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Are you ready for the Black Out?

September 5, 2011

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Coming off a 48-14 season opening win over UC Davis, Arizona State welcomes the Missouri Tigers to Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium, Sept. 9. The Sun Devils will be holding a “Black Out” game, as fans are being encouraged to wear black and ASU will debut its new all black uniforms and helmets. Last week against the Aggies the Sun Devil offense put up 517 yards, led by Brock Osweiler’s 262 passing yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Aaron Pflugrad. Missouri enters the contest 1-0 after beating Miami, Ohio 17-6.

ON THE AIR: The IMG-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 Missouri game will air on 92.3 FM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM Radio. Westwood One will also broadcast the game nationally with John Tautges and Terry Donahue on the call.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: ESPN will televise the match-up between the Sun Devils and the Tigers. Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore will call the action.

SUN DEVILS VS. Tigers: Arizona State and Missouri have faced each other five times before, but not since 1990. The Tigers lead the all-time series 3-2, including a 30-9 win in Columbia on September 29, 1990. ASU is 1-1 all-time at home against Missouri, beating them 19-3 in the last match-up at Sun Devil Stadium in 1989. The Tigers and Sun Devils also met in the 1972 Fiesta Bowl, with ASU coming out on top 49-35.

COACH ERICKSON VS. MISSOURI: Dennis Erickson has faced the Missouri Tigers once before in his head coaching career, as his Miami Hurricanes traveled to Columbia to take on the Tigers on September 23, 1989. Erickson’s second-ranked Hurricanes beat the Tigers 38-7 on their way to a National Championship.

PAC-12 PREDICTIONS: Arizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the annual media poll. Oregon, who ASU will face in Eugene on October 15, has been picked to win the Pac-12 North. The winners of the two divisions will face each other in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2.

CAPTAINS: Omar Bolden, Garth Gerhart, Brock Osweiler, Colin Parker and T.J. Simpson have been named the captains of the 2011 Sun Devil football team.

UNI-WATCH: Arizona State wore their traditional uniform combo for the season opener against UC Davis (gold helmet, maroon jersey, gold pants). They will wear all black against the Tigers.

UC DAVIS RECAP: The Sun Devil offense started fast, putting together two touchdown drives in under 1:10 in the first quarter, racing to a 41-0 lead before beating UC Davis 48-14. Brock Osweiler, making his first start at Sun Devil Stadium, threw for 262 yards and two scores to lead the ASU offensive attack. On defense, ASU was as stingy as ever, holding the Aggies scoreless for the first three quarters.

DEBUT DEVILS: 21 student-athletes saw their first action at Arizona State against the Aggies: Rashad Wadood, Alex Garoutte, Anthony Jones, Kipeli Koniseti, Carl Bradford, Tyler Sulka, Kevin Ozier, Ezekiel Bishop, Josh Hubner, Jamil Douglas, Jordan McDonald, Davon Coleman, Rashad Ross, Mike Bercovici, Sil Ajawara, Kevin Ayers, Marcus Washington, Taylor Kelly, Angelo Magee, Chike Mbanefo and Gannon Conway. Wadood, Bishop and Bercovici are all true freshmen.

MORE FIRSTS: Several Sun Devils recorded milestone “firsts” in the win over UC Davis. Quarterback Brock Osweiler made his first career start at Sun Devil Stadium. His previous two career starts came at Autzen Stadium against Oregon (2009) and at Arizona Stadium against the Wildcats (2010). Quarterbacks Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly each threw their first pass completion in their first career action. Running back Marcus Washington scored his first career touchdown in his first career game. Wide receivers Chris Coyle, Jarrid Bryant, Kevin Ozier, Angelo Magee and Rashad Ross all made their first career receptions.

IT’S GOOD: Redshirt freshman placekicker Alex Garoutte has big shoes to fill in his first season as the starting kicker, replacing 2007 Lou Groza Award Winner Thomas Weber. Garoutte started his ASU career off on the right foot, going 2-2 on field goals and 6-6 on extra points. He made sure his first career field goal was a memorable one, drilling a 49-yarder just before halftime.

RUNNING FOR MILES: Jamal Miles returned his second career kickoff for a touchdown against UC Davis, bringing it back 98 yards. It was the second consecutive game in Sun Devil Stadium Miles has returned a kick for a score, as he had a 99-yarder in last season’s home finale against UCLA. Miles joins teammate Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White as the only Sun Devils in school history with two career kickoff return touchdowns. It was the sixth kickoff return for touchdown the Sun Devils have had since Dennis Erickson took over as head coach in 2007, the most under one coach in school history.

NOEL HUDDLE OFFENSE: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone always says how the Sun Devils can score in a hurry, and they did not let him down against the Aggies. Arizona State’s first two touchdown drives of the game both took under 1:10. Last season, ASU had 11 scoring drives that took under 1:10. ASU also had scoring drives of 1:17 and 1:33 against the Aggies.

DUAL THREAT: Cameron Marshall has a well deserved reputation as one of the top running backs in the Pac-12, but he proved against UC Davis that he is just as dangerous through the air. Marshall caught four passes for 86 yards against the Aggies, setting a new career high. His previous high was 45 yards last season against USC, but he topped that mark on his first reception of the year, a 47-yard pitch-and-catch on the first offensive play of the season. He also ran for two touchdowns in the opener.

THREE AND OUT: The 2010 ASU defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offenses into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 4.08 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 49 in their 12 contests. That placed them in the top 20 in the nation. In the season opener, ASU forced the Aggies into three three-and-outs.

PUSH ‘EM BACK: In 2010, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2010 with 143 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 307 yards lost for the offense. In the first game of the season against UC Davis, the Sun Devil defense totaled eight plays of negative or no gain for the Aggies, for 37 yards lost.

SEASON OPENERS: Following last week’s season opening win over UC Davis, Arizona State is now 70-27-2 (.717) all-time in season openers, including victories in the last nine. The Sun Devils have won 12 of their past 13 season openers, and hold an all-time mark of 50-15-1 (.765) when opening the season at home.

COACH ERICKSON AND SEASON OPENERS: Head Coach Dennis Erickson is now 17-6 in season opening games in career as a collegiate coach. He is 5-0 in season openers as the head coach at Arizona State. The Sun Devils have opened each of Erickson’s five seasons with home games at Sun Devil Stadium.

ANOTHER DYNAMIC DEBUT: For the second straight season, a Sun Devil was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Freshman of the Year. Junior Onyeali earned the award for 2010, after teammate Vontaze Burfict took home the award in 2009. Onyeali led the Sun Devils and all Pac-10 freshmen with 6.5 sacks for a loss of 61 yards. Of his 18 stops in 2010, 11.5 were for loss. Onyeali picked up where he left off, picking up a sack and two tackles for loss in the win over UC Davis. 

100-YARD DUO: Running backs Cameron Marshall and Deantre Lewis are no strangers to having big games on the ground. Lewis has three career 100-yard games, while Marshall has two of his own. Lewis also has two 100-yard receiving games.

CORONA CENTENNIAL CONNECTION: The 2011 Sun Devils have seven student-athletes who played at Centennial High School in Corona, California in high school. Headlining the Centennial group is the linebacking trio of Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons. Wide receiver Angelo Magee, Brandon’s brother, defensive lineman Will Sutton, quarterback Michael Eubank and wide receiver Jarrid Bryant also attended Centennial. Bryant graduated from Salisbury Prep in Connecticut, but began his high school career in Corona.

ALL-ACADEMIC: Nine members of the Sun Devils were honored as Academic All-Pac-10 selections in 2010, headlined by First Teamers Steven Threet and Dean DeLeone. It was the 12th straight season that ASU has had at least one First Team selection. Joining Threet and DeLeone were honorable mention selections Grandville Taylor, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Mike Marcisz, Aaron Pflugrad, Colin Parker and Thomas Weber. Parker also earned honorable mention in 2008, while Weber earned a selection for a fourth consecutive year. He was a First Team choice in 2007, Second Team in 2008 and honorable mention in 2009.

Scott Brown JOINS THE STAFF: Veteran coach Scott Brown joins the Sun Devil coaching staff in 2011, taking over the defensive line duties. Brown served the last three years at Colorado State where he was the defensive line coach. He joined the CSU staff from Duke, where he had spent the previous 12 seasons coaching the defensive line and special teams. Brown has coached countless players who went on to the National Football League, most recently Colorado State defensive end Tommie Hill (N.Y. Giants). Nine of those individuals played at Duke, including Chris Combs, the Steelers’ sixth-round draft choice in 2000. Combs earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in consecutive seasons while with the Blue Devils. Prior to his tenure at Duke, Brown coached four seasons on the staff at Minnesota, where he coached the defensive line and linebackers. With the Golden Gophers, he coached Craig Sauer, the Atlanta Falcons’ sixth-round selection in the 1996 NFL Draft, as well as Miami Dolphins free agent Ed Hawthorne. He also served nine years at Texas Christian University (1983-91) and three at Southwest Texas State (1980-82), coaching defensive line all 12 seasons. At Southwest Texas State (1980-83), he helped the Bobcats to consecutive Division II national championships, posting victories over North Dakota State in 1981 and UC Davis in 1982. Brown launched his coaching career with a four-year stint in various coaching roles at his alma mater, Adams State (1976-79), in Southern Colorado. As a player, Brown was a prep All-American at Del Norte (Colo.) High School, and went on to play linebacker and defensive end at Adams State.

SENIOR CLASS: The 2011 Sun Devils will feature one of the largest senior classes in the nation, as there will be 27 seniors playing in their final season. The senior class includes: Linebacker Oliver Aaron, wide receiver George Bell, offensive lineman Chris DeArmas, safety Eddie Elder, safety Clint Floyd, defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, tight end Trevor Kohl, offensive lineman Nick Emanuele, linebacker Shelly Lyons, linebacker Brandon Magee, wide receiver Angelo Magee, wide receiver Gerell Robinson, offensive lineman Brice Schwab, wide receiver Mike Willie, cornerback Omar Bolden, offensive lineman Garth Gerhart, snapper Cameron Kastl, offensive lineman Dan Knapp, offensive lineman Mike Marcisz, offensive lineman Trent Marsh, defensive lineman Bo Moos, linebacker Colin Parker, wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad, offensive lineman Aderious Simmons, wide receiver T.J. Simpson, offensive lineman Adam Tello and defensive back Austin Williams.

BROCK’S TALLER THAN YOU: Quarterback Brock Osweiler checks in at six foot eight inches tall, making him the tallest quarterback in the FBS. Osweiler is one of nine QBs 6-6 or taller in the nation.

SELECT COMPANY: Head Coach Dennis Erickson is in select company when it comes to conference Coach of the Year awards. Coach Erickson is one of only two coaches in the nation to have six Coach of the Year trophies to his name. Erickson won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1988 (Washington State), 2000 (Oregon State) and 2007 (Arizona State) and Big East Coach of the Year honors in 1991, 1992 and 1994 (all with Miami). The only other coach with six Coach of the Year awards is South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

SCHOLAR BALLERS: 21 Sun Devil football players have been named Scholar Ballers for their work in the classroom: Oliver Aaron, Sil Ajawara, Mike Bercovici, Gannon Conway, Chris Coyle, Evan Finkenberg, Alex Garoutte, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Ronald Kennedy, Jr., Kody Koebensky, Shelly Lyons, Brandon Magee, Mike Marcisz, Trent Marsh, Kyle Middlebrooks, Colin Parker, Aaron Pflugrad, Max Smith, Grandville Taylor and Austin Williams.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Four of Arizona State’s 12 regular season games have already been picked up for national television. The September 9 match-up with Missouri at Sun Devil Stadium will be televised by ESPN. The following week, September 17, ASU’s game at Illinois will be shown on the Big 10 Network. ESPN or ESPN 2 will then air the following week’s game with USC, and ESPN will show the regular season finale with California in Tempe on November 25.

HALL OF FAME: Pat Tillman entered the College Football Hall of Fame in July, the ninth Sun Devil enshrined. Tillman 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.

HOME SWEET HOME: With its win over UCLA in the home finale last season, Arizona State won its 250th regular season game at Sun Devil Stadium. Sun Devil Stadium opened in 1958. The Sun Devils also won five Fiesta Bowls at Sun Devil Stadium.

EXPERIENCE: Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 68 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the third most experienced coaching duo in the nation.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Three Sun Devil quarterbacks completed 24 passes against the Aggies, finding 12 different receivers. Last season, three ASU QBs combined to throw completions to 16 different receivers.

ASU HALL OF FAME: Two former Sun Devil football student-athletes are members of the 2011 ASU Hall of Fame class. Adam Archuleta, who played linebacker from 1997 to 2000, and Marvel Smith, an offensive lineman from 1997 to 1999, will both be inducted at halftime of the Oregon State game on October 1. Archuleta spent seven seasons in the NFL while Smith played nine seasons.

NO RANKING? NO PROBLEM: ASU just missed being ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll announced on Aug. 20. The last three times ASU finished in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll, it was not ranked in the preseason. ASU finished 14th in 1997 (9-3 with Sun Bowl win over Iowa under Bruce Snyder), 19th in 2004 (9-3 with Sun Bowl win over Purdue under Dirk Koetter) and 16th in 2007 (10-3 with Holiday Bowl loss to Texas under 2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Dennis Erickson).

HEALING UP: Despite suffering severe knee injuries during spring practice, both Omar Bolden and T.J. Simpson have played huge roles for the Sun Devils as they prepare for the 2011 season. Bolden has been mentoring the cornerbacks, imparting wisdom gained from his stellar career at ASU. On the other side of the ball, Simpson has been helping the wide receivers by sharing his knowledge from his time on the field. Both Bolden and Simpson continue to rehab their injuries.

ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS: After suffering a concussion during the UCLA game last season, quarterback Steven Threet was forced to end his playing days. However, Threet did not end his association with the Sun Devil football program. Threet is spending this season as a student coach as he works towards finishing his degree. He has worked closely with Brock Osweiler, Mike Bercovici, Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank as well as Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone.

DID YOU KNOW: College Football Hall of Fame coach Dan Devine coached at both Arizona State and Missouri. Devine coached the Sun Devils from 1955 to 1957, compiling a 27-3-1 record. He left ASU for Missouri in 1958, handing the program to an assistant coach by the name of Frank Kush. Devine went 93-37-7 with the Tigers from 1958 to 1970, including five years as the school’s Athletic Director. He went on to coach the Green Bay Packers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, winning the 1977 National Championship with Notre Dame.

UP NEXT: Arizona State will hit the road for the first time in 2011, traveling to Champaign, Illinois for a match-up with the Illinois Fighting Illini.