Sun Devils Meet San Diego State Saturday Night on FSNAZ

Sept. 11, 2007

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Date: Saturday, September 15, 2007
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT
Site: Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) - Tempe, Ariz.
Television: FSN Arizona
Play-by-Play: Trey Bender 
Color: Former ASU OL Juan Roque
Sideline: Jody Jackson
Sun Devil Radio: KTAR 620 AM & KMVP/KTAR 92.3 FM
Play-by-Play: Tim Healey
Color: Former ASU QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst
Sideline: Amy Bender

• Junior Rudy Carpenter topped the 5,000 yard passing mark last week
• Senior Ryan Torain ranks 13th nationally and second in the Pac-10 among returning runners after recording the top rushing season by a Sun Devil in the Pac-10 era
• A win against San Diego State would give ASU its second straight 3-0 start
• Arizona State's remaining opponents currently have a 12-5 combined record
• Senior Robert James has two sacks this season after totaling three in the past three years
• Senior WR Rudy Burgess is the only active player in the Pac-10 Conference to have surpassed 1,000 yards rushing and receiving during his career
• ASU's offensive line includes fi ve players who earned their undergraduate degrees this past spring
• ASU has not suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 59 years, the fourth longest active streak in the nation

TEMPE, Ariz. - After a 33-14 win over the Colorado Buffaloes that gave Dennis Erickson his 150th career win, the Sun Devils now host the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday night, September 15. Arizona State is 2-0 with wins over San Jose State and Colorado, while San Diego State is 0-1 after falling 45-27 to Washington State at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Devils defense continued to shine last week against the Buffs, allowing only 204 total yards, including 32 rushing yards in the victory. Rudy Carpenter threw for 269 yards and three scores, two to Michael Jones, in the win.

The Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action, while Amy Bender will provide sideline reports during home games. The San Diego State game will air on 92.3 KTAR FM.

Fox Sports Net Arizona will televise the contest with the Aztecs. Trey Bender and former Sun Devils All-America offensive lineman Juan Roque will call the action with Jody Jackson patrolling the sidelines.

Saturday will be the 11th meeting between Arizona State and San Diego State. ASU holds a 9-0-1 advantage in the series that dates back to 1934. In their previous meeting in 2002, SDSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead before Andrew Walter came off the bench to lead the Devils to a 39-28 come-from-behind victory.

After a disastrous first quarter that saw ASU turn the ball over three times and trail 14-0, the Sun Devils were able to regroup and come from behind to beat the Buffaloes. Colorado started fast, intercepting the first pass of the game and returning it for a score to take an early 7-0 lead. Another ASU turnover led to a short field touchdown to put CU up two TDs. But the Sun Devil defense would not allow anything more, shutting out the Buffaloes over the final three quarters and allowing Rudy Carpenter and ASU offense to get on track. Carpenter went 19-37 for 269 and three scores, while Ryan Torain carried 17 times for 91 yards, despite missing two quarters. Michael Jones had six catches for 96 yards and two TDs.

• After falling behind 14-0, ASU scored 33 unanswered points
• The two TD grabs by Michael Jones marked the first multi-TD game of his career
• ASU did not allow a second half point for the second straight week

The victory over Colorado was Dennis Erickson's 150th in his NCAA coaching career, 11th most among active FBS (Division I-A) coaches. He is one victory behind his close friend, UTEP's Mike Price, for 10th on the list. 26 of Erickson's 150 wins have come against ranked teams, including three against the #1 team. He has the most career victories of any of the Pac-10 coaches.

Rudy Carpenter hit several milestones in the 33-14 win over Colorado. An eight-yard first quarter completion to Tyrice Thompson vaulted him past the 5,000 yard mark for his career. He finished the night with 269 yards, giving him 5,262. That's good for seventh place in school history, moving him past Mike Pagel (1978-81), who totaled 5,196 yards. His second TD pass to Michael Jones gave him 45 career touchdown passes, moving him past Jeff Van Raaphorst for seventh all-time in school history. Van Raaphorst had 44 from 1984 to 1986.

Michael Jones had a night to remember against Colorado, hauling in a career high six passes for a career high 96 yards. He also grabbed two touchdowns, the first time in his career he has found the end zone more than once in a game. Jones has already doubled his career TD receptions this season. Entering this season, Jones had a total of three touchdown receptions in his career. Two games into 2007, he now has six catches for scores.

One week after allowing only 115 yards against San Jose State, Arizona State's defense continued its stellar play against the Buffs, limiting Colorado to 204 total yards. The Buffs managed only 32 rushing yards and went 16-46 in the passing game. The only touchdown the ASU defense allowed came after a fumble on a punt return that allowed Colorado to begin its drive at the ASU 17. Troy Nolan avenged that score when he picked off CU's Cody Hawkins and returned it 26-yards for a score of his own. The Sun Devils also recovered a Buffalo fumble and shut out CU over the final three quarters. The 115 yards allowed against the Spartans on Sept. 1 was the lowest total allowed by an ASU defense since Sept. 18, 2004, when it held #12 Iowa to 100 yards (56 rushing, 44 passing). The Sun Devils have forced four turnovers, including one interception, that was returned for a TD. They have also recorded five sacks so far, including two against CU.

After a 10 tackle, one interception and a sack performance that led to being named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week, there wasn't much Robert James could do for an encore against the Buffaloes. All James did against Colorado was lead the team again with nine tackles, including another QB sack and 4.5 tackles for loss. He also broke up two passes in the 33-14 win, one of which was intercepted by Troy Nolan and returned for a TD. The Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week award was the first of his career.

In addition to Dennis Erickson picking up his 150th win and Rudy Carpenter surpassing 5,000 passing yards, Keegan Herring achieved a milestone of his own. Herring passed the 1,500 career rushing yard mark against the Buffaloes. He now has 1,514 yards in his three year career. Ryan Torain is also close to 1,500 yards, needing 57 more to hit the mark.

Rudy Carpenter ranks second to only Alex Brink of Washington State, who is a year of eligibility ahead of Carpenter, in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards and touchdown passes. Additionally, the Westlake Village, Calif., native has enjoyed seven career games with over 300 passing yards, the most among active Pac-10 quarterbacks. Carpenter now has 45 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 5,262 yards.

Despite missing half of the CU contest, senior Ryan Torain still made his presence known against the Buffaloes. Torain fell just nine yards short of a fourth straight 100-yard game, rushing for 91 yards on 17 carries in the win over Colorado. He also found the end zone for the fourth time this year and 11th time in his career. All told, Torain has played about four total quarters of football. He played only the first half in the 45-3 win over San Jose State and missed two quarters last week against the Buffs.

Thanks to dominating performances against the Spartans and the Buffaloes, Arizona State is ranked nationally in many major categories. The Sun Devils are ranked 2nd nationally in pass efficiency defense (64.40) and 4th in total defense (159.5 ypg). They are 7th nationally in rush defense (36.0 ypg) and 12th in pass defense (123.5 ypg). The defense is also ranked 11th in the country in scoring defense (8.5 ppg/allowed). They are second in the nation in time of possession (35:31) and 15th in 3rd Down Efficiency (51%). Robert James is tied for 4th in the country with 5.5 tackles for loss.

Sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history last season, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News. The Phoenix, Ariz., native recorded a team-best and Pac-10 freshman season-high 6.0 quarterback sacks, the third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. Davis' total trails only those by Terrell Suggs (2000) and Shante Carver (1990), who each posted 10.0 sacks as a freshman and in total, Suggs (44 career sacks) and Carver (41) rank first and second on ASU's all-time career sacks list. Also, Davis totaled 40 tackles on the season, the most by an ASU freshman since TSN freshman All-America safety Jason Shivers' team-high 89 total stops in 2001. Davis proved to be a threat to opposing ballcarriers in a variety of ways, posting an ASU season-high and Pac-10 freshman best three forced fumbles, the most by a Sun Devil freshman since Suggs' four in 2000 and the fourth-most among freshmen in school history. He already has recorded two tackles for loss and a sack so far in 2007.

No team in the Pac-10 showcased as many talented defensive freshmen as ASU did in 2006, headlined by defensive end Dexter Davis and linebacker Travis Goethel, both of whom earned Pac-10 All-Freshman and honorable mention Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News. Both Davis and Goethel will anchor the Sun Devil defense in 2007.

The Sun Devils showcase one of the most experienced and honored offensive lines in the Pac-10, as ASU boasts the only unit of linemen in the conference which returns all five starters from the conclusion of the 2006 season. Also, ASU returns three offensive linemen that received All-Pac-10 honors in 2006, trailing only Oregon State for most in the conference and five Sun Devil linemen, including four starters, have already earned their undergraduate degree. The Sun Devil front five is led by second-team All-Pac-10 center, graduate Mike Pollak and honorable mention All-Pac-10 recipients junior guard Paul Fanaika and graduate tackle Brandon Rodd. Graduate guard Robert Gustavis and graduate tackle Julius Orieuwku also provide starting experience for 2007. Last season, Gustavis and Pollak started all 13 games at right guard and center, respectively, while Rodd started all 11 games in which he played at left tackle. After injuries suffered by 2006 seniors Andrew Carnahan and Stephen Berg, Faniaka started the season's final 10 games, while Orieukwu was a starter in the final seven contests. Sophomore tackle Richard Tuitu'u adds depth in 2007 after filling in as a starter for Rodd last season. Graduate Zach Krula will be welcomed back to the line in 2007, having earned a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the majority of the past two seasons due to injury. A starter in nine of 17 career games at guard, Krula was moved to right tackle this season. In 2006, the Sun Devil blockers helped enable ASU to gain its greatest rushing total since 1999 and showcase the team's first 1,000-yard runner since 2001. So far this season, the line has done their job again. ASU is averaging 194 yards per game on the ground and Ryan Torain has four rushing touchdowns.

After establishing itself in recent years as a national offensive powerhouse predominately predicated on its passing attack, ASU proved it could attack opposing defenses with a punishing ground game last season. The Sun Devils boast the most potent running backs combination in the Pac-10, as senior Ryan Torain and junior Keegan Herring combined for 1,778 rushing yards in 2006, more than any pair of returning Pac-10 teammates. Torain and Herring have combined for 309 rushing yards so far this year. In total, ASU showcases three of eight active Pac-10 ballcarriers to have surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards,including Herring and Torain as well as senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess, who is a dangerous all-purpose threat and was ASU's starting tailback during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Senior running back Ryan Torain enjoyed one of the most incredible rushing seasons in school history in 2006, totaling 1,229 rushing yards on 223 carries. Torain became the fi rst Sun Devil to surpass 1,000 rushing yards since Delvon Flowers in 2001 and produced the greatest single-season rushing output since Sun Devil great Freddie Williams' total of 1,427 for head coach Frank Kush's legendary 1975 squad. The 1,229 yards was the most ever by a Sun Devil running back since ASU joined the Pac-10 in 1978. The 6-1, 213-pounder earned second team All-Pac-10 honors while rushing for over 100 yards in four games and more than 80 yards in eight contests. Torain has his sights set on an even better 2007, totaling 214 yards and four touchdowns so far this year.

Ryan Torain is only the seventh returning 1,000 yard rusher in school history, and the first since Darryl Harris in 1987. Only Woody Green, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in three straight years, and Freddie Williams have ever put together back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for the Sun Devils.

After breaking ASU's freshman rushing record by totaling 870 yards in 2005, junior Keegan Herring rushed for 549 yards on 94 carries in 2006 as part of the most dynamic rushing combination in the Pac-10 Conference. One of the quickest athletes in the Pac-10, Herring led all Sun Devil runners last season averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry and is one of only four active ballcarriers in the conference to have rushed for over 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. Herring collected 76 yards on 16 carries against San Jose State on Sept. 1. In 26 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 268 carries for 1,495 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.

Only four teams in the nation return a running back unit that consisted of a 1,000 yard rusher and a 500 yard rusher last season, including ASU's Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring. Torain and Herring combined for 1,778 rushing yards in 2006. Arkansas, Clemson and Western Michigan are the others.

With the win over Colorado, Rudy Carpenter is now 13-7 as Arizona State's starting quarterback. That's good for the fi fth most victories by a starting ASU QB since 1983. Jake Plummer is #1 with 24 wins, while Jeff Van Raaphorst is second with 21. Andrew Walter and Ryan Kealy are tied for third with 18 wins apiece. Carpenter is 13-7 as a starter, dating back to 2005.

Senior safety Josh Barrett enjoyed a terrific season in his first year as full-time starter in 2006, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors while leading the Sun Devils in total tackles (82) and interceptions (three) as a starter in all 13 contests. The Reno, Nev., native also ranked second on the squad in pass defl ections (six) and third in tackles-for-loss (7.5) and is the third-leading returning tackler among Pac-10 defensive backs. An incredible athlete and a member of the Bednarik Award, Lott Trophy and Nagurski Trophy Watch Lists, the 6-3, 231-pound Barrett has often times been clocked as ASU's fastest player and is expected to continue to be a major contributor and leader as a senior in 2007.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Chuck Berry will no longer be performing at halftime of the USC game on Thanksgiving. In his place, Sun Devil fans will be treated to musical legend Little Richard. He is an inaugural member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will perform with the Sun Devil Marching Band.

The Arizona State football team has several two-sport athletes on the roster. WR Mike Jones has spent the past two seasons as a centerfielder for the baseball team, including last year's Pac-10 Championship team that advanced to the College World Series. Jones was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 42nd round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, but has opted not to sign a contract and will return to the baseball team in 2008. WR Kyle Williams will also play baseball for ASU in 2008. He took the 2007 baseball season off to concentrate on football, but hopes to compete for an infield spot in 2008. In addition to the baseball players, ASU football also has three student-athletes who participated in the Pac-10 Track &Field Championships last season. WR Rodney Glass, CB Justin Tryon and WR Brandon Smith all ran for the Devils in Palo Alto, Calif.

Eight members of the Arizona State football team have already earned their undergraduate degrees, tied for the fifth most players in the country.

Several Sun Devils are on preseason watch lists for national awards, led by senior safety Josh Barrett. Barrett finds himself on four lists for the 2007 season. He is on the watch list for the Lott Trophy, awarded to the nation's premier defensive player both on and off the field, the Nagurski Award, given to the nation's top defensive player, the Bednarik Trophy, handed out to best defensive player and the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Senior running back Ryan Torain is on the Maxwell Award watch list, the award given to the most outstanding college football player. Senior center Mike Pollak is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the top interior lineman in the country, and the Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in the nation. Junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter was named to the Manning Award Watch List, given to the nation's top quarterback. Senior offensive linemen Mike Pollak and Brandon Rodd are both on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, given to the top lineman in college football.

Josh Barrett, Michael Marquardt, Mike Pollak and Ryan Torain have been named the team captains for the 2007 season in a vote by the players.

Since 1997, Arizona State is second only to USC in the number of players from the Pac-10 taken in the annual NFL Draft. 40 Sun Devils have been selected in the draft over the past 10 years, including five players who were selected in the first round. Recent ASU standouts Terrel Suggs (10th overall selection in 2003), Levi Jones (10th overall selection in 2002) and Todd Heap (31st overall selection in 2001) have all found success in the NFL since leaving Arizona State.

ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference by West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. Defending Pac-10 champion USC was the unanimous choice to win their fifth straight conference crown, garnering all 39 first place votes. ASU and USC will meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 22 on ESPN. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 24 of 46 previous polls, including the last seven years.

The Sun Devils close out their four game homestand to begin the season by hosting Oregon State in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium. 

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