October 25, 2010

Football returns home for Homecoming match with Washington State

Posted: October 25, 2010

ASU football will return to Sun Devil Stadium for first time in 34 days, for its homecoming match against Washington State.
October 30, 2010
4 p.m.

Game 8 vs. Washington State Get Acrobat  Reader

After dropping a 50-17 decision at Cal, the Sun Devils return home to host the Washington State Cougars. The Devils and Cougars will play in ASU's annual Homecoming game on Saturday, October 30 at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. This will be ASU's first home game since September 25, a span of 34 days. Washington State comes to Tempe with a 1-7 record, 0-5 in Pac-10 play. Washington State was beaten 38-28 at Stanford last week.

ON THE AIR: The ISP-Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 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. The Washington State game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM radio.

SUN DEVILS VS. COUGARS: This will be the 37th match-up between Arizona State and Washington State. ASU leads the series 22-12-2, including a 13-5-2 mark in Tempe. ASU won last season's meeting, beating the Cougars 27-14 at Martin Stadium. Arizona State has won six straight against Washington State and three in a row at Sun Devil Stadium.

HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arizona State holds a 59-18-3 mark all-time in Homecoming games, dating back to the 0-0 tie with the Phoenix Indians in 1926. ASU has won five of the last six Homecoming games including the 2008 game against Washington State, a 31-0 win.

BLOCK THAT KICK!: The Sun Devils blocked two kicks against the Golden Bears, as LeQuan Lewis batted away an extra point attempt, while Colin Parker blocked a punt that resulted in an ASU touchdown. That gives the Devils four blocked kicks total this year, as they had already blocked two other punts entering the Cal game. The four blocked kicks are the most since 1996, when the Pac-10 Champion Sun Devils also blocked four kicks. That season, Brent Bernstein blocked three by himself. This season, Colin Parker, Mike Callaghan, Derrall Anderson and LeQuan Lewis have each blocked a kick.

CAPTAINS: Jon Hargis, Omar Bolden, Thomas Weber and Gerald Munns have been named the captains of the 2010 Sun Devil football team.

NEXT UP: The Sun Devils leave the state of Arizona for the final time during the regular season, heading to USC for a meeting with the Trojans on Saturday, November 6.

CAL RECAP: ASU's struggles at California continued, as the Devils fell 50-17 to the Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium. Arizona State has not won at Cal since 1997. Special teams and defense accounted for the only two ASU touchdowns, as Colin Parker blocked a Cal punt that was recovered in the end zone by Oliver Aaron, and Clint Floyd returned a fumble 25-yards for a score.

MAX OUT: Senior Max Tabach is establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Sun Devil defense. Tabach made his first career start at Oregon State on October 2, recording four tackles, including a tackle for loss. He was all over the field at Washington, recording a career-high and team-leading 12 tackles in the win over the Huskies. Tabach recorded his first career interception in the season opening win over Portland State, returning it 27-yards. He has registered 31 tackles on the season after totaling 15 through his first two years.

YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE: With only 13 seniors on the roster, much has been made about the youth on the ASU roster. Through the first seven games of the season, the Sun Devils have had five true freshmen (Deantre Lewis, Junior Onyeali, Lee Adams, Alden Darby and Kyle Middlebrooks) see action, including two (Lewis, Onyeali) who have started. 11 redshirt freshmen (Evan Finkenberg, Osahon Irabor, Max Smith, Kody Koebensky, Jarrid Bryant, Christopher Coyle, J.J. Holliday, Brandon Johnson, Shane McCullen, Grandville Taylor, Matt Tucker) have seen playing time in 2010, including starters Finkenberg and Irabor. Seven true sophomores have played (Corey Adams, Vontaze Burfict, Cameron Marshall, Jamal Miles, Greg Smith, Brock Osweiler, R.J. Robinson), including starters Burfict, Marshall and Miles. Nine redshirt sophomores have also seen playing time (Deveron Carr, Keelan Johnson, A.J. Pickens, Andrew Sampson, Kyle Johnson, Steven Figueroa, Cameron Kastl, James Morrison, Toa Tuitea), with three (Carr, Keelan Johnson, Andrew Sampson) having made starts.

DEANTRE THE CENTURY-ON: True freshman Deantre Lewis has been a potent weapon for the Sun Devil offense this season. Lewis already has three 100-yard rushing games to his name, collecting them in consecutive weeks. This marks the first time since 2003 that an ASU running back has totaled three straight 100-yard games, and the sixth time since 1992. Against Portland State in the season opener, Lewis had 100-yards receiving on three catches. He is the first Sun Devils since George Montgomery in 1993 to collect a 100-yard receiving and rushing game in the same season. Lewis is a dangerous all-purpose threat, gaining 398 yards on the ground and 234 yards through the air. He has scored three rushing touchdowns and two receiving.

KERRY THE LOAD: Senior Kerry Taylor is turning in a standout senior season. Having already established a new career high in receptions, Taylor has made a team-leading 28 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns. He has also tied his single game career high in receptions twice with six against both NAU and Wisconsin. Taylor also had six receptions at Oregon State on November 1, 2008. Taylor's previous career high for single season receptions was 27, set in 2008. He gained a career high 405 yards that season.

HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: Junior Gerell Robinson had a breakout day against the Ducks, hauling in a team-leading seven catches for 94 yards, his first catches of the season. He established new career highs in both categories, topping his previous highs of six receptions and 68 yards. He recorded a career milestone in Corvallis against the Beavers, hauling in a 39-yard TD reception in the first quarter, the first touchdown of his career. He also led the team with his 73 yards on four receptions. He added his second career touchdown against Washington.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: The 2010 Arizona State offense has many weapons, and through the first half of the season it is showing all of them off. ASU has completed 156 passes so far, with 16 different receivers making catches. Kerry Taylor leads the team with his 28 catches for 389 yards, while Mike Willie leads the squad with his four TD grabs. Even center Garth Gerhart has gotten in on the action, making his first career reception against NAU off a deflection. 15 different people caught passes for ASU all of last season. The Sun Devils have six receivers with 10 or more receptions, after having five all of last season.

DEBUT DEVILS: 26 student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State in 2010: Brice Schwab, Aaron Pflugrad, Steven Threet, Mike Willie, Junior Onyeali, Kyle Middlebrooks, Eddie Elder, Shane McCullen, Max Smith, Chris Coyle, George Bell, Deantre Lewis, Osahon Irabor, Brandon Johnson, Alden Darby, Lee Adams, Evan Finkenberg, Matt Tucker, Aderious Simmons, J.J. Holliday, Cameron Kastl, Kody Koebensky, Jarrid Bryant, Grandville Taylor, Chris DeArmas and R.J. Robinson.

BROUSSARD HONORED: Wide receivers coach Steve Broussard was named to the Seattle Seahawks' 35th Anniversary team, making the squad as a kickoff returner. Broussard played for the Seahawks from 1995 to 1998 under Dennis Erickson, amassing 3,900 return yards with a touchdown.

FIRST STARTS: 20 Sun Devils have made their first career ASU starts during the 2010 season: Brice Schwab (RG), Aaron Pflugrad (WR), Steven Threet (QB), Mike Willie (WR), Colin Parker (LB), Jamarr Robinson (DE), Mike Marcisz (RT), Jamaar Jarrett (DE), Shelly Lyons (LB), Eddie Elder (S), Evan Finkenberg (RG), Bo Moos (DT), Oliver Aaron (LB), Deantre Lewis (RB), Aderious Simmons (RT), George Bell (WR), Max Tabach (S), Junior Onyeali (DE), Osahon Irabor (CB) and Trevor Kohl (TE). In addition, Dan Knapp made his first career start on the offensive line, lining up at left tackle. Knapp started 9 games at tight end over the past two seasons. Of those 19, three are true freshmen (Lewis, Irabor, Onyeali).

THREE AND OUT: The 2009 ASU Defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offensives into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 3.75 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 45 in their 12 contests. The D picked that right back up in 2010, forcing opponents into 26 three-and-outs over the first seven weeks, in the top 17 in the nation for average per game.

PUSH `EM BACK, PUSH `EM BACK: In 2009, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2009 with 120 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 292 yards lost for the offense. The Sun Devils were a negative play machine against Washington State on October 10, recording 26 Cougar plays to go for a loss or for no gain. The defense has continued that trend in 2010. Against Cal they forced 16 plays of negative or no gain for 40 yards in losses.

RUN, SPARKY, RUN: Last season, the Sun Devil rushing game totaled 24 runs of 10 yards or more, including two of 50 or more. Through seven games in 2010, ASU has already surpassed that total. There have been 29 runs of 10 yards or more this season, including Deantre Lewis' 53-yard touchdown run against Oregon. Cameron Marshall owned the longest run from scrimmage in 2009, going 75-yards against Washington. ASU has rushed for 12 touchdowns this season after running for 14 all of last season. Cameron Marshall has six TD runs, the same amount Dimitri Nance had last season when he led the team.

GREAT START: Quarterback Steven Threet made his first career start for ASU against Portland State, and what a debut it was. The Michigan transfer, who started eight games for the Wolverines in 2008, was 14-21 for 239 yards and two scores in just under two and a half quarters. The 239 yards was the third highest total for a Sun Devil QB making his first ASU start since 1993. Only Rudy Carpenter (401) and Sam Keller (370) threw for more, and they both played all four quarters. Threet's QB rating of 184.17 was the second highest, second only to Carpenter's 207.6. Threet's 239 yards in his first career action at ASU also set a new ASU record for most passing yards by a Sun Devil QB in his first ever game action at ASU.

CAREER NIGHT FOR THREET: Quarterback Steven Threet had a huge game against Northern Arizona, establishing new career highs in several categories. Threet threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. He also completed 33 passes to set a new career high. Against Oregon, Threet established a new high in attempts (50) and tied his career high with three touchdowns. His previous highs: 18-35 for 250 yards in Michigan's loss to Illinois on October 4, 2008. His previous career high in touchdown passes was two, which he had done three times, including the season opener against Portland State.

NO SMALL CATCH: Wide receiver Brandon Smith caught a nine yard pass from Brock Osweiler in the fourth quarter against Portland State. While it may seem insignificant at first glance, it was anything but. It was Smith's first catch since October 25, 2008, a span of 17 games between receptions. During that time, he suffered a major knee injury, was granted a medical redshirt and graduated from Arizona State. After playing in 11 games in 2006, Smith appeared in just one from 2007 to 2009.

SENIOR CLASS: ASU has just 13 seniors on its roster this year, its fewest since the 1985 squad had just 10, which was the year prior to ASU winning the Pac-10 title and the Rose Bowl. ASU's 2007 Pac-10 title team had 27 seniors, while its 1996 undefeated regular season and Pac-10 title squad had 22. The 1986 Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion team had 18. The 2010 and 1985 Sun Devils are the only ASU teams to have a dozen or fewer seniors in the past 35 seasons (1976-2010). How odd is it to only have 13 seniors? Digest this...the St. John's BASKETBALL team is scheduled to have nine this year. The 13 is the smallest senior class in the Pac-10.

RACKING UP YARDS: The Sun Devils ran for 242 yards in the season opener against Portland State, the most rushing yards since October 13, 2007 against Washington, when ASU, led by Ryan Torain, ran for 296 yards. ASU collected 210 yards on the ground against Oregon. The last time the Sun Devils rushed for over 200 yards in two games or more in a season was 2007, when they did it three times. They did it once last year (at Washington State), but did not do it in 2008.

WEBER LOOKS TO CEMENT HIS LEGACY: Kicker Thomas Weber looks to cement his legacy in the ASU record books during his senior season. Weber has been stellar throughout his Sun Devil career, connecting on 61-79 (77%) field goal attempts. He made 43 field goals during his first two seasons in Maroon and Gold, the most ever by a Sun Devil kicker over the first two years of his career. He broke the record held by Luis Zendejas, who had 40 field goals in his first two seasons. The winner of the 2007 Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation's top placekicker, a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press and a First-Team All-Pac-10 honoree, Weber was sensationally consistent during his freshman season, connecting on 24-of-25 field goals (96.0 pct.), with a long of 53 yards. A three-time Pac-10 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week in 2007, Weber set numerous Sun Devil records in only his first college season, including a record streak of 17 made field goal attempts to begin the year (also a nation-leading streak for the season) and a nation-high accuracy rating. A sharpshooter off the kicking tee and in the classroom, Weber has earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors three times, earning First Team in 2007, Second Team in 2008 and honorable mention last year. Weber has scored 301 points in his ASU career, fourth most in school history. He is second place all-time in school history for made field goals, passing Jesse Ainsworth with his 52-yarder against Portland State.

EXTRA TIME: Wide Receiver Brandon Smith was granted an extra year of eligibility for 2010 after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury. The 6-2 senior played in one game over the past three seasons, battling injuries off and on throughout his ASU career. In 2006 he played in 11 games, making six catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Omar Bolden was also granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing the majority of last season with an injury. Bolden returned the opening kickoff of the game against ULM 89 yards for a touchdown, but suffered an injury on the return and was severely limited over the next two games before shutting it down for the season.

GREAT SUCCESS: Fourth-year head coach Dennis Erickson has a career record of 170-87-1, including two National Championships, for a winning percentage of .6621over his 21 years as an FBS head coach. That's 12th among active coaches with at least 10 years experience at a school in FBS. Bob Stoops is the national leader with a .804 winning percentage in 11 years at Oklahoma.

HALL OF FAME: Pat Tillman has been selected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall's Class of 2010. Tillman now joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of Arizona State University in the College Football Hall of Fame. In all, ASU has nine former football coaches or student-athletes in the College Football Hall of Fame.

ROSTER FILES: The Sun Devil roster boasts players from 16 different states, ranging from Oregon to Florida. There are 49 Sun Devils who come from California, followed by 37 who stayed at home in Arizona. There are three from Florida, Texas, Nevada and Colorado, two from Oregon and one each from Connecticut, Utah, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New Jersey and Michigan.

QB LUNCHEON: Arizona State will be honoring all former Sun Devil quarterbacks on October 29, as the Sun Devil Club and the Alumni Association will hold their Legends Luncheon. All former ASU QBs were invited to attend, with former stars Andrew Walter, Jake Plummer, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Gen. John Goodman and Danny White scheduled to attend.

EXPERIENCE: Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 67 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the fifth most experienced coaching duo in the nation.