Post Game Notes: Arizona State defeats Idaho State, 50-3
Sept. 5, 2009
Arizona State Notes:
Nixon Gets Defensive: Linebacker Mike Nixon made his presence known in a big way, especially in a span of 1:41 near the end of the second quarter. The senior, who already had intercepted one pass in the first quarter, added another pick with 2:12 remaining in the half and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Then, with 0:31 remaining in the half, Nixon blasted through the line and blocked a punt attempt that ASU downed at the ISU 3, setting up a Thomas Weber field goal. Nixon picked his third pass of the night in the fourth quarter, marking the first time one ASU player intercepted three passes in one game since Nathan LaDuke against Houston (Sept. 23) in 1989. Nixon ended the game with four tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, 56 return yards and one touchdown scored.
The Last Time: While the defense has been impressive in the past two seasons, the opening game action provided several firsts with their four interceptions, one blocked punt and one fumble recovery. Here are the last times for the defense in comparison:
- The last time the Sun Devil defense a blocked kick and had an interception in the same game was in 2007 when ASU took on rival Arizona (Dec. 1). In that game, Michael Marquardt blocked a field goal attempt before both Rodney Cox and Troy Nolan intercepted passes.
- The last time the ASU defense recorded both a blocked punt and had an interception came in 2005 against Oregon (Oct. 8). In that contest, Matt Miller blocked a punt, both Jamar Williams and Zach Catanese recorded interceptions and DeWayne Hollyfield blocked a field goal.
- The last time the ASU defense recorded a defensive touchdown on either a blocked punt or an interception return came at San Diego State in 2002 (Sept. 14). In that game, Jamar Williams blocked a punt with Matt Miller recovering the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and R.J. Oliver picked off a pass for no return yardage.
- The last time the ASU defense recorded at least one interception, one blocked kick and one fumble recovery came in that same 2007 game with Arizona. One defensive series after Marquardt blocked the field goal attempt, he recovered a fumble caused by Travis Goethel.
- The last time ASU blocked a punt came in 2006 at Colorado (Sept. 16) with Brandon Smith stopping the attempt.
- The last time ASU recorded four or more interceptions in a game was in 2007 against Oregon State (Sept. 22) when the Sun Devils plucked five out of the air.
Low Yield: The defense also limited the Bengals to just 37 yards of total offense, including -5 yards rushing and 42 yards through the air. Idaho State quarterbacks combined to go 9-of-20 for 42 yards passing with four interceptions.
Lighting Up the New Boards: Sun Devil Stadium recently was fitted with new scoreboards and those new lights were put to the test right away as the Sun Devils scored 50 points, the most in the Dennis Erickson era at ASU. In his previous two-plus seasons, the most points ASU had scored was 45 in Erickson's first game with the program, a 45-30 defeat of San Jose State (Sept. 1) in 2007. Last year, ASU's high total was 41 in a 41-17 defeat of Stanford. The 50 points are the most since 2006 when ASU downed Nevada, 52-12, on Sept. 9. The 47-point margin of victory also was the team's highest since a 63-16 defeat of Temple in 2005 (Sept. 1).
Tom The Toe: With his 29-yard field goal at 5:27 remaining in the third quarter, PK Thomas Weber converted his fifth field goal of the evening to tie a school record for field goals in a game. Weber joins Luis Zendejas (vs. Stanford, 1983) as the record holder with five in a game. Weber, who was 5-for-6 on the night, connected on scores from 24, 22, 27, 26 and 29 and was one score from tying the Pac-10 record of six in a game by Paul Martinez (Oregon, vs. Montana, 2005), Alexis Serna (Oregon State, vs. Washington, 2005) and John Lee (UCLA, vs. San Diego State, 1984).
Weber Scores: Weber finished the night with a career-high 19 points on five field goals and four extra points, surpassing his previous high of 15 points (4 FG, 3 PAT) at Stanford last year.
First Times: Sixteen different ASU players made their Sun Devil debuts tonight while eight players made the first starts of their career. Those that debuted tonight included: Matt Hustad, Andrew Sampson, Derrall Anderson, Keelan Johnson, Toa Tuitea, Williams Sutton, Corey Adams, Dean DeLeone, Vontaze Burfict, Deveron Carr, Jonathan Carr, Jonathan Clark, Cameron Marshall, Brian Matsumoto, Brock Osweiler, Patrick Jamison and A.J. Pickens. The Sun Devils that earned their first career starts included: Gerell Robinson, Sampson, Hustad, Danny Sullivan, DeLeone, Sutton, Brandon Magee and Jarrell Holman.
More Firsts: Freshman Brock Osweiler saw his first action at QB for the Sun Devils and finished the game with 43 yards on 4-of-5 passing with one touchdown. His first collegiate scoring pass was thrown to Brian Matsumoto, who also recorded his first reception and his first scoring catch... fellow QB Danny Sullivan, who got the starting call for the first time in his career, went 13-of-25 for 165 yards with no interceptions.
Notes on Openers: With the win, the Sun Devils improve to 68-27-2 all-time in their first game of the year and 48-15-1 all-time when they open the season at home... the win over the Bengals is ASU's seventh in a row in overall season openers and its 11th-consecutive when its opening game is at home... the Sun Devils have now won 10 of their last 11 season openers and 13 of their last 14 season openers at home... Dennis Erickson is now 15-6 all-time in his teams' season-opening games and 3-0 in the first game of the year with the Sun Devils... Erickson also improved to 4-2 all-time against Idaho State.
Hash Marks: The offense was 2-for-2 on fourth-down tries on the night... the offense was 8-for-9 in the red zone with the only blemish a 37-yard field goal attempt by Thomas Weber that went wide right.
Idaho State Notes:
Of ISU's 11 starters on defense only four (Storms, Tuua, Amos, Wright) had more than one career start entering the game, and Storms had no starts at linebacker.
Vanderwielen's first punt was 51 yards out of bounds inside the 20. He had 15 50-yard punts last year and 18 pins.
ASU was 2-for-2 on fourth down, and ISU opponents were 7 -of-9 on fourth down last year.
The Bengals held the Sun Devils to just 3-of-13 on third down.
Blum's three first half interceptions equaled his career output entering the game.
Jarrett Huk's 55-yard field goal tied for the fourth-longest in school history and it tied for the longest road field goal in school history (Pete Garces at New Mexico in 1998, at Eastern Washington in 1999).
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