Football Looks To Get Back To Winning Ways In Bay Area Against Stanford
Nov. 3, 2003
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Coming off a 51-23 loss to California last weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils returnto the road for the third time in four weeks, traveling to Palo Alto, Calif., to take on the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday afternoon. The game vs. the Cardinal at Stanford Stadium will kick off at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (3 p.m. Mountain). The Sun Devils head into Saturday's game looking to snap a two-game losing streak and get their first win in Palo Alto since 1997, a streak of two losses at Stanford Stadium. ASU is also still looking for its first Pac-10 road win this season after dropping games at Oregon State and UCLA this year. The team has played four of its last seven games on the road and will travel to No. 12/13 Washington State next week before ending the regular season at home against Arizona on Nov. 28. Stanford brings a 3-4 overall record and 1-4 Pac-10 mark into Saturday's game. The Cardinal downed UCLA 21-14 last week in Palo Alto, which snapped the team's four-game losing streak.
In the Series
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Stanford 12-7 including a 5-4 advantage in games played in Palo Alto. Last year, the Sun Devils set their school record for scoring in a Pac-10 game with a 65-24 victory on Sept. 28, 2002 at Sun Devil Stadium. In that game, quarterback Andrew Walter, who was making his first start of the year, threw for 414 yards and a career-best five touchdowns. Last year's contest also marked the first game at Sun Devil Stadium since 1999 and snapped ASU's three-game losing streak in the series. This week, the Sun Devils will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak in games played at Stanford Stadium and win their first game in Palo Alto since earning a 31-14 victory on Oct. 18, 1997.
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 www.TheSunDevils.com. There will be no television in the Valley for the Stanford game, while KRON-TV will televise the game in the Bay Area.
What Time is It Anyway?
The state of Arizona never changes its clocks remaining on Mountain Standard Time all year. From April to the end of October, Arizona State is on Pacific Daylight Time, while when the rest of the country changed its clocks on October 26, Arizona State remained the same, matching up again with Mountain Standard Time. Therefore, this weekend's game at Stanford will kick off at 2 p.m. Pacific and 3 p.m. Mountain.
Last Time Out
California downed Arizona State 51-23 last week in front of a Homecoming crowd at Sun Devil Stadium. Redshirt freshman tailback Loren Wade turned in another solid rushing game for the Sun Devils, gaining 107 yards on 22 carries and scoring one touchdown in his third straight 100-yard effort.
The first half was an offensive shootout with the teams combining to score on seven straight drives after their first possessions. Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with receiver Burt Toler for 37 yards and then receiver Geoff McArthur for 43 yards and the touchdown, giving Cal an early 7-0 lead. ASU answered as junior quarterback Andrew Walter connected with senior receiver Skyler Fulton on receptions for 17 yards and 32 yards, the latter good for a touchdown and a 7-7 tie.
Cal tailback Adimchinobe Echemandu rushed for 62 yards during a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a three-yard TD run. On the following drive, Walter connected with sophomore tailback Hakim Hill on a 32-yard reception, setting up a 31-yard field goal from true freshman Jesse Ainsworth that set the score at 14-10 in favor of California at the end of the first.
Cal started the second quarter with a 47-yard pass from Rodgers to McArthur which set up a 5-yard pass to Toler for Cal's third touchdown, giving the Bears a 21-10 advantage. Walter and the Sun Devils responded, finding sophomore Derek Hagan for a 17-yard reception and Fulton for 21 yards. Wade took the ball the rest of the way, scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run to make it 21-17.
The Golden Bears began to pull away as the two teams headed toward the halftime break. Cal tailback J.J. Arrington led the Bears down the field, scoring on a 24-yard run to set the score at 28-17. The Bears followed it up by pouncing on a fumble by Walter on the next drive and kicking a 29-yard field goal to go up 31-17. After a quick Sun Devil three-and-out, Cal quarterback Rodgers found McArthur for 52 yards, setting up an eight-yard pass to Vincent Strang for Cal's fifth touchdown of the first half and a 38-17 halftime lead. Capitalizing on another ASU fumble, the Bears booted a 33-yard field goal before the half to take a 41-17 lead into the break.
The Golden Bears opened the second half with Echemandu scoring on a two-yard run by the tailback to cap a 43-yard drive following an ASU interception. With Cal ahead 48-17, the Golden Bears defense shut down the ASU offense for the remainder of the third quarter.
However, after Rodgers found Arrington on a 32-yard completion, the Golden Bears made a 47-yard field goal to go up 51-17. With Sam Keller spelling Walter under center, the Sun Devils drove 69 yards down field, scoring on an 11-yard pass to redshirt freshman Jamaal Lewis. After missing the PAT, the Sun Devils made the score 51-23 in favor of the Bears and capped off the scoring in the game.
Playing on the ankle he sprained Oct. 25 at UCLA, Walter threw for 170 yards on 11-for-26 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. Fulton caught five passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, while Hagan gained 61 yards on five receptions. Junior Jason Shivers led the Sun Devil defense with 11 tackles ( 10 solo), and junior defensive end Connor Banks contributed the Sun Devils' lone sack in the game.
Wade on the Run
Redshirt freshman Loren Wade had 22 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown last week vs. California, marking the third consecutive week that the Los Angeles native has gained at least 100 yards. Wade became the first Sun Devil to accomplish the feat since Delvon Flowers gained at least 100 yards in three straight games in 2001 (Oregon, Washington State and Arizona). He is the fifth Sun Devil to accomplish the feat since the beginning of the 1992 season (Flowers in 2001, Michael Martin in 1997, Terry Battle in 1996, Mario Bates in 1993 and 1992). Wade led the Sun Devil effort with 16 carries for 130 yards (both career highs) at North Carolina on Oct. 18 and again paced the team with 19 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown Oct. 25 at UCLA. In the last four weeks, Wade has averaged 106.8 yards per game, while he has scored one rushing touchdown in four of the last five games.
Wade scored ASU's only touchdown Oct.18 against the Bruins, breaking free for a 61-yard run into the end zone in the second quarter. His run was the longest for the Sun Devils since Flowers had a 74-yard touchdown run vs. Oregon State on Oct. 20, 2001. Wade now leads the Sun Devils and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in rushing with 66.4 yards per game. Wade's average of 5.6 yards per carry is only second to Arizona's Michael Bell (5.7 ypc) among the Pac-10 rushing leaders.
The Sun Devils have averaged 142.0 rushing yards per game in the last four weeks, including a season-high 190 yards Oct. 18 at North Carolina, up from their season average of 116.4 yards per contest. Wade's 130-yard showing (8.1 yards per carry) vs. North Carolina 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, while ASU's season-best four rushing touchdowns against the Ducks on Oct. 11 were marked the most since the team scored five TDs on the ground in last year's Oct. 5 loss to North Carolina. ASU has had a player top the 100-yard mark four times this year including three games by Wade and one by sophomore Hakim Hill who tallied 115 yards on the ground at Oregon State on Sept. 27. ASU is 236-45-5 (.834) all time when having a player gain 100 or more rushing yards.
The duo of Wade (66.4 yards per game) and Hill (49.2 ypg) gives the Sun Devils a strong one-two punch in the backfield. Wade has scored four touchdowns and Hill has three this season, while Wade leads the way with an average of 5.6 yards per carry to 4.0 yards per rush for Hill.
Senior safety Brett Hudson and junior defensive end Jimmy Verdon (first career pick) each had an interception Oct. 25 at UCLA, giving ASU a total of 13 interceptions this year. Arizona State has had eight different players grab its 13 interceptions on the year with at least one interception in all but two games this year (North Carolina and California). Junior safeties Riccardo Stewart and Jason Shivers lead the team with three interceptions each this season, while Hudson has a pair. 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 fourth in the Pac-10 with 13 interceptions, trailing only Washington State (18), UCLA (15) and Oregon State (15). Shivers, who has played in eight of nine games this year, is ranked eighth in the Pac-10 and 49th in the nation with 0.38 interceptions per game.
Arizona State has also returned three interceptions for touchdown this year, 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. 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 Oct. 11, while Stewart (vs. Utah State) and junior cornerback R.J. Oliver (vs. Northern Arizona) have each returned interceptions for touchdown this year as well.
Shivers grabbed two of ASU's season-high-tying three interceptions Sept. 27 at Oregon State (ASU also had three picks Sept. 13 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.
Following a 4-for-6 showing last week vs. California, the Sun Devils have scored on 20 of their last 23 trips into the red zone (87.0 percent). ASU was 2-for-2 (two field goals) at UCLA on Oct. 25, 5-for-6 (three TDs, two FGs) Oct. 18 at North Carolina and a perfect 9-for-9 in their previous two games (USC and Oregon). ASU had scored just 50 percent of the time in their first four games (6-12). The Sun Devils scored two TDs and one field goal in three trips into the red zone vs. the Trojans on Oct. 4, while the team had six touchdowns in six trips past Oregon's 20-yard line on Oct. 11.
ASU's Oct. 18 victory at North Carolina marked the second consecutive week that the Sun Devils had turned in season highs in both passing yards and total offense. Prior to a Oct. 25 loss at UCLA where the team gained just 253 total yards, ASU had averaged 373.0 passing yards and 547.5 total offense yards in wins over Oregon and UNC, up from season averages of 265.7 and 382.1 yards, respectively. Ironically, the team's 598 yards of total offense against the Tar Heels on Oct. 18 marked the most since the Sun Devils had 657 yards in their 38-35 loss to the Tar Heels at Sun Devil Stadium last season.
Hagan Turns in Third 100-Yard Day
Sophomore wide receiver Derek Hagan turned in three consecutive 100-yard receiving games vs. USC, Oregon and North Carolina, becoming the first Sun Devil receiver to turn in three in a row since current St. Louis Ram Shaun McDonald had three straight 100-yard efforts last season (175 yards at San Diego State, 221 vs. Stanford, 156 vs. North Carolina). McDonald was also the last Sun Devil to accomplish the feat in four straight games, tallying 100-plus yards in games against Oregon State, Washington, Oregon and Washington in 2001. In the last five games, Hagan, who now leads the team in receiving, has had 35 catches for 561 yards (112.2 yards per game) and two touchdowns.
Hagan turned in a career outing to lead the Sun Devils past North Carolina on Oct. 18, hauling in 11 passes for 185 yards (both career bests) and a touchdown. In addition to being a career high, his 11 catches tied with three other Sun Devils for the fourth-best single-game mark in school history. Ron Fair holds the school record for receptions in a game with 19 catches in a 1989 win over Washington State. Hagan caught seven balls for 108 yards and one touchdown vs. Oregon on Oct. 11, while Oct. 4 against USC, he caught eight passes for 170 yards. He also played a key role in setting up both of ASU's touchdown drives vs. the Trojans, 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.
Hagan leads the team in receiving this season with 47 catches for 674 yards and four touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in receptions per game (5.22) and ninth in the league in receiving yards per game (74.9). He has already surpassed 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.
Senior receiver Skyler Fulton's game-winning five-yard catch from junior Andrew Walter Oct. 18 at North Carolina marked the first time that the Sun Devils have won a game on the last play since Arizona State took home a 23-20 victory at Washington State when kicker Mike Barth nailed a 49-yard field goal in overtime on Oct. 21, 2000. Coincidentally, that was the second time that season that Barth and the Sun Devils earned a win on a game-winning play as time expired. On Sept. 16 of that same year, Barth drilled a 49-yarder to beat then No. 25 Colorado State on the last play of the game at Sun Devil Stadium.
Scoring Through the Air
Junior quarterback Andrew Walter threw three touchdown passes against both Oregon and North Carolina, including the game-winning five-yard toss to senior Skyler Fulton as time ran out Oct. 18 at North Carolina. He threw three scoring strikes to three different receivers in ASU's 59-14 win over Oregon on Oct. 11. Walter has now turned in 14 multiple touchdown games in his career, including five this season. He completed a season-high 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's career high for TD passes in a single game is five in last year's 65-24 win over Stanford.
With his TD pass last week vs. California, Walter moved into sole possession of fourth place on ASU's career list with 47. He is one TD pass shy of third place on the list, currently held by Mike Pagel with 48. Current Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer (1993-96) holds the school record with 65 touchdowns in his illustrious career. Walter is 26th on the Pac-10's career touchdown passes list and needs just one more to move into the league's top 25 in the category.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard
Arizona State has averaged 32.0 points per game over the last four weeks, including 33 in an Oct. 18 win at North Carolina and a season-high 59 points in the team's Oct. 11 win against Oregon. The 59 points vs. the Ducks 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. The Sun Devils 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 earlier this season (at Iowa, at Oregon State and vs. USC). In his three seasons at the helm, Dirk Koetter's offense has turned in an average of 31.2 points per game, including an average of 24.9 points per game this year, 32.3 ppg in 2002 and 34.0 ppg in 2001. ASU's 59-14 victory over Oregon on Oct. 11 also marked the 10th time (fourth time at ASU) that a Koetter-led team has put 50 or more points on the scoreboard.
Shivers Causing Shivers
Junior free safety Jason Shivers has moved into the team lead with 80 tackles this year, edging fellow junior safety Riccardo Stewart who has 73 stops on the year. Shivers has led the team in tackles five times this year, including each of the last two weeks with 11 tackles (10 solo) last week vs. California and 12 (eight solo) Oct. 25 at UCLA. At 10.0 tackles per game this year, Shivers is ranked second in the Pac-10 behind UCLA's Brandon Chillar (10.9), while he has averaged 11.3 tackles per game over the last seven games (79 tackles).
Shivers had a game-high nine tackles Oct. 11 vs. Oregon and 13 Sept. 27 at Oregon State. He also tied his career highs with 17 tackles and 13 solo stops Sept. 20 at Iowa. That marked the most for Shivers since he turned in 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 eighth in the Pac-10 with three interceptions this year (0.38 per game).
Shivers, who led the team in tackles in each of his first two seasons in Tempe, is averaging 8.8 tackles per game in his short career with 12 games in double figures in the category (290 tackles, 33 games). Shivers has led the team in tackles 18 times in his three seasons in Tempe.
And Not to Forget Stewart...
Junior safety Riccardo Stewart led the team with 10 tackles Oct. 18 at North Carolina, marking the fourth time in nine games this season and the eighth time in his career that he has paced the team in the category. Stewart matched his career best with 11 tackles, including seven solo stops, to lead the team Oct. 4 against USC and 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 fifth in the Pac-10 this season with 8.1 tackles per game and trails fellow junior safety Jason Shivers by just seven tackles for the team lead in the category.
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. He also caught the game-winner Oct. 18 at North Carolina, hauling in a five-yard touchdown catch as time expired to give ASU the 33-31 victory. He had seven catches for 68 yards and two TDs vs. the Tar Heels and has led the team in receiving in each of the last two weeks (five catches for 44 yards vs. UCLA and five catches for 85 yards and one TD last week vs. Cal). Fulton is second on the team with 69.0 receiving yards per game (45 catches for 621 yards and a team-best eight TDs), while he is ninth in the league with 5.0 receptions per game. He is also tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in touchdown scoring at 5.3 points per game. Fulton is averaging 13.8 yards per catch, while 26 of his 45 catches this season have resulted in a first down or touchdown, including four of his five receptions Oct. 11 vs. Oregon (three first downs and one TD), four of seven Oct. 18 at North Carolina (two first downs and two TDs) and four of five last week vs. California (three first downs and a TD).
Putting the Special in Special Teams
Senior punter Tim Parker ranks fifth in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the nation this season, averaging 43.5 yards per punt with 16 of his 58 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and 11 touchbacks...he set his career high Oct. 25 at UCLA, booting 11 punts for 437 yards with six downed inside the 20...his 11 punts vs. the Bruins tied for the third-highest single-game total in school history with six other Sun Devils...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...this year, Ainsworth is 8-of-12 on field goal attempts (.667, fifth in the Pac-10) and is 17-of-19 on extra-point attempts (.895, ninth in the league)...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 UCLA...Lightfoot also had a key 28-yard punt return in the fourth quarter OCt. 18 at North Carolina to bring ASU to its own 39-yard line to start its game-winning drive...Lightfoot has taken over most of the punt and kickoff return duties in the last six games since returning from injury...he ranks second in the Pac-10 and 32nd in the nation at 25.1 yards per kickoff return and is fourth in the league and 50th in the nation at 9.7 yards per punt return...as a team, Arizona State leads the Pac-10 and is tied for 12th in the nation in kickoff returns at 24.5 yards per return, third in the league and 15th in the country in net punting (39.1 yards per punt) and sixth in the league in punt returns (9.3 yards per return).
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