Sun Devils Travel to Corvallis Looking for Third Consecutive Win
Oct. 30, 2006
Game Week Notes: at Oregon State (pdf)
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Date: Saturday, November 4, 2006
Kickoff: 1:05 pm PT (2:05 pm Arizona)
Site: Reser Stadium (43,300) - Corvallis, Ore.
Sun Devil Radio: KTAR 620 AM & KMVP/ESPN Radio 860
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
This week's game at Oregon State culminates a seven-game stretch in which the Sun Devils have played five times on the road.
The Sun Devils have defeated Oregon State nine of the last 10 times the two teams have met.
Junior All-America TE Zach Miller (1,271 career receiving yards) needs 82 yards to pass former Sun Devil tight end Joe Petty (1970-72) for third on ASU's all-time list for most receiving yards by a tight end.
ASU's defense is allowing an average of only 8.5 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only 13 points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 132.3 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
The Sun Devil defense has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season.
Currently with 24 sacks, the Sun Devil defense has already surpassed its sack total from last season (22).
ASU's defense has given up an average of only 120.7 passing yards in its last three games while allowing opposing QBs to complete only 40 percent (33-82) of their passes during that span. In addition, ASU has allowed only three touchdowns in its last 10 quarters of play + one overtime period.
Currently 9-4 as a starter, sophomore QB Rudy Carpenter has not thrown an interception in his last 72 attempts. Carpenter is already the school record holder for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception (149 attempts).
Junior TB Ryan Torain currently ranks No. 3 in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 89.0 yards per game. Torain has scored eight touchdowns for the Sun Devils in 2006 (five rushing and three receiving).
Senior PK Jesse Ainsworth (270 career points) needs eight points to pass former Sun Devil Mike Barth (1999-02) for second on ASU's all-time list for most points.
After playing running back, wide receiver, punt returner and kick returner in his first two seasons, junior Rudy Burgess has started at cornerback in ASU's last two games.
LAST GAME (ASU 26, Washington 23 -OT-)
Playing at Husky Stadium for the first time since 1999, the Sun Devils made the trip a memorable one as they outlasted Washington 26-23 in overtime.
The Sun Devils used a steady ground attack to pick up their second straight victory and second Pac-10 win. TBs Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring each rushed for 98 yards, including two Herring touchdown scampers. QB Rudy Carpenter was again efficient, finishing the contest 16-22 for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
After a scoreless opening frame, Arizona State broke through first when Carpenter found TE Jamaal Lewis from 12 yards to put ASU up 7-0 with 8:53 to go in the second quarter. After the Huskies got on the board with a field goal, Keegan Herring made it 14-3 with his 19-yard run just before intermission.
The third quarter didn't see much offense until it was nearly over, as Washington would kick a field goal to make it 14-6 with 1:34 left. The Devils would not wait long to respond however, as Herring went 65 yards for the score. The PAT would fail after a bad snap, making it 20-6.
The Huskies would draw closer on a trick play, as WR Sonny Shackelford connected with WR Anthony Russo on a 41-yard score to make it 20-13. After UW starting QB Carl Bonnell was knocked out of the game with an injury, backup Johnny DuRocher would tie the game with his four-yard scoring strike to Shackelford. That sent the game to overtime. ASU won the toss and elected to play defense, giving Washington possession first. The Huskies were unable to move the ball, settling for a 47-yard field goal to take their first lead of the game at 23-20. That set the stage for the Devils offense. After an incompletion on first down, Carpenter found TE Brent Miller streaking down the sidelines for the 25-yard game winning touchdown.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter Said ...
'Our defense played so well in the first half and the offense played well enough to get us that lead, and I told the guys at halftime that Washington was going to make a run and we had to weather it. Even though we only really gave up one big play during the whole game, and then Washington came back to tie it and the crowd really got into the game. When the crowd gets into it here this place is as loud as it comes so after it got back into even to go into overtime and get that win is huge for us. To win on the road, in a Pac-10 game with the injuries we've had on the offensive line and just when no one thinks we can do anything it is just awesome for our guys. They believe in each other and that's a great deal.'
ASU-WASHINGTON POST-GAME NOTES
Josh Barrett's first quarter interception was his first of the season and the third of his career. His second quarter interception gave him the first multi-interception game of his career.
Prior to Barrett, the last Sun Devil to intercept two passes in one game was Josh Golden, who picked off two passes against Stanford on November 6, 2004.
ASU held its opponent scoreless in the first quarter for the second straight week and third time this season.
Kyle Williams made his college football debut in the second quarter. He finished the game with one reception (two yards), one punt return (six yards) and one kickoff return (eight yards).
Jamaal Lewis' 12-yard TD catch was his first of the year and the 10th of his career.
The 65-yard touchdown run by Keegan Herring in the third quarter was the second longest of his career (67).
Keegan Herring now has four rushing touchdowns in his last two games.
ASU had not allowed a touchdown in seven straight quarters until UW's fourth quarter TD pass.
ASU is now 4-2 all-time in overtime, including 2-0 on the road. It was the Sun Devils first OT game since 2000. It was also Dirk Koetter's first OT game at Arizona State.
This was Arizona State's third straight win over Washington and second straight at Husky Stadium.
Nine different Sun Devils caught a pass.
The Sun Devils held the Huskies to 148 passing yards, Washington's lowest output of the season.
Brent Miller's OT touchdown catch was only his third reception of the season.
ASU-OREGON STATE SERIES NOTES
Arizona State holds a 23-8-1 all-time advantage in the series with Oregon State and has won nine of the last 10 meetings, most recently a 42-24 win last season in Corvallis.
Oregon State's only win in the last 10 meetings between the two teams came in 2003 when the Beavers defeated ASU 45-17 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.
ASU is 6-5-1 all-time in games played in Corvallis and is 4-2 in its last six trips to the OSU campus.
The Sun Devils have dominated the series in games played in Tempe, going 17-3, including 15 consecutive wins.
DEVILS DEFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT
Despite no shortage of effort and having the Pac-10 co-Defensive Player of the Year (Dale Robinson), the ASU defense endured a tough season in 2005, finishing the season ranked 114th in total defense and 86th in scoring defense.
Through eight games in 2006, the unit has shown improvement under second-year defensive coordinator Bill Miller, who twice in his coaching career has been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, which is given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
Below are some of the highlights from ASU's defense through the season's first eight games.
Allowing 125.7 fewer yards per game in total offense compared to last season.
Recorded 24 sacks, one more than ASU had the entire 2005 season. ASU is currently 19th in the nation with 3.0 sacks per game.
ASU's 24 sacks have come from 15 different players.
Returned three interceptions for touchdowns (junior CB Chris Baloney vs. NAU, freshman S Ryan McFoy vs. Nevada, senior CB Keno Walter-White at USC).
Held Washington (Oct. 28) to only 148 yards passing, its lowest output of the season and 59.5 yards below its season average coming into the game.
Allowed Stanford (Oct. 21) to gain only 145 yards in total offense, marking the second-best defensive showing under Dirk Koetter. The best showing came against Iowa in Tempe on September 20, 2004, when the Sun Devils limited the Hawkeyes to 100 total yards.
Stanford's three points for the game represented the second time this season that a team scored no more than three points in a game (Colorado also scored three points on Sept. 16). It marked the first time that ASU held multiple opponents to three or fewer points in the same season since 1993 when three ASU opponents scored three or fewer points.
Held USC (Oct. 14) to its lowest totals of the season in both net yards passing (148 yards) and total offense (307 yards). USC came into the game averaging 249.6 yards per game in the former and 413.4 yards per game in the latter. The 307 yards in total offense were the fewest for the Trojans since Oct. 9, 2004 when they had only 205 yards in total offense in a 23-17 win vs. Cal. USC's 148 passing yards were its fewest since it threw for 87 yards in the 2000 season opener vs. Penn State (Aug. 27, 2000).
Allowed Colorado (Sept. 16) to gain only 219 yards in total offense, the (then) fifth-best defensive effort by ASU under Koetter. The Colorado offense failed to score a touchdown marking the first time the ASU defense did not allow a touchdown since a 44-7 win at home against Iowa on Sept. 18, 2004. Iowa's only touchdown in that game came on a punt return.
Allowed just 53 net rushing yards to NAU, ASU's best effort since holding Stanford to 37 yards on Nov. 6, 2004. It also marked the seventh-best defensive rushing effort under Koetter.
Is allowing an average of only 8.5 points in the second half of games this season, including a total of only 13 points in the third quarter. In addition, the Sun Devils have allowed their opponents an average of 132.3 yards in total offense in the second half of games this year.
Has allowed only four rushing touchdowns in 2006.
IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN'T DO?
Even before this season began ASU junior Rudy Burgess was lauded by football people for his remarkable versatility. In his first two seasons Burgess proved to be one of ASU's most potent threats whenever he had the ball in his hands be it as a running back, a receiver, a punt returner or a kick returner. Last season Burgess was ASU's second leading rusher and receiver and let the team with 10 touchdowns.
Burgess added another accomplishment to his already impressive resume when he started at cornerback vs. Stanford (Oct. 21). Although he took reps at cornerback last spring, Burgess remained on the offensive side of the ball this season until an injury in the secondary necessitated the move.
'I think I did pretty well for my first game at cornerback,' Burgess said following his first defensive start. 'We used a nice rotation to keep me healthy and fresh on the field; it was fun. At the beginning they were going up top and throwing some short routes to test the waters a little bit, I think I covered them pretty well. I think throughout the game they figured out that all of our corners are decent and they had to try to find something else that would work for them.'
'[Playing defense] is not that much different other than you are running backwards and having guys running at you instead of the other way around. Being a receiver did help me out knowing what routes the receivers were going to run.'
CARPENTER GETS THE CALL
Sophomore Rudy Carpenter is in the midst of his first full season as ASU's starting quarterback after being forced into duty midway through last season.
Despite not starting until the eighth game of the 2005 season, Carpenter finished the year ranked first in the nation with a school record 175.01 passer efficiency rating while also ranking third nationally in completion percentage (68.4). He also threw for a team-high and school freshman record 2,273 yards to go along with 17 touchdown passes. In addition, he achieved a nation-leading and team record-low interception percentage (.008), after throwing two interceptions out of 228 total passing attempts. He capped-off his phenomenal rookie campaign by earning Offensive Player of the Game honors for his role in ASU's victory against Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl. In that game, Carpenter accounted for ASU individual bowl game records of 467 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
Currently 9-4 as a starter, Carpenter passed for 333 yards and a career-best five touchdown passes (to five different receivers) in ASU's 52-21 win over Nevada (Sept. 9). In his most recent outing, Carpenter completed 16-of-22 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 25-yard scoring strike to TE Brent Miller in overtime.
Two weeks ago vs. Stanford (Oct. 21), Carpenter nearly tied the school single-game record for consecutive completions (13). He completed his first 12 passes, but missed on his 13th. He would go on to finish the game 14-15 for 160 yards and one touchdown. Carpenter's .933 percent completion percentage vs. Stanford set the school single-game record for highest completion percentage (10-15 attempts). The school record holder for most consecutive attempts without an interception, (149 which was snapped in the season opener vs. NAU) Carpenter has not thrown an interception in his last 72 attempts.
MILLER AMONG NATION'S ELITE TIGHT ENDS
More than halfway through the 2006 season, junior All-America TE Zach Miller has continued to prove why he is regarded as one of the top players in the country at his position. Miller currently leads the Sun Devils in receptions (27) and receiving yards (243) and is tied for first on the team in touchdown receptions (3).
After two and a half seasons Miller, who was named to the 2006 John Mackey Award Watch List, is at or near the top of the career standards for ASU tight ends in touchdown receptions (13, first), receptions (121, first) and receiving yards (1,271, fourth).
Miller's 98 catches in 2004-05 were more than any other tight end in the nation the last two seasons while his receiving yardage and touchdown totals were also the second-most in the nation at his position during that same duration.
According to his head coach, it is not only his ability as a receiver that makes him such a special player.
'In my opinion, Zach Miller is one of the best blocking tight ends in the nation,' Koetter said. 'He gets a ton of credit for his acrobatic catches, but when you watch cut-ups you see what a tremendous blocker he is.'
After his freshman season, Miller earned second-team All-America honors, just one of four freshmen to earn first team or second-team All-American accolades that season. Miller also earned first-team Freshman All-American accolades for his successful 2004 season. In 2004, he was named the Pacific-10 Conference Freshman of the Year, becoming just the second Sun Devil to earn the honor (Terrell Suggs, 2000).
As a freshman, Miller broke the ASU record for receptions in a season by a tight end with 56. His 56 receptions in 2004 tied for the most receptions in the NCAA by a tight end. Along with his 56 receptions, he tallied 552 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In 2005, Miller missed some time with an injury and still managed the team's third-highest amount of receptions with 38, four of which were touchdowns. He also recorded 476 receiving yards for an average of 12.5 yards per reception.
Already the school record holder for most touchdown receptions by a tight end (13) and most receptions (121) by an tight end, Miller needs 415 yards to become the school's career leader for receiving yards by a tight end.
COVERING A LOT OF TORAIN
Junior college transfer TB Ryan Torain has proven to be one of the best additions to the Sun Devils offense in 2006. After demonstrating his ability to be a steady contributor in the season's first three games, Torain had a breakout performance at California (Sept. 23), when he rushed for a career-best 191 yards (Sept 23). Many of Torain's yards against the Golden Bears were earned after initial contact with Cal's defenders as he broke numerous tackles throughout the game. One week later against the Oregon Ducks (Sept. 30), Torain led the Sun Devils with 113 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Through eight games, Torain leads the Sun Devils in rushing with 712 yards and is ranked third in the Pac-10 averaging 89.0 yards per game. He has eight carries of 15 yards or more, including a season-best 40-yard run vs. Nevada (Sept. 9).
In addition to his ability to run with the football, Torain has also displayed a talent for receiving, too. He is currently second on the team with 15 receptions for 182 yards and three scores. Torain currently leads the team in touchdowns with eight.
When a team ranks third in the country in passing offense (as ASU did last year) it would not be hard to understand why its running game, no matter how solid, might be overlooked. Last season the Sun Devils averaged 145.7 yards per game, their highest average since head coach Dirk Koetter's first year at ASU in 2001. Through eight games this season the Sun Devils are No. 2 in the Pac-10 averaging 172.6 yards rushing per game. To put that number in perspective, if the Sun Devils were to keep up that pace, it would be the first time since 2001 that they averaged more than 150 yards on the ground.
ASU has no shortage of talent in its backfield, which includes sophomore Keegan Herring, who led the team in rushing last season with 870 yards; sophomore Shaun DeWitty, a 6-2, 215-pound back who had a solid spring for ASU; junior college transfer Ryan Torain, who rushed for more than 800 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore at Butler (Kan.) CC despite missing four games with an injury; and freshman Dimitri Nance, who ran up career totals of 3,173 yards and 41 touchdowns during his high school career.
The aforementioned quartet of running backs combined for 142 yards rushing (5.1 per-carry average) in ASU's season-opening victory over Northern Arizona (Aug. 31). Nance led the way with 61 yards and one score. The following week against Nevada (Sept. 9), Torain led ASU's rushing attack with 70 yards on only eight carries (8.8-yard average). Torain's night included a 15-yard TD run in addition to a 40-yard scamper, the longest rush by an ASU player in 2006. In addition to Torain's success, DeWitty tallied a touchdown reception for the second consecutive week, this one a 22-yard strike from QB Rudy Carpenter.
At Colorado (Sept. 16), the Sun Devils rushed for 182 yards, the 10th-best rushing performance under Koetter and the second-best on the road. Herring (82 yards) and Torain (80 yards) combined for 162 of ASU's yards against the Buffaloes, who came into the game No. 6 in the NCAA in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (32.5) and No. 4 in the country in per-carry average (0.9). ASU averaged 4.0 yards per carry at Colorado.
At California (Sept. 23), the Sun Devils had their best ever rushing performance on the road under Koetter as they gained 237 yards, including a career-best 191 yards from Torain. One week later ASU ran for 142 yards against Oregon (Sept. 30). Torain once again paced the backfield with 113 yards on 19 carries.
ASU continued its road rushing success in its most recent outing at Washington as the Sun Devils ran for 190 yards in a hard-fought 26-23 overtime victory. Torain (23 carries) and Herring (six carries) each rushed for 98 yards to lead the Sun Devils. Herring's 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter at Washington is the longest offensive play for the Sun Devils this season.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS FOR T-RICH
During his Sun Devil career, senior WR/KR/PR Terry Richardson has proven to be one of ASU's biggest threats for a big play any time he touches the football, particularly when he is bringing back punts and kickoffs.
Earlier this season versus Oregon (Sept. 30) Richardson tied a school record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown which represented the first kickoff return for a touchdown by an ASU player in Sun Devil Stadium since 1986. It was his third touchdown on a return the last two seasons after scoring on a pair of punt returns in 2005. Currently Richardson, who has missed the last two games due to injury, ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 4 in the country in kickoff returns (33.56 yard average). Richardson is also ranked No. 4 in the Pac-10 in punt returns, averaging 11.22 yards per return.
Richardson, who earned Second Team All-America honors last season from SI.com, was named the US Bank Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in last season's game against USC. His 84-yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter against the Trojans (10/1) marked the first by a Sun Devil since current St. Louis Ram Shaun McDonald had a 78-yarder against USC on Nov. 4, 2000. It was the 10th-longest punt return in school history (9th-longest for a TD) and the longest by a Sun Devil since Eric Guliford had an 89-yarder against California in 1992.
In the last regular season game of 2005 Richardson would deliver again with a momentum-turning return of 71 yards against Arizona for a touchdown that tied the game in the fourth quarter. It made him the sixth Sun Devil overall and first since Ron Washington (1977) to return a pair of kicks for touchdowns in a season.
Richardson ended last season No. 2 in the Pac-10 and No. 7 in the nation with an average of 15.3 yards per punt return while also sitting third in the Pac-10 and No. 15 in the nation with an average of 27.4 yards on kickoff returns. Both his punt (337 yards) and kick return (629) yardage totals for the season were good enough to make into the top five of the school's all-time single-season annals. On offense, Richardson finished fourth on the team with 37 catches for 495 yards (13.4 avg.) and five touchdowns.
JUST FOR KICKS
In his three-plus seasons Jesse Ainsworth has made it a habit of being nearly perfect on PAT attempts, missing just three times in 150 tries. [Dating back to the final game of the 2003 season when he connected on 4-of-4 PATs to start his current streak of 126 in a row, a school record.]
Ainsworth, who was a perfect 53-of-53 last season after going 40-of-40 in 2004, moved past former program record holder Luis Zendejas, who netted 75 from 1981-83. Ainsworth tied Zendejas' mark when he connected on a try following ASU's first touchdown against Oregon last season, a 20-yard touchdown reception by Derek Hagan in the first quarter. In the third stanza, Ainsworth hit home the record-breaking 76th PAT in a row. Ainsworth's 53 PATs last season put him fourth in ASU's record books for the most PATs made in a single season.
Ainsworth's 41 field goals are third-most in a Sun Devil career and he needs nine more to move into second place. He also is just the sixth kicker in school annals to score 200 or more points as his 270 points are eight points behind Mike Barth (1999-2002) for second on the list.
ASU PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN PRESEASON PAC-10 POLL
ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference in a pre-season poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. Defending Pac-10 champion USC earned 18 first-place votes and was picked to win its fourth straight Pac-10 title. The Sun Devils will travel to Los Angeles to face the Trojans on October 14th at Memorial Coliseum.
Four teams received first place votes this season after USC was the unanimous choice last year. The Trojans garnered 18 votes, while Cal was second with seven. Oregon received three votes and the Sun Devils also earned a first place vote.
The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 23 of 45 previous polls, including the last six years in a row.
ASU TO HONOR `86 & `96 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS
Scheduled in conjunction with ASU's football game against Washington State University at Sun Devil Stadium on November 11, ASU will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1987 Rose Bowl team and the 10th anniversary of the 1997 Rose Bowl team. Former Sun Devil head football coaches John Cooper (1986) and Bruce Snyder (1996) have been contacted and have committed to attend the weekend's festivities.
The 1986 Sun Devils captured the Pac-10 title and culminated their season with a 22-15 victory over Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl. It was the first Rose Bowl appearance in ASU history. The team would finish its season with a 10-1-1 record.
The 1996 Sun Devils had an undefeated regular season before falling to Ohio State in the 1997 Rose Bowl. Highlights of the year included shutting out top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Nebraska 19-0 on Sept. 21, 1996 and overcoming a three-touchdown deficit to beat UCLA on the road.
ESPN2 & ESPNU TO SHOWCASE 1997 ROSE BOWL
ASU's epic showdown with The Ohio State University in the 1997 Rose Bowl has been selected by ESPN2 and ESPNU to be a part of its new original series ESPNU Honor Roll: College Football's Top 10. The series will be hosted by ESPN's Rece Davis from the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., and will count down college football categories, such as Honor Roll: Greatest Quarterbacks and Honor Roll: Greatest Rivalries.
The Jan. 1, 1997 matchup pitting the No. 2, Pacific-10 Conference Champion Sun Devils against the No. 4 Buckeyes will be showcased among the Honor Roll: College Football's Greatest Bowl Games edition of the series, to air Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Each episode of the series will rank the top picks from 10 to one, and each of the Top 10 lists were determined through a combination of fan votes and ESPN college football experts' opinions.
ASU returns home to take on the Washington State Cougars on Sat., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. ASU will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1986 Pac-10 Champion team and the 10th anniversary of the 1996 Pac-10 Champion team at the game.