 2002, ASU's young defensive backs have made significant contributions on defense...sophomore safeties Jason Shivers and Riccardo Stewart each tallied double figures in tackles in ASU's season-opener at Nebraska with 16 and 10 stops, respectively, while true freshman safety Matt Fawley, who made his first career start vs. Eastern Washington, tied for the team lead in tackles in that game with nine stops... junior defensive end Terrell Suggs has tallied a career-high three sacks in each of the past two games...ASU also recorded a safety for the first time since Nov. 11, 2001 vs. #11 Washington State when Suggs posted a sack against Central Florida... in the third quarter, commonly known as the adjustment quarter, ASU has outscored its opponents 36-14... 'ASU has the fastest defense I have seen in a while, flying to the ball, pressure from the interior and from the ends as well. We could just not handle the speed of the defense and I credit them for that.'--UCF Head Coach Mike Kruczek.
Youth MovementThree more true freshmen and four more redshirt freshmen joined ASU's youth movement on vs. Eastern Washington, giving ASU a total of 27 who saw the first action of their ASU careers in the first two games (eight true freshmen, 12 redshirt freshmen and seven juniors). A total of 20 players saw the first action of their ASU careers at Nebraska, while 31 of ASU's 63 players who saw action vs. EWU were true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores. Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Christensen and cornerback Josh Golden have all three games this year, while true freshman safety Matt Fawley earned his second career start Saturday vs. UCF. ASU's current depth chart features a total of 26 underclassmen (freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores), including nine starters.
Three more true freshmen - cornerback Mike Davis Jr., defensive lineman Ali Likio and offensive lineman Chaz White - all played for the first time of their careers vs. Eastern Washington, giving ASU a total of eight true freshmen to see action this year. The five true freshmen who saw action at Nebraska were safety Fawley, wide receiver Derek Hagan, defensive end Nick Johnson, fullback Mike Talbot and linebacker Jamar Williams.
That total already surpasses the number of true freshmen who played last year (four) and matches the most true freshmen to play in a season since 1994. That year's eight true freshmen included Sun Devil standouts Terry Battle, Jason Simmons, Damien Richardson and Pat Tillman. ASU's current roster features 20 players who saw action during their true freshman seasons: Daryl Lightfoot, Jason Shivers, Barton Hammit and Lamar Baker (2001); Terrell Suggs, Mike Karney, Mike Williams and Skyler Fulton (2000); Solomon Bates, Josh Amobi and Mike Barth (1999); and Justin Taplin (1998).
Home OpenersWith their 38-2 victory over Eastern Washington on Aug. 31, the Sun Devils extended their winning streak in home openers to four. ASU now holds a 42-15-1 (.733) record in home openers including wins in their last four and seven of their last eight. ASU also is 15-3 in non-conference home games from 1995-present, with one more non-league game with North Carolina on Oct. 5.
The Century MarkRedshirt freshman Cornell Canidate turned in 15 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown vs. Eastern Washington on Aug. 31. He became the first rookie to top the century mark in a game since Mike Williams turned in a 143-yard showing against Colorado State in 2000 as a true freshman. ASU holds 234-42-5 (.842) all time when a player gains 100 yards or more on the ground.
Suggs on Lombardi & Nagurski Watch ListsA preseason All-American and All-Pac-10 selection, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs is on the preseason watch lists for two of the most prestigous awards in college football, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Suggs is one of 49 players on the preseason watch list for the 33rd Rotary Lombardi Award. The Lombardi Award is annually presented to the top lineman in the country with eligibility limited to down linemen and defenders who line up within five yards of the football. To be eligible for the preseason watch list, players had to have earned All-America or first-team all-conference honors last year. The Lombardi Award watch list will be narrowed down to 12 semifinalists later in the fall with the winner to be announced on December 11 in Houston.
Suggs is also listed among the 64 players on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top collegiate defensive player. The winner is selected by the 800-member Football Writers Association of America and will be presented on Dec. 9 in Charlotte, N.C.
Climbing the Career ChartsWith three sacks last week vs. UCF, junior defensive end Terrell Suggs continues to climb the ASU career charts for both sacks and tackles for loss. The team leader in each category in each of the last two seasons, he had two TFLs and a sack at Nebraska in ASU's season-opener. He has moved into third with 27 career sacks and seventh in career TFLs with 42. Last year, the third-team Football News All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 selection led the Pac-10 in solo sacks and tied for first with four forced fumbles. Suggs finished second in the conference in total sacks (10 for 57 yards) and tackles for loss (18 for 79 yards) in 2001.
ASU Career Sacks1. 41 Shante Carver, 1990-932. 28 Vernon Maxwell, 1979-823. 27 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present4. 26 Scott Stephen, 1983-865. 22 Bob Kohrs, 1978-796. 20 Jim Jeffcoat, 1979-82
ASU Career Tackles for Loss1. 58 Bob Kohrs, 1976-792. 57 Shante Carver, 1990-93 57 Al Harris, 1975-784. 56 Vernon Maxwell, 1979-825. 53 Adam Archuleta, 1997-006. 46 Scott Stephen, 1983-867. 42 Terrell Suggs, 2000-present
Young Guns Sophomore Riccardo Stewart has taken over the team lead in tackles as he now has 24 (13 solos, 11 assists) after posting eight tackles against Central Florida. Stewart has added five tackles for loss and two sacks.
Sophomore free safety Jason Shivers is third on the team with 20 tackles (eight solo, 12 assists). He paced the Sun Devils in tackles with 16 in the season-opener at Nebraska, marking the sixth time in his young career that he has led the team in the category. His total of 16 tackles (seven solos, nine assists) vs. the Huskers was also just one shy of his career high of 17 last year vs. Washington. The UCF game marked the first time this year Shivers did not lead the team in tackles and this week marks the first time since October of last year he has not led the team in tackles on the overall stat sheet.
In 2001 as a true freshman, Shivers led the Sun Devils and finished eighth in the Pac-10 with an average of 8.1 tackles per game. With his 89 tackles (51 solo stops), the Sporting News Freshman All-American became the first Sun Devil freshman to lead the team in tackles and the first underclassman since Darren Woodson turned in 122 tackles as a sophomore in 1989.
The leader of ASU's very young backfield, Shivers turned in a career-best 17 tackles last Oct. 27 against Washington (four solos, 13 assists), which was the third-highest single-game total in the Pac-10 last year. It also marked the most tackles by a Sun Devil since Joe Cesta had 17 (12 solo) in a 1998 loss at Oregon.
McDonald on Biletnikoff Watch ListJunior wide receiver Shaun McDonald is one of 32 players on the watch list for the 2000 Biletnikoff Award, which is annually presented to the top wide receiver in the country by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. The list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists and then three finalists later this fall, while the award will be presented at the ESPN Annual Awards show on Dec. 12.
Racking up the Receiving YardsA preseason second-team All-American by Athlon and an All-Pac-10 selection by several publications, junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald finished second on the ASU single-season charts with 1,104 receiving yards last year, just 40 yards shy of the single-season mark of 1,144 yards set by Morris Owens in 1973. He became only the fifth Sun Devil in school history to amass 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and his total of 1,104 yards nearly triples the 358 yards he had the previous year as a redshirt freshman. McDonald led the Pac-10 and finished 10th in the nation with an average of 100.4 yards per game. He also shattered ASU single-season marks for receiving yards per game (100.4 ypg) and receiving yards per catch (23.5 ypc), records previously held by Ron Fair (98.3 yards per game in 1989) and Morris Owens (22.0 yards per catch in 1973).
A 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection, McDonald turned in a total of five 100-yard games last season, matching the five that Keith Poole had in 1996 and just one shy of the six that Ron Fair had in 1989. McDonald caught 10 touchdown passes in 2001 which ranks fifth on the ASU single-season list for TD catches. He caught at least one touchdown pass in all but four games last year.
McDonald opened the 2002 season with a solid performance, catching seven passes for 73 yards at Nebraska. He has now caught at least one pass in each of the last 18 games, dating back to the 2000 season. McDonald caught five passes for 54 yards and three touchdowns against UCF, and the speedy junior leads the Sun Devils in receiving with 13 catches for 132 yards on the year.
ASU Single-Season Receiving Yards (Catches)1. 1,144 Morris Owens (52), 19732. 1,104 Shaun McDonald (47), 20013. 1,082 Ron Fair (64), 19894. 1,036 Keith Poole (55), 19955. 1,009 J.D. Hill (61), 19706. 974 Greg Hudson (62), 1973
ASU Single-Season Touchdown Catches1. 14 Doug Allen, 19842. 12 Steve Holden, 19723. 11 Keith Poole, 1996 11 J.D. Hill, 19705. 10 Shaun McDonald, 2001
Early BirdsArizona State's August 24th game at Nebraska in the BCA Classic marked the earliest start to the football season in school history. The August 24th start was six days earlier than the previous earliest season opener, which was in 1997 when the team opened at home vs. New Mexico State on Aug. 30. Only two other Division I-A football games were played earlier this season with Colorado State's Aug. 22 game at Virginia being the earliest. A total of four Division I-A games were played on Aug. 24.
The Sun Devils' 2002 season will also enter uncharted waters as the team will play 13 regular-season games, the most in school history. Taking into account the number of scheduled games and the early start, ASU will have played three games by the time that many teams will have just kicked off the 2002 campaign.
All-Conference SelectionsFour Sun Devils earned first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors in 2001, trailing just UCLA which had five first-team selections. A total of 10 Sun Devils appeared on the list of all-conference honorees last year, while nine players earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors. Returning All-Pac-10 honorees include WR Shaun McDonald and DE Terrell Suggs (first team) and PK Mike Barth, FB Mike Karney and S Alfred Williams (HM). ASU's returning Pac-10 All-Academic selections include TB Mike Williams, DL Phil Howard and PK Mike Barth (first team), S Patrick Wilson (second team) and WR Skyler Fulton (HM).
The GraduatesASU's football roster features six student-athletes who have earned their undergraduate degrees - defensive lineman James Beal, tight end Matt Cooper, defensive lineman Phil Howard, fullback Darrel Turner, linebacker Mason Unck and safety Alfred Williams - while several others are scheduled to graduate in December of 2002, including long snapper Jay Breckenridge, defensive lineman Danny Masaniai, tight end Mike Pinkard, wide receiver Justin Taplin and safety Patrick Wilson.
NFL Draft NotesWith left tackle Levi Jones being taken by the Cincinnati Bengals as the 10th pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, it marked the third straight season and 20th overall that a Sun Devil has been taken in the first round. Arizona State had a total of four offensive linemen drafted in the first round in 2002 (Jones, Scott Peters, Travis Scott and Kyle Kosier). Since the NFL Draft has gone to its current format of seven rounds in 1994, only Penn State in 1996 has had four offensive linemen taken in the draft.
ASU Hall of Fame InducteesA pair of former Sun Devil football standouts, Danny Villa and Freddie Williams, will be among the 12 inductees into the Arizona State Hall of Fame this season. All 12 inductees will be honored at halftime of the Homecoming/Hall of Fame football game on Oct. 26 vs. Washington at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field and at ceremonies throughout the weekend.
Villa (1983-86) was team captain and anchor of the 1986 offensive line that propelled Arizona State to its first Pac-10 Conference title and the 1987 Rose Bowl crown. Villa was a 1986 consensus All-America pick by the Associated Press and the Football Writers Association, the first offensive lineman at Arizona State to achieve this status. He also won the 1986 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-10 Offensive Lineman of the Year, as voted by the conference's defensive linemen.
'Fast Freddie' Williams (1973-76) earned Associated Press honorable-mention All-America status in 1975 and AP and UPI honorable-mention All-America in 1974. Williams was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 1974 and 1975 and helped the 1975 team post an undefeated 12-0 record, a Fiesta Bowl victory and a No. 2 final national ranking. He currently is the second all-time leading rusher in Arizona State history with 3,424 yards and 17 career 100-yard games.
Jefferson to Be Inducted into College Hall of FameFormer ASU wide receiver John Jefferson (1974-77) will be one of 13 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., this fall. Jefferson, who earned his B.A. in history from Arizona State in 1989, becomes the third Sun Devil to be inducted into the College Hall of Fame. Legendary head coach es Dan Devine and Frank Kush were inducted in 1985 and 1996, respectively, quarterback Danny White was inducted in 1997 and defensive back Mike Haynes was inducted in 2001.
A 1979 inductee into the Arizona State Hall of Fame, Jefferson is known as arguably the greatest pass-catcher in the history of the program. Jefferson rewrote the university, Western Athletic Conference and NCAA record books. A consensus All-America selection in 1977 and two-time all-conference pick, Jefferson concluded his career with an NCAA record 42 consecutive games with a reception. He remains the ASU all-time leader in career receptions with 188 and career receiving yardage with 2,993 yards. Recognized as Arizona Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1977, Jefferson was twice selected as the team's Most Valuable Player and led the team in receiving all four years.
Following graduation, Jefferson was selected fourth overall in the first round of the 1978 National Football League draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played parts of eight NFL seasons with the Chargers, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, being named to the Pro Bowl four times. After retiring, Jefferson became an assistant coach at the University of Kansas before becoming director of player development for the Washington Redskins.
Silver AnniversaryThe 2002 football season will mark Arizona State's 25th year as a member of the Pacific-10 Conference, a milestone which is commemorated on the covers of this season's football media guide. The covers feature a collage of many of the players, coaches and moments that have contributed to ASU's successes in the Pac-10, including the Sun Devils' 1986 and 1996 Pac-10 Championship seasons.