Sun Devil Opens Pac-10 Slate Saturday Night Against Oregon State

Sept. 17, 2007

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Date: Saturday, September 22, 2007
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT
Site: Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) - Tempe, Ariz.
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

• Keegan Herring turned in his fourth career 100-yard game against the Aztecs
• Rudy Carpenter now has 47 career TD passes, fi fth-most in Arizona State history
• ASU has started 3-0 for the second straight year
• Senior Robert James has two sacks this season after totaling three in the past three years
• Arizona State received 67 points in this week's USA Today poll, putting them 30th
• The Sun Devils received 69 points in this week's AP poll, putting them 29th
• 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 has not suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 59 years, the fourth longest active streak in the nation

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Sun Devils open conference play this week when they host the Oregon State Beavers at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22. ASU is coming off a 34-13 win over the San Diego State Aztecs, thanks to the 161-yard, two TD performance from Keegan Herring. Rudy Carpenter also threw for 200 yards and two scores in the win over the Aztecs. Last week, Oregon State rolled the Idaho State Bengals 61-10 to move to 2-1 on the year. It is the Pac-10 opener for both schools.

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. Saturday's game can be heard on 92.3 KTAR FM.

Saturday will be the 34th meeting between Arizona State and Oregon State. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 23-9-1, including a 17-3 mark at Sun Devil Stadium. Oregon State won last season's match-up 44-10 in Corvallis. Dennis Erickson is 2-2 against his former school, although three of the four meetings came prior to Erickson being named head coach of the Beavers. His Idaho team fell 38-0 to OSU last season in Corvallis.

The Sun Devils are 3-4 in Pac-10 openers since 2000, but have won their opener in two of the past three seasons. Last year ASU dropped the conference opener at Cal, 49-21. This will be the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Devils will open Pac-10 play with Oregon State. Dennis Erickson holds a career mark of 24-22-1 in six seasons of Pac-10 play with Washington State and Oregon State. His Beavers won a share of the Pac-10 championship in 2000.

Subbing for Ryan Torain, who sat out against the Aztecs, Keegan Herring was the man for ASU, as he racked up 161 yards on 19 carries to lead the Sun Devils to a 34-13 victory. Herring found the end zone twice, including a 46-yard highlight reel scamper, pacing the Devils offense. Rudy Carpenter was effective through the air, going 15-21 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. ASU rushed for 268 yards in the win, the fourth most yards gained on the ground since 1998.

• San Diego State's fi eld goal with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter ended a 61:36 scoreless streak from the Sun Devil defense, dating back to a touchdown surrendered to Colorado at the 6:21 mark in the first quarter on Sept. 8
• Keegan Herring's two touchdowns against San Diego State was the fourth multi-TD game of his career
• The Aztec's field goal in the third quarter marked the only points ASU has allowed in the second half all year

Dennis Erickson spent four seasons as the head coach at Oregon State, leading the Beavers to three bowls, including the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. He went 31-17 at Oregon State and his .646 winning percentage is the highest in modern OSU football history. In addition to Coach Erickson, Craig Bray, Jamie Christian, Dan Cozzetto, Matt Lubick, Al Simmons, Gregg Smith and Eric Yarber have all coached for the Beavers at some point in their careers.

When Rudy Carpenter connected with Rudy Burgess for a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Aztecs, it was the first time Burgess had been in the end zone since the 2005 Insight Bowl. Burgess, who now has 16 career scores, scored twice in the Insight Bowl win over Rutgers, but did not score at all during his injury-plagued 2006 season.

Keegan Herring had an oustanding performance against San Diego State. Starting for Ryan Torain, Herring totaled 161 yards and two scores, averaging 8.5 yards a carry. It was the fourth 100-yard game of his career, and first since he had 129 yards against UCLA in 2005. His two touchdowns marked the fourth time in his career he has scored multiple times in a game, something he last did in 2006 against Washington in Seattle. The highlight of his night was an eye-popping 46-yard scamper to the end zone that ended with him somersaulting over an Aztec across the goal line.

Arizona State ran for 268 yards against the Aztecs, the fourth-highest single game total for the Sun Devils dating back to 1998. It surpassed the 250-yard performance against San Jose State on opening night.

Thomas Weber got a chance to show off his leg against San Diego State, connecting on two fi eld goals in the 34-13 win. He hit from 31 and 48 yards against the Aztecs, putting him at 3-3 on the season. The 48-yarder was the longest field goal for ASU since Jesse Ainsworth connected on a 48-yarder against Iowa on Sept. 18, 2004 in Tempe and was also the longest of Weber's young career.

Troy Nolan's interception at the end of the first half was his second of the season, and the third straight game in which the ASU defense has intercepted at least one pass. They have four total on the season, including the one Nolan returned for a touchdown against Colorado.

Robert James continues to be the backbone of the Sun Devil defense in 2007. James once again led ASU in tackles, amassing 11 total against San Diego State. He now has 30 tackles on the season, including six tackles for loss and two sacks. He has also intercepted a pass and broken up two others.

Ryan Torain needs 57 more yards to top 1,500 yards for his career. Keegan Herring surpassed the 1,500 yard mark earlier in the season against Colorado. Rudy Carpenter also surpassed the 5,000 yard passing mark earlier this season.

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 47 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 5,462 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, missed two quarters against the Buffs and did not play against the Aztecs

Arizona State is ranked nationally in many major categories on both offense and defense. The Sun Devils are ranked 3rd nationally in pass efficiency defense (75.16) and 6th in total defense (214 ypg). They are 13th nationally in rush defense (71.7 ypg) and 15th in pass defense (142.3 ypg). The defense is also ranked 9th in the country in scoring defense (10 ppg/allowed). The offense is 3rd in the nation in time of possession (34:00) and 20th in Passing Efficiency (157.66). Robert James is tied for 5th in the country with six tackles for loss and is 9th nationally with 22 solo tackles. Rudy Carpenter is 19th in the country in pass efficiency (157.7)

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 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 218.7 yards per game on the ground and both Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring have 100-yard games under their belts.

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 470 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 first 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. He's already over halfway to that mark again, with 257 yards so far this year. In 27 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 297 carries for 1,675 yards and 14 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 San Diego, Rudy Carpenter is now 14-7 as Arizona State's starting quarterback. That's good for the fifth 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.

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 deflections (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. Five of the ASU grads are offensive linemen.

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.

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.

Arizona State is one of 31 FBS (Division I-A) teams in the country that is still undefeated. USC, Oregon and California are other Pac-10 schools who have not suffered a loss.

Arizona State will depart on its first road trip of 2007, heading to Palo Alto, California for a meeting with the Stanford Cardinal. The ASU/Stanford game will kickoff at 7 p.m. from Stanford Stadium with FSN Arizona televising it.

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