Football heads to California for Pac-10 showdown with Cardinal
After a last-second 24-17 victory over the Washington Huskies, Arizona State hits the road for a Pac-10 match-up in Palo Alto with Stanford on Saturday, October 24. Danny Sullivan found Chris McGaha for a 50-yard touchdown with five seconds left vaulting the Sun Devils to the win. Arizona State improved to 4-2 with the win, 2-1 in conference play. The Cardinal sit at 4-3, 3-2 in Pac-10 play following a loss to Arizona in Tucson.
ON THE AIR: The Sun Devil-ISP Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 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 Doug Franz patrols the sidelines. The Stanford game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Fox Sports Net will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Cardinal. Barry Tompkins and Petros Papadakis will call the action while Michael Eaves handles sideline duties.
SUN DEVILS VS. CARDINAL: This will be the 26th meeting between the Sun Devils and the Cardinal. Arizona State leads the all-time series 16-9, including last season's 41-17 ASU victory in Tempe. The Sun Devils are 6-6 all-time in Palo Alto and won the last meeting there 41-3 in 2007.
PICK IT: Thanks to Ryan McFoy's two interceptions against Washington, Arizona State has now picked off at least one pass in 14 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. Florida, who was the national leader, had their 17-game streak snapped against Arkansas
CLOSING IN: Chris McGaha now has 1,891 career receiving yards, 109 yards shy of 2,000 for his career...McGaha also needs 9 more receptions to give him 150 in his career. Only five Sun Devils have ever caught 150+ passes in their careers: Derek Hagan (258), John Jefferson (188), Eric Guliford (164), Shaun McDonald (156), John Mistler (156).
NEXT UP: The Sun Devils celebrate homecoming as they host the California Golden Bears on Halloween.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• 24 different Sun Devils have made their debut in 2009.
• 13 different Sun Devils have made their first career starts this season.
• Arizona State has played eight true freshmen this season, tied for third most in school history.
• Senior Dexter Davis is third all-time in ASU history with 29 career sacks.
• Senior Dexter Davis' 44 straight starts is tied for the most by a Sun Devil since 1984.
• ASU has 24 seniors on its roster, tied for 8th most in the nation.
• Mike Nixon has been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy.
Washington Recap: Chris McGaha, who did not practice all week due to the flu, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Danny Sullivan with five seconds to go, giving ASU a 24-17 win over Washington. The Sun Devils led 17-7 in the third, but the Huskies tied the game with 3:50 to go, setting up the Sullivan to McGaha play. It was McGaha's only catch on the night. Sullivan threw for 263 yards and ran for a score, while Kyle Williams also threw a TD pass.
• Ryan McFoy collected the first multi-interception game of his career.
• Dimitri Nance set a career-high with six receptions.
Last Second Magic: The 24-17 win over Washington was made possible thanks to the Danny Sullivan to Chris McGaha 50-yard scoring pass on Arizona State's final offensive play of the game. The last time the Sun Devils won a game on their final offensive play was October 28, 2006, when Rudy Carpenter found Brent Miller for a touchdown in overtime at Husky Stadium in Seattle. ASU beat Washington 26-23 in that game.
Run, Dimitri, Run: After coming close a number of times to topping the 100-yard mark in his career, Dimitri Nance finally did it, rushing for a career high 113 yards against Washington State on October 10. Nance has also topped the 1,500 yard mark for his career. He now has 1,575 yards and has run for 18 touchdowns. He leads the team this season with 435 yards and is third on the team with 20 catches for 167 yards. Nance set a new career-high with six receptions against Washington, eclipsing the old mark of five. The six catches against the Huskies led the team.
Mr. Williams Neighborhood: One week after setting a new career-high with 13 receptions, Kyle Williams showed his versatility against the Huskies. Williams threw his first career touchdown pass, a 32-yard strike to fellow wideout T.J. Simpson on a flanker pass play. It was the first time a non-quarterback threw a touchdown pass for the Sun Devils since November 5, 2009, when Rudy Burgess threw a touchdown to Rudy Burgess in Pullman against Washington State.
Making Up For Lost Time: Ryan McFoy made his first career interception against Nevada in 2006. He made his second later that year against Stanford. He then went 35 games without intercepting another pass before picking one off at Washington State. McFoy enjoyed that interception so much, he picked off two passes from Jake Locker and Washington last week. It was his first career multi-interception game, and gave him three picks in two games after garnering zero in the previous 35.
Debuts: 24 different ASU players have made their Sun Devil debuts so far this season. Those that have debuted are: Jamal Miles, Samson Szakacsy, Matt Hustad, Trevor Kohl, Andrew Sampson, Derrall Anderson, Keelan Johnson, Toa Tuitea, William Sutton, Corey Adams, Dean DeLeone, Vontaze Burfict, Deveron Carr, Jonathan Carr, Jonathan Clark, Cameron Marshall, Brian Matsumoto, Brock Osweiler, Patrick Jamison, A.J. Pickens, Greg Smith, James Morrison, LeQuan Lewis, Bobby Wenzig and Steven Figueroa. Of those 24, eight (Miles, Sutton, Adams, Burfict, Marshall, Osweiler, Smith and Wenzig) are true freshmen. ASU played a school-record 10 true freshmen last season.
Truly A Lot Of Freshmen: Over the past two seasons, Arizona State has seen a combined 18 true freshmen get game action (school-record 10 in 2008, eight so far in 2009). Since 1983, that is the most true freshmen to play in a two year span at ASU. Lawrence Guy started eight games on the defensive line last season as a true freshman, earning Freshman All-American honors, while Vontaze Burfict has started the past three games at middle linebacker.
Start Me Up: 13 Sun Devils have made their first career starts so far in 2009, including five against Oregon State. Vontaze Burfict, a true freshman, made his first career start at linebacker against OSU, while Brent Good, a senior, made his first start on the offensive line. James Brooks at defensive end, Keelan Johnson at safety and T.J. Simpson at wide receiver also all made their first career starts against the Beavers. They join wide receiver Gerell Robinson offensive linemen Andrew Sampson and Matt Hustad, defensive linemen William Sutton and Dean DeLeone, linebacker Brandon Magee, safety Jarrell Holman and quarterback Danny Sullivan as Sun Devils making their first career starts in 2009. Burfict and Sutton are both true freshman, while Holman, Good and Sullivan are seniors.
Disruptive Dexter: Playing in his senior season, Dexter Davis is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding career in maroon and gold. The Phoenix native put up great numbers for the third consecutive year in 2008, recording a team-high 11.0 sacks, third most in the Pac-10 and tied for the sixth highest single-season total in school history. Davis also owns the eighth highest total, 10.5 in 2007. The 11 sacks in 2008 established a new career high for Davis, who has eight career multi-sack games. Thanks to his 1.5 sacks against Washington State, Davis has moved into third place on ASU's all-time list with 29 sacks in his Sun Devil career. Terrell Suggs (2000-02) is the leader with 44. Davis earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 last season and was a Second Team All-Pac-10 choice in 2007. He earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-American status from The Sporting News in 2006.
Mr. Dependable: Dexter Davis is the only returning player in the nation who has recorded double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons (10.5 in 2007 and 11 in 2008). He also has started 44 of a possible 44 games in his Sun Devil career. Davis has now moved into a tie with Scott Peters for the most starts by a Sun Devils since 1984.
All The Way Omar: When Omar Bolden took the opening kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown against ULM on September 19, he became the first ASU player to ever return the game's opening kickoff for a score. It was the 13th kickoff return touchdown in ASU history and the first since Rudy Burgess took one back 98-yards against USC in 2007.
Player of the Week Against Idaho State: Senior linebacker Mike Nixon did everything but lead the marching band at halftime of the opener against Idaho State. The 26-year old team captain intercepted three passes, returned one for a touchdown, blocked a punt and recorded four tackles, including one for loss. Now in his fourth season in maroon and gold, Nixon went the first 30 games of his career without an interception, but since picking off his first career pass at Cal last season, he has intercepted eight passes in his last 10 games. He tied for the Pac-10 lead with five last year, including returning one for a score. Nixon became the first Sun Devil with three interceptions since Nathan LaDuke against Houston (Sept. 23) in 1989. Nixon's blocked punt was the first by a Sun Devil since 2006, when Brandon Smith blocked a Colorado punt in Boulder. For his efforts, Nixon was named both the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week and the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week. Nixon has also been named a semifinalist for the Campbell (formerly Draddy) Trophy, the Academic Heisman.
Push 'Em Back, Push 'Em Back: The 2009 Sun Devil defense has established itself as one of the stingiest in the nation, routinely making tackles for loss or for no gain. In the win over Washington State, the ASU defensive unit was a negative play machine, causing 26 Cougar plays to go for no gain or negative yardage, a whopping 39% of WSU's total plays. On the year, ASU's opponents have run 350 plays, with 69 of them having gone for negative yardage or no gain (not counting incomplete passes). Opponents have lost 199 yards on those 69 plays.
Six Pack From Corona: The 2009 Sun Devil football team boasts six players from Centennial High School in Corona, California. Sophomore RB Ryan Bass and sophomore LBs Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee will welcome former high school classmates Vontaze Burfict, William Sutton and Jarrid Bryant to Tempe this season. This marks the first time in school history that ASU has had six players from an out-of-state high school. Bryant spent three seasons at Centennial High School before spending his senior season at Salisbury Prep in Connecticut. Bryant is expected to redshirt.
Magee Making A Name In Two Sports: Sophomore linebacker Brandon Magee is putting together a terrific football season, having made 22 tackles, third most on the team. He leads the Sun Devils with his six tackles for loss, including two sacks. He has also intercepted a pass. Magee is making the most of his opportunity to be a Sun Devil. Not only is he contributing on the gridiron for ASU, but he is also a member of the Sun Devil Baseball team. Magee was a member of the 2009 Pac-10 Champion Sun Devil nine and traveled with the team to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series, where they finished third in the country. Magee appeared in 13 games for the baseball team, all as a pinch hitter, as he juggled baseball with spring football. Magee was a 29th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 MLB draft.
Hail To The Chief: Sophomore corner Josh Jordan had an interesting offseason at Arizona State. The Las Vegas product ran for and was elected as a Student Senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Jordan will serve in that capacity for the 2009-10 school year.
Gaining Experience: 10 true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen saw action during the 2008 season, including six who started at least one game. 21 different players made their first career start last season, including six on the offensive line. The 10 true freshmen was the highest total to ever play in school history, eclipsing the nine that played in 1994.
Winning Tradition: Since 1950, Arizona State football has the 10th highest winning percentage in the nation among all FBS Schools. Since 1950, ASU is 437-217-8 in their 661 games, a winning percentage of .667. Oklahoma leads the nation with a .756 winning percentage (514-162-12).
Ball Hawks: ASU added three more takeaways against Washington, giving the Sun Devils 19 total takeaways on the year, including 13 INTs. ASU has a +9 turnover ratio on the year, tops in the Pac-10 and fifth nationally. The ASU defense has also scored two touchdowns on interception returns. Mike Nixon took one back against Idaho State and Jarrell Holman returned one against Georgia.
Record Tying Night Against ISU: Thomas Weber had a memorable first game of the 2009 campaign, booting five field goals and scoring a career-high 20 points (5 FGs, 5 PATs) in the win over Idaho State. The five field goals ties a school record held by who else but Luis Zendejas. Zendejas kicked five field goals against Stanford in 1983. The 20 points by Weber surpasses his previous high of 15 (4 FGs, 3 PATs) set last season against Stanford and was also the most ever by a Sun Devil in school history.
Kicking His Way To The Top: Thomas Weber is 49-58 (84%) on field goal attempts and has scored 230 points in his ASU career. He connected on 43 made field goals during his first two seasons, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker in his first two years with the program, surpassing Luis Zendejas' previous record of 40. His 49 career field goals puts Weber in a tie with Mike Barth for third place on ASU's all-time made field goal list. The record is 81, held by Zendejas. Weber's 230 points is the fifth highest total in school history in points by a kicker. He also has kicked the third longest field goal in school history, a 53-yarder at the Rose Bowl against UCLA in 2007. His 24 made field goals in 2007 was the second most in a single season in school history, and his 19 last season was the fifth most. Weber scored 118 points in his debut season in 2007, tied with Mike Barth (2002) for the most points by a kicker in a single season.
Playboy Twice: Kicker Thomas Weber has been named a Preseason First Team All-American by Playboy Magazine, the second straight year he has made the Playboy team. Weber becomes only the second Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team twice. Cornerback Mike Richardson made the team in 1981 and 1982. Weber becomes the 14th Sun Devil to be named to the Playboy All-America team. It is the 16th time an ASU player has been named to the squad (Weber and Richardson twice). Former Sun Devil head coach Bruce Snyder was named to the team in 1997 as the National Coach-of-the-Year.
All-Decade Team: Former Sun Devil and current Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs was named to the College Football All-Decade Team by The Sporting News. Suggs recently became the Baltimore Ravens all-time leader in sack yardage.
Pac-10 Predictions: Arizona State has been picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 in the annual Media Poll. The teams picked to finish first (USC), second (Cal) and fourth (Oregon State) will all visit Sun Devil Stadium this season. The Sun Devils were picked to finish fourth in 1986, second in 1996 and fourth in 2007, all seasons they won a Pac-10 title.
Clamping Down: The Sun Devil defense has posted some impressive numbers at the halfway point of the season. It is ranked #2 in the nation in rushing defense and has yet to yield a 100-yard rusher. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers holds the highest total gained against ASU, rushing for 81 yards. Against Washington State, the Cougars leading rusher was their punter Reid Forrest, who gained 15-yards on a fake punt.