Football Ends Non-Conference Slate With Trip To North Carolina

Oct. 13, 2003

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    Coming off a 59-14 victory over Oregon last weekend at Sun Devil Stadium, the Arizona State Sun Devils wrap up their non-conference schedule with a trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday afternoon. Arizona State heads to Chapel Hill after snapping a three-game losing streak and notching the team's first Pac-10 win of the season with last week's victory over the Ducks. ASU also aims to get its second win in the series with the Tar Heels and its first against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1971 after a 38-35 loss to UNC last year at Sun Devil Stadium. North Carolina brings a 1-5 overall record into Saturday afternoon's game after notching the team's first win of the year with a 28-17 victory at East Carolina last week.

    In the Series
    Arizona State and North Carolina are tied in the all-time series 1-1 following the Tar Heels' 38-35 victory last year on Oct. 5 at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU won the first meeting between the two teams, which came in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30, 1970 at Grant Field in Atlanta, Ga. In one of the most uncharacteristic games in school history, played in the middle of a raging snowstorm (see page 219 of the ASU media guide for a photo), the Sun Devils earned a 48-26 victory over the Tar Heels to finish the season with a perfect 11-0 record and a No. 6 national ranking. ASU is 3-6 all time vs. teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference with the team's last win over an ACC team coming in 1971 with a 45-38 victory over Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 11-station network including flagship stations KTAR 620 AM and ESPN Radio 860 AM in Phoenix. Tim Healey (play-by-play), Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst), Vince Marotta and Paul Calvisi (pregame, halftime and postgame) will bring the action to Sun Devil fans. Calvisi will also provide reports from the ASU sidelines during home games. ASU games can also be heard live on ASU's official web site at There will be no television for the North Carolina game.

    Last Time Out
    Led by junior quarterback Andrew Walter who threw for a season-high 316 yards and three touchdowns, the Sun Devils snapped a three-game losing streak with a 59-14 victory over Oregon last weekend at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State scored on its last six possessions in the game and turned in season highs for scoring, passing and total offense en route to the team's first Pac-10 win of the season.

    The Sun Devils wasted no time in getting on the board with sophomore linebacker Jamar Williams stepping in front of a Kellen Clemens pass on the third play from scrimmage and returning it 50 yards for a score to give ASU an early 7-0 lead. Following the ASU kickoff, junior cornerback Chris McKenzie did it again, picking off Clemens' second pass of the game on the Oregon 35-yard line and returning it 23 yards to set up a 6-yard run by sophomore tailback Hakim Hill and give the Sun Devils a 14-0 lead just 2:13 into the game.

    The Sun Devils continued to pour it on in the second quarter with Walter finding wide receivers Derek Hagan and Skyler Fulton on two long passes to bring ASU down to the Oregon 10-yard line. Two plays later, Hill carried the ball two yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game and a 21-0 Sun Devil lead. Hill finished the game with 57 yards and two touchdowns in 20 carries.

    On their next possession, the Oregon Ducks drove 80 yards down field in under two minutes to record their first score of the game. UO quarterback Jason Fife found receiver Demetrius Williams on a 31-yard pass before carrying the ball himself for a one-yard Oregon TD to cut the ASU lead to 21-7 at halftime.

    Walter opened the second half with a 49-yard completion to sophomore Matt Miller to bring the ball into Oregon territory, setting up a 43-yard field goal by freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth. Oregon answered the ASU score by driving 66 yards and scoring on a 16-yard pass from Fife to Tim Day, cutting the ASU lead to 24-14 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

    That was as close as Oregon would get as the Sun Devils went on to score 35 unanswered points to cruise to the 59-14 victory. Taking advantage of a 67-yard kick return from junior Daryl Lightfoot, Walter found Miller in the end zone on a three-yard pass for TD. Forcing Oregon into a quick three-and-out, the Devils quickly scored again using big plays, a 39-yard pass to Lightfoot and a 33-yard pass to Fulton, to set up a 5-yard TD pass from Walter to Fulton and put ASU on top 38-14 at the end of the third quarter.

    On the first play in the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman tailback Loren Wade broke through the defense and carried the ball 56 yards for a touchdown. Three plays later, the Devils had the ball back and scored again, this time on a 10-yard TD pass from Walter to Hagan to give ASU a 52-14 lead.

    With the second team offense on in relief late in the fourth quarter, sophomore tailback Cornell Canidate punched it in from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds left in the game for ASU's final score of the day.

    Hagan turned in his second straight banner game, catching seven passes for 108 yards and a TD, while Fulton added 86 yards on five catches with a TD. Sun Devil rushers combined for 173 yards and 4 touchdowns. Walter went 18-of-28 for 316 yards and three touchdowns. The Sun Devil defense was once again led by junior safeties Jason Shivers, who contributed nine tackes (three solo) on the day, and Riccardo Stewart, who had seven tackles and ASU's lone sack for a six-yard loss.

    Pick Pockets
    Sophomore Jamar Williams turned in his first interception of the season, picking off an Oregon pass and returning it 50 yards for touchdown in the first quarter last week vs. Oregon. That marked the third interception return for touchdown by the Sun Devils this season, which is the most since the 1980 team returned four picks for touchdown. ASU's single-season record is five, accomplished by the 1974 Sun Devils.

    The Sun Devils picked off two passes last week against the Ducks, including Williams' interception and the first career pick by junior cornerback Chris McKenzie. Arizona State has had seven different players grab 11 interceptions on the year with at least one interception in all six games this year. Junior safeties Riccardo Stewart and Jason Shivers lead the team with three interceptions each this season. Shivers, who has played in five of six games this year, is tied for second in the Pac-10 and 16th in the nation with 0.67 interceptions per game, while Stewart is tied for fourth in the league and 20th in the nation with 0.50 picks per game.

    Last year, the Sun Devils also spread the wealth in interceptions with 13 players combining for ASU's Pac-10-leading 22 picks (led by R.J. Oliver and Brett Hudson who each had four picks last year). This season, ASU is tied for third in the Pac-10 with 11 interceptions, trailing only Washington State (14) and UCLA (10) in the category and matching the 11 that the 2002 team had through six games last year.

    Shivers grabbed two of ASU's season-high-tying three interceptions Sept. 27 at Oregon State (ASU also had three picks vs. Utah State), marking the second time in his career that he has picked off two passes, with the first occasion being last year's 34-20 victory at Arizona on Nov. 29, 2002. ASU had three interceptions Sept. 13 against Utah State, including an interception return for touchdown by Stewart. Hudson also snagged his first interception of the year and the fifth of his ASU career vs. the Aggies, while Jones had his first career pick in that game. Stewart's touchdown marked the second straight game that an ASU player returned an interception for TD, after Oliver tied the ASU mark for longest return with a 100-yarder in ASU's season-opener vs. Northern Arizona. Oliver became the 10th player in Pac-10 history (and the second Sun Devil) to return an interception 100 yards for touchdown (ASU junior Emmanuel Franklin also had a 100-yard interception return in the 2001 season-opener against San Diego State). That marked the team-leading seventh career interception for Oliver, who led the Pac-10 in passes defended last year and is on the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.

    Walter's World
    Walter Game-by-Game Statistics | Walter Website
    For the second straight week, junior quarterback Andrew Walter turned in a season best with 316 yards on 18-of-28 passing with three touchdowns and no interception in last week's win over Oregon. It marked the second straight 300-yard passing game for Walter who has seven in his career. Two weeks ago, he threw for 305 yards on 19-of-38 passing with one TD Oct. 4 against then No. 10 USC. Walter has turned in solid efforts in all six games of the 2003 season and ranks fourth in the league in passing yards per game (252.2) and fifth in the league and 31st in the nation in total offense (240.5). Walter holds an 8-10 record as ASU's starter and has completed 426 passes for 5,936 yards and 43 TDs in his career.

    With his 316 yards last week vs. Oregon, Walter has moved into fifth on the ASU list with 5,936 career passing yards after just 31 career games and needs just 64 yards to become the fifth Sun Devil to throw for at least 6,000 yards in his career. Walter also needs just one passing touchdown to move into ASU's career top six, while he is 30th on the Pac-10's career touchdown passes list with 43 career scoring strikes. He needs four more to move in the league's top 25 in the category.

    In ASU's season-opening victory against Northern Arizona, Walter completed 15-of-24 passes for 224 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Walter threw four TD passes to three different receivers vs. NAU, marking the fifth time in his career that he has had at least four scoring strikes in a game.

    Last year, Walter turned in one of the finest seasons in school history, setting almost every school record for passing yards and total offense. Walter shattered the school record for passing yards in a single season, throwing for 3,877 yards to become the first passer in school history to top 3,000 yards and surpass the previous school record of 2,878 by Danny White in 1973. Despite not earning his first start until the fifth game of the year, Walter, who finished third in the Pac-10 and 19th in the nation in passing efficiency at 137.10, turned in the fourth-best single-season performance in Pac-10 history and became the first quarterback in Pac-10 history to turn in four 400-yard passing games in a season. No Pac-10 quarterback had ever thrown for more than three in a season and Washington's Cody Pickett and Walter are the only two to ever have four in a career. Walter completed 274 of 483 pass attempts, breaking ASU's single-season marks for attempts and completions - records previously held by Jake Plummer with 348 attempts in 1996 and Todd Hons with 199 completions in 1983 - while Walter's 28 TDs marked the second-best effort in school history behind Mike Pagel who threw 29 TD passes in 1981.

    With a 536-yard passing performance to upend No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19, Walter set Pac-10 and Arizona State school records for single-game passing yards, surpassing the previous mark of 534 yards by fellow Sun Devil Paul Justin vs. Washington State in 1989. He was named the Oct. 20 Sporting News, and USA National Player of the Week in addition to earning his first career Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honor.

    Walter also shattered the majority of ASU's total offense records, setting the marks for total yards (3,661 yards) and yards per game (261.5 ypg). He also tied Danny White (1973) with four games with at least 300 yards of total offense and turned in the sixth-best season in Pac-10 history. He finished third in the league and 18th in the nation in total offense.

    Hagan Turns in Second 100-Yard Day
    Sophomore wide receiver Derek Hagan turned in his second straight 100-yard receiving day, catching seven passes for 108 yards and one touchdown in last week's 59-14 victory over Oregon. Hagan had a career day Oct. 4 against USC, catching eight passes for 170 yards. Against USC, he played a key role in setting up both of ASU's touchdown drives, hauling in receptions of 35 and eight yards to help set up quarterback Andrew Walter's 12-yard scoring strike to senior Skyler Fulton in the first quarter. He also caught a 24-yard pass to get ASU to the USC 5-yard line in the third quarter, a drive which ended a one-yard TD run by redshirt freshman Loren Wade. Hagan's previous career bests were 95 yards in ASU's upset at then No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19, 2002 and six catches at USC on Nov. 16 of last year. With his efforts vs. USC and Oregon, Hagan became the first Sun Devil receiver to turn in back-to-back 100-yard games since NFL draft pick Shaun McDonald had three straight 100-yard efforts last season (175 yards at San Diego State, 221 vs. Stanford, 156 vs. North Carolina). Hagan ranks second on the team in receiving this season with 27 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns and needs just five catches and 14 yards to match his production from all of last season. Last year, Hagan broke College Football Hall of Famer John Jefferson's record for receptions by an ASU freshman with 32 catches (for 405 yards) on the year.

    Red-Zone Improvement
    The Sun Devils have scored on each of their last nine trips into the red zone, going 9-for-9 in their last two games (USC and Oregon) after scoring just 50 percent of the time in their first four games (6-12). ASU scored two TDs and one field goal in three trips into the red zone vs. the Trojans on Oct. 4, while in last week's win over the Ducks, ASU scored six touchdowns in six trips past Oregon's 20-yard line.

    Scoring Through the Air
    Junior quarterback Andrew Walter threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers last week in ASU's 59-14 win over Oregon, marking his fourth multiple touchdown game of the season and the 13th of his career. Walter completed four touchdown passes Sept. 6 against Northern Arizona, marking the fifth time in his career that he has had at least four TD passes in a game. Walter added a pair more in against both Utah State on Sept. 13 and Oregon State on Sept. 27. He has 43 TD passes in his career which ranks 30th on the Pac-10's career touchdown passes list. He needs four more TD passes to move into the league's top 25 in the category, while he is currently seventh on ASU's career list after only 31 career games. His career high for TD passes in a single game is five in last year's 65-24 win over Stanford.

    Lighting Up the Scoreboard
    Arizona State scored a season-high 59 points in last week's win against Oregon, which marked the most points for the team since ASU set its school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game with its 65-24 win over Stanford on Sept. 28, 2002. Prior to last week's game, the Sun Devils had averaged just 19.2 points per game in the first five contests of the season and only 12.0 ppg during their three-game losing streak. In his three seasons at the helm, Dirk Koetter's offense has turned in an average of 31.6 points per game, including an average of 25.8 points per game this year, 32.3 ppg in 2002 and 34.0 ppg in 2001. Last week's win also marked the 10th time (fourth time at ASU) that a Koetter-led team has put 50 or more points on the scoreboard.

    Spreading the Wealth
    The Sun Devils have had five different receivers lead the team in their six games this season, most recently, sophomore Derek Hagan who has paced the team in the last two games with a career-best eight catches for 170 yards Oct. 4 vs. No. 10 USC and seven catches for 108 yards last week vs. Oregon.

    Junior quarterback Andrew Walter completed four touchdown passes to three different Sun Devils vs. Northern Arizona in ASU's season-opener on Sept. 6. Sophomore Moey Mutz, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship this spring, led the Sun Devil receivers with three catches for 75 yards and two TDs vs. NAU, while senior Skyler Fulton led the team with eight catches for 172 yards and a pair of TDs vs. Utah State on Sept. 13. The Sun Devils had three players turn in career highs in receiving Sept. 20 at Iowa, led by sophomore Matt Miller who caught seven passes for 45 yards, while sophomore tailback Hakim Hill led the team with six catches for a career-best 92 yards Sept. 27 at Oregon State. Miller set a new career high last week vs. Oregon, catching four passes for a career-best 70 yards and his first career TD.

    Offensive Highs & Long Plays
    In addition to their season-high 59 points, the Sun Devils turned in a number of other season bests and season-long plays last week. Here is a list of season bests and longs that ASU accomplished in its 59-14 victory over Oregon:
    - a season-high 338 passing yards and 497 yards of total offense. - a season-best four rushing touchdowns, which marked the most for the team since scoring five TDs on the ground in last year's Oct. 5 loss to North Carolina.
    - a season-high 22 first downs, including 14 by passing.
    - it marked ASU's first game without a turnover since a 30-17 win over Arizona on Nov. 24, 2000, a stretch of 32 games.
    - a season-long 49-yard pass play from Andew Walter to Matt Miller, a season-long 56-yard rush by Loren Wade and a season-long 67-yard kickoff return by Daryl Lightfoot. Wade's run was the longest for the Sun Devils since Mike Williams had a 59-yarder vs. UCLA in 2001, while Lightfoot's kickoff return was the longest since Tom Pace had a 100-yard kickoff return in that same game in 2001. Wade also turned in a career-best 77 rushing yards vs. the Ducks.
    - a season-best 73.0 percent on third-down conversions (11-15). The Sun Devils had come into the game, converting on 24 percent of its third-down attempts (18-74).

    Shivers Causing Shivers
    Junior free safety Jason Shivers led the team with nine tackles in last week's victory over Oregon and has averaged 11.3 tackles per game over the last four games, including a game-high 13 Sept. 27 at Oregon State. Shivers also paced the team and tied his career highs with 17 tackles and 13 solo stops Sept. 20 at Iowa. That marked the most for Shivers since turning 17 tackles (13 solo) vs. Washington on Oct. 27, 2001 in Tempe. Both marks were the most tackles for a Sun Devil since Joe Cesta had 18 tackles (12 solo) vs. Oregon in 1998. In addition, Shivers, who is on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, is tied for second in the Pac-10 and 16th in the nation with three picks so far this year (0.67 per game). Shivers, who led the team in tackles in each of his first two seasons in Tempe, is averaging 8.6 tackles per game in his short career with 10 games in double figures in the category (259 tackles, 30 games). At 9.8 tackles per game this year, Shivers is ranked second in the Pac-10, while with 49 total tackles (32 solo), he is just five tackles behind fellow junior safety Riccardo Stewart for the team lead in the category despite missing the Utah State game with an injury. Shivers has led the team in tackles 16 times in his three seasons in Tempe.

    Stewart Leading The Defense
    Junior safety Riccardo Stewart led the team in tackles Oct. 4 against USC, matching his career best with 11 tackles, including seven solo stops. It marked the third time in six games this season and the seventh time in his career that Stewart has led the team in tackles. He paced the team in the category in each of the first two games this season, including 10 tackles (8 solo) Sept. 13 vs. Utah State and 11 tackles (8 solo) in ASU's season-opener vs. Northern Arizona on Sept. 6. Stewart ranks third in the Pac-10 this season with 9.0 tackles per game, trailing only UCLA's Brandon Chillar (11.5 tackles per game) and fellow teammate and junior safety Jason Shivers (9.8) in the category.

    Top of the Hill
    Sophomore tailback Hakim Hill led the team in both rushing and receiving Sept. 27 at Oregon State, becoming the first Sun Devil since Michael Martin in 1996 to pace the team in both categories. Hill, who made his first career start in the game vs. the Beavers, turned in career bests with 24 carries for 115 yards on the ground and 92 yards through the air (six catches) against Oregon State. Martin had 20 carries for 92 yards and one rushing touchdown and five catches for 74 yards and one receiving TD against Washington in a 45-42 ASU win on Sept. 7, 1996, ASU's season-opener in a year that saw the team notch an 11-0 regular season record and a 1997 Rose Bowl appearance. Hill's 115 rushing yards vs. Oregon State marked the most for a Sun Devil since senior Mike Williams turned in 162 yards on 40 carries in ASU's win at Arizona last season. ASU is now 235-43-5 (.839) all time when having a player gain 100 or more rushing yards. Hill has turned in solid efforts in each of the last three weeks as the starting tailback. He led the team with 27 carries for 74 yards vs. USC on Oct. 4, while last week, Hill had 20 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns vs. Oregon. On the season, he ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rushing at 53.3 yards per game with 85 carries for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns (3.8 yards per carry).

    Getting to the Quarterback
    Arizona State's defense has 21 quarterback sacks through its first six games this season, which ranks second in the Pac-10, three behind league-leader USC's 24. ASU's 21 sacks are five off the pace of the 26 the 2002 team, led by NCAA record-holder Terrell Suggs, amassed in the first six games last season (4.0 vs. Nebraska, 5.0 vs. Eastern Washington, 5.0 vs. Central Florida, 5.0 at San Diego State, 1.0 vs. Stanford, 6.0 vs. North Carolina). ASU sacked Utah State quarterback Travis Cox a total of seven times on Sept. 13, the most since the team had eight (led by Suggs' four) in a Oct. 26 win over Washington last year. Last season, the Sun Devils finished second in the Pac-10 with a total of 51.0 sacks. Senior Brian Montesanto and junior Jimmy Verdon lead the team with three sacks apiece this season. A total of 13 Sun Devils have gotten at least half a sack this season. On the other side of the ball, the Arizona State offensive line is tied for third in the Pac-10 in sacks allowed, giving up 10 sacks on the year. Prior to allowing five sacks vs. USC on Oct. 4, the Sun Devils had led the league after allowing only five sacks in the first four games of the season. The Sun Devils did not allow a sack in last week's 59-14 victory over Oregon.

    Fulton's Career Day
    Senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton had a career day in ASU's Sept. 13 win over Utah State, catching eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns (all career highs). Of his career-high eight catches vs. the Aggies, seven were for 15 or more yards and five resulted in a first down. Fulton leads the team and ranks 10th in the Pac-10 with 70.7 receiving yards per game (28 catches for 424 yards and a team-best five TDs), while he is 10th in the league with 4.7 receptions per game. He is also tied for seventh in the Pac-10 in touchdown scoring at 5.0 points per game. Fulton is averaging 15.1 yards per catch, while 16 of his 28 catches this season have resulted in a first down or touchdown, including four of his five receptions last week vs. Oregon (three first downs and one TD).

    Fulton Named to AFCA Good Works Team
    Senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton has been named to the 2003 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team for his dedication and commitment to community service. The AFCA selected 11 players for the Division I-A Good Works Team. Nominees have to be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or involved in other community service activities and display sincere concern and reliability, while also making a favorable impression on the organizations with which they are involved. Athletic ability is not a criterion. Fulton, who leads the Sun Devils in receiving this year, has worked and taught in three schools whose population is primarily minority and underprivileged. He has also helped to raise his teammate's and close friend's toddler son, watching the child so his teammate can attend class, workout and meet with tutors. Additionally, during the fall semesters, he spends a great deal of time with the incoming freshman football student-athletes to help them transition into the culture of intercollegiate athletics. Fulton is the first Sun Devil on the Good Works Team since fellow wide receiver Mike Aguirre in 2000.

    Putting the Special in Special Teams
    Senior punter Tim Parker ranks fourth in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation this season, averaging 43.8 yards per punt with 10 of his 38 punts downed inside the 20 and nine touchbacks...he tied his career high with 10 punts Sept. 20 at Iowa, gaining 437 yards with three touchbacks and one punt downed inside the 10...Parker handled both the punting and placekicking duties vs. NAU and Utah State, becoming the first Sun Devil to handle both duties since Stephen Baker was the placekicker and backup punter in 1998 and 1999...true freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth replaced Parker as the placekicker on ASU's last extra-point attempt in the Utah State game...Ainsworth connected on his first career field goal Sept. 27 at Oregon State with a 34-yarder in the third quarter and completed a career-long 43-yard field goal in ASU's Oct. 11 win over Oregon...Ainsworth is 3-of-5 on field goal attempts and is 13-of-13 on extra-point attempts this year...sophomore Josh Golden had four punt returns for 78 yards in ASU's season-opener vs. NAU which was the most for a Sun Devil since Justin Taplin had four punt returns for 84 yards vs. Oregon State in 2001...Golden's 42-yarder in the second quarter of that game was also the longest since Taplin had a 62-yard punt return in that 2001 game...junior Daryl Lightfoot turned in a 67-yard kickoff return in ASU's Oct. 11 win over Oregon, which marked the longest kickoff return since Tom Pace returned a kickoff 100 yards for touchdown Dec. 1, 2001 at a team, Arizona State ranks third in the Pac-10 and 35th in the nation in kickoff returns at 24.7 yards per return, fourth in the league in punt returns (9.0 yards per return) and fifth in the Pac-10 and 27th in the country in net punting (37.7 yards per punt).

    Notes on the Defense
    Two Sun Devils rank in the Pac-10's top five in tackles led by junior free safety Jason Shivers who is second at 9.8 tackles per game and junior safety Riccardo Stewart is third in the league at 9.0 tackles per game...sophomore safety Matt Fawley turned in a career-high 11 tackles Sept. 20 at Iowa...junior defensive end Ishmael Thrower, who has started the last four games, had a career outing Sept. 20 at Oregon State with five tackles, three TFLs for a loss of 25 yards and two sacks for 15 yards (all career bests)...ASU's interception returns for touchdown by juniors R.J. Oliver and Riccardo Stewart in the first two games marked the first TDs by the ASU defense in back-to-back games since the 1995 season when Scott Von der Ahe had a 31-yard interception return for TD vs. BYU and Mike Langridge had a 32-yard fumble return for TD the following week vs. Oregon.

    In the Rankings
    The Sun Devils dropped out of the polls on Oct. 5 following their third straight loss, receiving no votes in either poll. The team's No. 16 ranking in Sept. 7 and 14 polls matched the highest rank of last season when the Sun Devils climbed to 16th in the Oct. 27 AP poll before falling out two weeks later. It was also the highest national ranking for the Sun Devils since the 1997 Sun Bowl Championship squad finished at 14th in each of the final national polls. ASU was ranked 22nd in this year's preseason AP poll and 23rd in the preseason coaches poll, marking the first time that the team has been ranked in the preseason since 1999 (25th-AP).

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