Fulton And Karney Wrap Up ASU Careers

Nov. 15, 2003

The Arizona State Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to express its deepest condolences to the DeMassa family for the loss of Tom DeMassa, who passed away Friday night. Tom, an avid Sun Devil, was a former faculty member of the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

DeMassa's wife, Joann, worked as football secretary for 25 years, serving under several head coaches, including Frank Kush, Darryl Rogers, John Cooper, Larry Marmie and Bruce Snyder. His son, Tommy, was a football manager during his days at ASU, and is now the head football coach at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Tom DeMassa will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

By Brian Gomez

PULLMAN, Wash. - Coming to play at home for the last time Saturday afternoon, Arizona State seniors Skyler Fulton and Mike Karney made their presence felt, but didn't leave with the type of results they wanted.

The Washington natives, both of whom spent the past four years with the Sun Devils, donned the maroon and gold away from home for the final time on a rainy afternoon at Martin Stadium in which ASU played better, but couldn't overcome No. 8-ranked Washington State.

'We did some good things, but we obviously didn't do enough because we didn't win,' said Fulton, who caught five passes for 100 yards, marking his first 100-yard receiving game since Sept. 13 against Utah State. 'We come to win every week, but there's going to be a loser every time. I'm not saying it's OK, but sometimes you're going to play hard, you're going to make mistakes and you're going to come out on the short end of the stick.'

Fulton and Karney each had a hand in ASU's first scoring drive, which spanned 79 yards in less than three minutes. Fulton got his team headed in the right direction with a 24-yard reception on an out route that moved the ball near midfield. Eight plays later, Karney helped clear a gaping hole along the goal line, allowing sophomore tailback Cornell Canidate to score on a 1-yard touchdown run.

On ASU's opening possession of the second half, Fulton and Karney both contributed during a drive that resulted in a touchdown. Facing a fourth down in Washington State territory, Karney helped spring Canidate for a 4-yard gain, before Fulton corralled a 12-yard pass over the middle. Sophomore wide receiver Derek Hagan capped the scoring drive with a 25-yard touchdown reception from sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter.

The Washington connection struck again when the Sun Devils got the ball back after a defensive stop. Karney's block on fourth-and-inches at the Washington State 32-yard line enabled Canidate to pick up enough yards for a first down. On the next play, Fulton caught a 32-yard pass from Walter to move his team in the red zone. Freshman place-kicker Jesse Ainsworth's 34-yard field goal pulled ASU within eight points with 9:38 left.

Mike Karney

'We kept fighting, and we kept trying to find ways to get back in the game,' Karney said. 'There were a couple big plays that kind of set the game back a little bit, and you can't do that against a top-10 opponent.'

After establishing himself as a mainstay in the Sun Devil receiving corps last season, Fulton, originally from Olympia, Wash., made even more progress this fall, nearly doubling his numbers from a year ago. Through 11 games this season, Fulton has 57 catches for 795 yards, second behind Hagan in both receiving categories.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in Fulton's collegiate career came Oct. 18 when ASU trailed by four points in the waning moments of a non-conference game at North Carolina. Fulton hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Walter on a fade route to the corner of the end zone to lift his team to a 33-31 win.

'I'm really not even worried about my career,' said Fulton, whose nine touchdown receptions this year are tied for seventh on ASU's all-time, single-season list. 'At this point, we want to have two good weeks of practice and have everybody play with emotion and as hard as they can against UA, and just let the chips fall as they may.'

In four years at ASU, Karney, a native of Kent, Wash., solidified himself as one of the best fullbacks in school history. He's scheduled to play in January's East-West Shrine game, becoming the first Sun Devil fullback to earn the honor since Terelle Smith appeared in the 2000 event.

This season, Karney has posted some of the better numbers in his career, catching 14 passes for 106 yards. Many of his more notable contributions have come as a pass-blocker and as a human bulldozer in short-yardage situations.

'It's been an up and down year,' said Karney, rated the No. 1 fullback prospect for the 2004 NFL draft, according to football.com. 'We're fighting hard, and the ball just doesn't roll our way.'

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@asu.edu.

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