September 04, 2012

Sun Devils to take on fighting Illini

Posted: September 04, 2012
ASU will take on Illinois at Sun Devil Stadium with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m., PST on ESPN.
Photo by: Chakris Kussalanant

The Arizona State Sun Devils will host the University of Illinois Fighting Illini at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8. The meeting will mark just the third time these two teams have played and is the second in the Todd Graham era as head coach at ASU. ASU is 562-356-24 (.609) all-time on the gridiron.

ON THE AIR: The MidFirst Bank Sun Devil-IMG 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 with Doug Franz reporting from the sidelines. This week's game will be broadcast on KTAR 92.3 FM.  Weekly radio coverage begins two hours prior to kickoff with the "Talking Stick Resort Sun Devil Tailgate Show," hosted by Doug Franz.  The game will also be broadcast live on national radio on Dial Global Sports.  John Tautges and Terry Donahue will provide the call

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: This week's matchup will be broadcast on ESPN.  Mark Jones will provide the play-by-play with Brock Huard serving as the game analyst. Jessica Mendoza will provide the sideline reports.  This is the first of five games currently schedule to be broadcast on the ESPN Networks for Arizona State.  Next week's tilt against Missouri is slated for ESPN2 while ASU's games against Colorado (Oct. 11), Oregon (Oct. 18) and Arizona (Nov. 23) are all slated for ESPN broadcasts as well.

SUN DEVILS vs. FIGHTING ILLINI: Arizona State and Illinois have played each other three previous times, with the Sun Devils going 2-1 in those meetings. ASU opened the 1987 season in Champaign by beating Illinois 21-7. The Illini traveled to Tempe in 1988, falling 21-16 to the Sun Devils in Larry Marmie's first game as ASU head coach.  Last season, Arizona State dropped a defensive decision in Champaign, 17-14.

ASU vs. THE BIG TEN: Arizona State is 15-14 all-time against current Big Ten teams. ASU is 3-10 in Big Ten stadiums, including last season's loss at Illinois. ASU has faced every team in the conference except Indiana. The Sun Devils have faced Big Ten opponents six times in bowl games, going 4-2. Seven of the 29 games that ASU has played against Big Ten teams were against Nebraska, which is in its second season in the conference. 

RECAP - ARIZONA STATE VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA: Arizona State scored on its first two drives of the game and Brandon Magee took his second career interception 45 yards to the house early in the second quarter as the Sun Devils jumped on the Lumberjacks from the get-go and never looked back en route to a 63-6 rout over the Lumberjacks.  Redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly made his first career start, putting together an exceptional performance as he was went 15-of-19 for 247 yards and a touchdown while the Sun Devils racked up 305 yards on the ground.  Six players accounted their first career touchdowns on the evening while 25 players made their Sun Devil football debuts.  The defense was stingy throughout the game, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Lumberjacks to just 237 total yards of offense.   

OTHER NOTES FROM NAU:

• ASU's 30 penalty yards vs. NAU on Aug. 30 was the fewest since it had just 27 vs. Arizona on Dec. 1, 2007, a span of the past 51 games.

• ASU's 305 rushing yards vs. Northern Arizona on Aug. 30 was the most since it had 314 vs. Oregon State on Oct. 20, 2001 (most rushing yards in past 118 games). It is the second most rushing yards in the past 14 seasons (1998-present). ASU has had just five better rushing games in the past 16 seasons (1996-present).

• ASU's 63 points is most in any tilt since a season opening 63-16 win over Temple on Sept. 1, 2005 (most in 86 games).

• ASU played 71 offensive snaps from the line of scrimage. The Sun Devils have set a target of 80 snaps per game.

FIRST IMPRESSION WAS GOOD:  ASU's 63 points vs. NAU in the Todd Graham debut is the most by a Sun Devil coach in his opener, topping the 47 scored by Frank Kush's squad in 1958 over Hawaii. Not all openers were great for eventual great coaches though, as ASU's 1996 National Coach of the Year Bruce Snyder scored seven in his first game in a 31-7 loss to second-ranked Washington on Sept. 5, 1992. 

Most Points in ASU Coaching Debut

PTS      Coach                                             Year (Result)

63         Todd Graham vs. NAU                  2012 (W)
47         Frank Kush vs. Hawaii                    1958 (W)
45         Dennis Erickson vs. San Jose St.   2007 (W)
39         Ted Shipkey vs. Gila JC                  1930 (W)
38         Dirk Koetter vs. San Diego St.         2001 (W)
33         Ed Doherty vs. Cal-Poly                  1947 (W)
33         Larry Siemering vs. Utah State       1951 (W) 

INFO-GRAHAm: So you want to know more about what Todd Graham brings to the program? Here's a couple more stats and tidbits about the ASU head coach to give you an idea.  Special thanks Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic for all this information : 

• Over his past four seasons – one at Pittsburgh and three at Tulsa – Graham's teams have rushed the ball on at least 53.4 percent of their total plays. In 2008, Tulsa rushed on 61.4 percent of its total plays. Last year, ASU rushed 44.5 percent of the time.

• Over the past six seasons at Pitt, Tulsa and Rice, only one Graham-coached team has ranked outside the top 50 nationally in sacks. Last year, Pittsburgh averaged 3.31 sacks, which ranked third nationally.

• In six seasons, Graham is 19-17 in true road games. Over the past four, ASU is 5-16.

• In five of the past six years, Graham's teams have ranked 39th or better nationally in fewest penalty yards per game. In 2008, Tulsa averaged just 37 penalty yards, which ranked 11th in the nation. Last season, Pitt averaged 39.5, which ranked 18th.

Follow Doug Haller on Twitter: @DougHaller 

WASTING NO TIME:  Jaxon Hood and DJ Foster joined John Jefferson (1974), Terrell Suggs (2000), Zach Miller (2004) and Will Sutton (2009) as true freshmen to start season opener at ASU on offense or defense. The NCAA began allowing freshman to compete in 1972, with the 2012 season marking the 40 year anniversery.  In total, 25 Sun Devils saw their first Division I action and seven true freshmen played (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza, Easton Wahlstrom and Richard Smith in addition to Foster and Hood). 

EARN YOUR KEEP:  ASU had six players score their first touchdown: Taylor Kelly (pass), D.J. Foster (rush), Brandon Magee (INT return), Marion Grice (rush), Michael Eubank (rush) and Richard Smith (reception). Brandon Magee put his name on the top of that list with a 45-yard interception return for a pick-six.

MARSHALL OF THE TOUCHDOWN: With two touchdowns against NAU, Cameron Marshall has rushed for 31 touchdowns in his career with Arizona State. He is one of only 11 Sun Devils all time to score at least 20 touchdowns on the ground and just the fourth to eclipse 30 career rushing touchdowns.  Marhsall currently sits fourth on ASU's all-time rushing TD list behind Woody Green (39), Leon Burton (34) and J.R. Redmond (32)

Most Career Rushing TDs in ASU History

TDs Player, Years
39 Woody Green, 1971-73
34 Leon Burton, 1955-58
32 J.R. Redmond, 1996-99
29 Cameron Marshall, 2009-Present
28 Art Malone, 1967-69
25 Ben Malone, 1971-73
23 Nolan Jones, 1958-61

AMONG THE NCAA'S BEST: With his 18 rushing touchdowns in 2011, Marshall returns in 2012 as the nation's fourth-leading returning rushing scorer among NCAA Division I-A student-athletes.  Only Wisconsin's Heisman Trophy finalist Monte Ball (33), KSU quarterback Collin Klein (27) and Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle (24) return having found pay dirt on the ground more than Marshall last season.  In addition, Marshall's 29 career rushing touchdowns rank him fifth among active Division I-A student-athletes returning in 2012 that played in 2011.  In that category only Ball (55), Klein (33), SMU running back Zach Line (34) and Michigan QB Denard Robinson (35) have more.

TOP RETURNING NCAA DIVISION I-A RUSHING SCORERS (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)

Name, School 2011-Career
Montee Ball, Wisc., 33-55
Collin Klein, KSU, 27-33
Joseph Randle, OSU, 24-26
Cameron Marshall, ASU, 18-29
Zach Line, SMU, 17-34
Denard Robinson, Mich., 16-35

OH, HE CAN CATCH ALSO: If you've gotten tired of Cameron Marshall's resume on the ground, he has pretty good hands also.  Research done by University of Virginia Assistant Athletics Media Relations Director Vincent Briedis shows that Marshall returns with the fifth-highest career receptions among active running backs at an FBS institution with 55  Marshall had two against NAU for 28 yards. 

MOST CAREER RECEPTIONS AMONGST RETURNING FBS RUNNING BACKS

Name, School, YEAR, CAREER REC
Charles Sims, Houston, JR, 121
Perry Jones, Virginia, SR, 80
Joseph Randle, OK State, JR, 80
James Washington, NC State, SR, 72
Cameron Marshall, ASU SR, 55
Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas, JR, 52
Trey Watts, Tulsa, JR, 51
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska, SR, 49

100 YARDS ON THE GROUND: Arizona State is 4-2 when Cameron Marshall runs for at least 100 yards. He did it two years ago against Portland State (W) and UCLA (W) and last season against USC (W), Colorado (W), UCLA (L) and California (L). ASU is now 255-54-5 all-time when it has a 100-yard rusher.

STRIKE FIRST...STRIKE FAST: Arizona State scored on eight total drives and on six of its first seven possesions against NAU.  The longest drive of the day actually came when ASU was running clock out in the fourth and lasted a grand total of 3:44. The shortest scoring drive took place 31 seconds.  The average ASU drive, scoring or otherwise, took about 2:16 off the clock. 

TAYLOR GANG: For the fourth time in as many years, the Sun Devil season opener featured a new quarterback under center.  Redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly made his first career start against NAU and followed Danny Sullivan (2009), Steven Threet (2010) and Brock Osweiler (2011) as the fourth different quarterback to start on opening day since Rudy Carpenter started three straight from 2006-08.  Sullivan and Threet were making their first career starts period, while Osweiler had made a start later in the season in 2009 and 2010.  Since 1997, ASU quarterbacks making their first career start are 9-5. 

According to research done by Jack Duggan at the University of Southern Mississippi, Arizona State is one of just 13 FBS schools that returned no quarterback with a start for the 2012 season.  That list included: Akron, Arizona State, Boise State, East Carolina, Hawai'i, LSU, Memphis, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Stanford and Texas A&M.

ASU QB FIRST CAREER STARTS SINCE 1997                                                                              

Taylor Kelly           2012/N. Arizona/W, 63-6               15/19, 247 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Steven Threet         2010/Portland State, W, 54-9         14/21, 339 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brock Osweiler*      2009/Oregon, L, 44-21                   5/10, 14 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Samson Szakacsy  2009/UCLA, L, 23-13                     15/22, 97 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Danny Sullivan        2009/Idaho State, W, 50-3             13/25, 165 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rudy Carpenter      2005/Washington, W, 44-20           27/34, 401 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Sam Keller              2004/Purdue, W, 27-23                  25/45, 370 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Chad Christensen   2002/Nebraska, L, 48-10               6/16, 77 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Andrew Walter        2001/Arizona, L, 34-21                  10/22, 132 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Jeff Krohn               2000/San Diego St., W, 10-7         18/42, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Griffin Goodman     1999/Wake Forest, L, 23-3            10/16, 142 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Chad Elliott**          1998/Stanford, W, 44-38 OT          8/17, 92 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Steve Campbell      1997/Iowa, W, 17-7                        5/11, 109 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Ryan Kealy             1997/New Mexico St., W, 41-10    11/19, 107 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

* Osweiler left the game early due to injury

** Elliott left the game early and Ryan Kealy led the team to the overtime victory 

RUNNING FOR MILES: Jamal Miles returned his third career kickoff for a touchdown and second last season against Washington State, bringing it back 95 yards for the score. The two kickoff return touchdowns last year tied Miles with Terry Battle (1996) for most kickoff return touchdowns by a Sun Devil in a single season. The kickoff return TD against Washington State made Miles ASU's all-time leader in that category, moving him past Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White who all had two in their careers. The 78-yard punt return by Miles against Oregon State in 2011 was the first punt returned for a touchdown by a Sun Devil since 2005. On November 25, 2005, Terry Richardson returned an Arizona punt 71-yards for the score. It took 68 games before Miles did the same thing against the Beavers.

RETURN RECORD: Over his three seasons in Tempe, Miles has returned 64 kickoffs for 1,517 yards and three touchdowns. The 1,517 yards ties Rudy Burgess for the most career kickoff return yards in school history. Miles totaled 788 of those yards last season, the second highest single-season total in ASU history. Miles' total is second only to the 879 yards that Burgess gained in 2007. Miles has 64 career kick returns, giving him an average of 23.7 yards per return. Burgess had 68 returns, with an average of 22.3 yards per return. Miles has three kick return TDs, while Burgess had one.

WELCOME BACK, BRANDON: Linebacker Brandon Magee's return to the gridiron was a memorable one as the senior logged 1.5 tackles, but his night was marked by a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown for the first pick-six of his career.  Magee missed the entire 2011 season with an Achilles injury. 

SENIOR LEADERSHIP: The 2012 Sun Devil roster features 17 seniors at the time of publication, many of which who will play pivotal roles as the season goes on.  Senior RB Cameron Marshall, OL Andrew Sampson, LB Brandon Magee and S Keelan Johnson have been named captains for the 2012 season. 

JUST KICKING IT: Redshirt freshman kicker Alex Garoutte turned in a solid season in his first year as the kicker. Garoutte finished the year with 108 points, tops on the team. He finished the 2011 season 52-53 on PATs, with his only miss a block and closed out the year with 45 straight extra points. Garoutte bumped that streak to 54 against the Lumberjacks, going a perfect 9-for-9 on extra points 

PIN `EM DEEP: Redshirt senior punter Josh Hubner was among the best punters in the nation when it came to pinning opponents down the field, finishing the year tied for 17th in the nation with 24 punts inside the 20.  He's back at it again in 2012 after posting two punts inside the 20 against NAU on three kicks, averaging 45.3 yards per punt.  Quarterback Taylor Kelly also showed off his talents in the category, pooch kicking a ball late in the second quarter 32 yards to pin the Lumberjacks inside their 20 as well.

IF YOU GOT IT, FLAUNT IT: The Sun Devils played six true freshmen in their season opener against NAU (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza and Richard Smith, D.J. Foster and Jaxon Hood).  The school record for true freshmen playing in season is 10, set back in 2008. 

ARIZONA STATE vs. THE BIG TEN SUPERLATIVES: The Sun Devils will look to continue a pretty good streak vs. Big Ten teams at Sun Devil Stadium this weekend. Actually a streak that can't be any better. ASU is 7-0 vs. Big Ten teams in Tempe, including big wins in its past two games against Northwestern (52-21 on Sept. 17, 2005) and then No. 16 Iowa (44-7 on Sept. 18, 2004). This list doesn't include one of the biggest wins in school history against a current team in the Big Ten, as Nebraska didn't score a point on Sept. 21, 1996 when they were ranked No. 1. ASU has outscored its past two Big Ten opponents on Frank Kush Field 96-28, and in the seven games ASU has outscored its Big Ten 275-97 (39.3 to 13.8 per game).

SUN DEVILS VS. THE BIG TEN AT SUN DEVIL STADIUM (7-0)                                                                             

ASU 52, Northwestern 21 (Sept. 17, 2005)
ASU 44, No. 16 Iowa 7 (Sept. 18, 2004)
ASU 21, Illinois 16 (Sept. 10, 1988)
ASU 20, Michigan State 17 (Sept. 13, 1988)
ASU 35, Northwestern 3 (Sept. 17, 1977)
ASU 48, Minnesota 26 (Sept. 20, 1969)
ASU 55, Wisconsin 7 (Sept. 21, 1968)

EMERSON HARVEY: Arizona State University football will commemorate a milestone this season by honoring Emerson Harvey, the school's first African-American football student-athlete 75 years ago and played a major role in breaking the color barrier throughout the Southwest. The Sun Devils will recognize Harvey, who joined the roster in 1937, with black-and-white circular helmet stickers with Harvey's jersey number (57).