Football heads to Eugene for meeting with Oregon
Coming off a 35-14 win over Utah in Salt Lake City, the #18 Sun Devils will travel to Eugene, Ore. for a Pac-12 match-up with the No. 9 Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium, Oct. 15. Arizona State scored the final 25 points of the game against the Utes, helped by Brock Osweiler's 325 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Ducks enter the tilt with a 4-1 mark, including a 2-0 record in Pac-12 play. They beat Cal 43-15 last Thursday night at Autzen Stadium.
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 Oregon game will air on 620 AM. The game is also being broadcast nationally on Sports USA Radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: ESPN will televise the match-up between the Sun Devils and the Ducks. Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit will call the action with Erin Andrews on the sidelines. The game will also air on ESPN 3D.
SUN DEVILS VS. DUCKS: Arizona State leads the all-time series with Oregon 16-15 in a series that dates back to the first meeting in 1966. The Ducks have won the previous six meetings, including the last two at Autzen Stadium. ASU and Oregon are tied at eight wins apiece in Eugene. Arizona State's last win over the Ducks game in 2004, a 28-13 win in Eugene.
COACH ERICKSON VS. OREGON: Dennis Erickson is 2-8 all-time against the Ducks, including an 0-4 mark against them as the Arizona State head coach. His first game against Oregon was in 1987 when he was the head coach at Washington State. His Cougars fell 31-17 in Pullman. Coach Erickson is 0-4 at Autzen Stadium in his career.
RETURN TO THE SCENE: Brock Osweiler returns to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, the site of his first career start back on November 14, 2009. That night Osweiler, filling in for an injured Danny Sullivan, became the first true freshman to start for the Sun Devils since Jake Plummer in 1993. Osweiler went 5-10 for 15 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with an injury.
ESPN'S COLLEGE GAMEDAY IN EUGENE: ESPN College GameDay will broadcast live from Eugene, Oregon this weekend in anticipation of the Arizona State/Oregon game. This will mark the third time in school history GameDay has come for a Sun Devil game. USC/ASU from Tempe in 2005 was Arizona State's first appearance on GameDay, and again in 2007 in Eugene for the Ducks and Sun Devils.
BIG ROAD WIN: ASU's 21-point victory at Utah was the largest margin of victory in a conference road game since a 38-point win at Stanford in 2007 (41-3). To get a bigger margin than 21-points prior to the Stanford game, you have to go back to the 1996 season when ASU won at Tucson 56-14 on Nov. 23, 1996. ASU also won by 21 at Washington (28-7) on Oct. 16, 1999.
UTAH RECAP: Both teams started slowly on offense, as they went into the locker room at halftime with ASU up 10-7. But after Utah scored a touchdown to take a 14-10 lead with 10:32 to go in the third, the Arizona State offense exploded, scoring 25 unanswered points on its way to a 35-14 victory. The defense did their part, forcing five Ute turnovers, including three interceptions. Brock Osweiler threw for 325 yards and three scores, two to Mike Willie as ASU beat the Utes and moved to 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
IN THE POLLS: Arizona State checks in at #18 in this week's Associated Press Poll, up from #22 a week ago. The Sun Devils are also ranked #22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, up from #24 last week. This season marked ASU's first appearance in the AP Poll since a #15 ranking on September 7, 2008.
MR. TOUCHDOWN: Junior wide receiver Jamal Miles has become a touchdown machine in 2011. Miles returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the season opener against UC Davis, threw a TD pass against Missouri and has caught four touchdown passes this year. Against Oregon State, Miles added another notch to his TD belt, returning a punt 78-yards for a score. Miles is the only player in the nation to have scored a touchdown on a reception, kickoff return and punt return as well as throw a TD pass. Miles is a major reason why both the kick return and punt return teams lead the Pac-12. Only ASU and Oregon have returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season. Arizona State is ranked 8th nationally in punt return average (17.8 ypg), while Miles is tied for second nationally in that category (19.3). Miles TD pass was the first of his career on his second career attempt. He also set a new career-high with his nine receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown against USC.
MORE ON MILES: The 78-yard punt return by Jamal Miles 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.
BALLHAWKING: After forcing only one turnover in the first two games, the Sun Devil defense has dialed up the takeaways. Over the last four contests, Arizona State has forced 17 turnovers, including five in each of the last two games. After picking off four Oregon State passes, ASU intercepted Utah three times, giving the Sun Devils 10 interceptions in six games. Arizona State has 10 interceptions all of last year. The Sun Devils have forced 18 total turnovers this year after forcing 17 last season. The +8 turnover ratio leads the Pac-12.
THIRD DOWN SHUT DOWN: Arizona State has been a dominant team on third down defense, leading the Pac-12 in third down conversion percentage. Opponents have converted on third down only 25% of the time (20-80), including limiting Utah to 4-13.
BIG GAME FOR G-ROB: Senior wide receiver Gerell Robinson had a big game at Utah, making seven catches for 101 yards. Six of his seven catches picked up a first down for the Sun Devils, and the one catch that was not a first went for a nine-yard gain on third and 12, setting up a fourth down conversion for the ASU offense. It was Robinson's first career 100-yard receiving day. His previous career high in yards was 94, set last season against Oregon.
INTERCEPTION DARBY: After intercepting the first two passes of his career last week against Oregon State, Alden Darby showed a nose for the ball again against Utah. Wearing pink gloves and cleats to honor his late aunt who passed away from breast cancer, Darby was forced into duty at cornerback in the second quarter after an injury to Osahon Irabor. Utah went right after him on his first play and Darby made them pay, intercepting the pass for his third interception of the year.
BROCKTOBERFEST: Junior signal caller Brock Osweiler threw for 325 yards and three scores against Utah, his third career 100-yard game. It was also his third career game with at least three touchdown passes. Osweiler is now 6-2 as the Sun Devil starter, with six of those starts coming this season. He also had a 25-yard run against the Utes, the longest run of his career.
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 had 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.
MARSHALL, MARSHALL, MARSHALL: Junior running back Cameron Marshall, despite playing on a badly sprained ankle suffered at Illinois, has been putting together a terrific season. Marshall has run for 421 yards this season, including a team-leading eight touchdowns. Against Utah, he passed the 1,500-yard mark for his career and has now scored 19 career touchdowns on the ground. That ties him for 11th all-time in school history with Dimitri Nance (2006-09) and Freddie Williams (1973-76). Woody Green is the school's all-time rushing touchdown leader, scoring 39 times on the ground from 1971 to 1973. Marshall is also a receiving threat out of the backfield. Against UC Davis he caught four passes for a career-high 86 yards, including a 47-yard reception.
DEBUT DEVILS: 22 student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State this season: 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, Joita Te'i and Gannon Conway. Wadood, Bishop and Bercovici are all true freshmen.
PAC-12 PREDICTIONS: Arizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the annual media poll. Oregon 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.
NOEL HUDDLE OFFENSE: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone always says how the Sun Devils can score in a hurry, and they have not let him down this season. Arizona State's first two touchdown drives against UC Davis both took under 1:10. Last season, ASU had 11 scoring drives that took under 1:10. Against Missouri, ASU had an eight second scoring drive and in the Oregon State game the offense scored on a :44 second drive. At Utah, ASU had a 1:03 scoring drive.
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. So far in 2011, ASU has forced opponents into 16 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. Against Utah, the Sun Devil defense totaled 12 plays of negative or no gain for the Utes for 29 yards lost.
SENIOR CLASS: The 2011 Sun Devils will feature one of the largest senior classes in the nation, as there will be 26 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, offensive lineman Adam Tello and wide receiver T.J. Simpson.
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.
TRUE FRESHMEN UNDER ERICKSON: Since Dennis Erickson took over in 2007, 27 true freshmen have played for the Sun Devils. This season, three (Mike Bercovici, Ezekiel Bishop, Rashad Wadood) have played. ASU saw a school record 10 play during the 2008 season.
SCHOLAR BALLERS: 22 Sun Devil football players have been named Scholar Ballers for their work in the classroom: Oliver Aaron, Sil Ajawara, Derrall Anderson, 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.
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 have completed 148 passes this season, finding 14 different receivers. Last season, three ASU QBs combined to throw completions to 16 different receivers.
ASU HALL OF FAME: Against Oregon State, former Sun Devil football greats Adam Archuleta and Marvel Smith entered the Arizona State Athletic Hall of Fame. Archuleta played at ASU from 1996 to 2000 before going on to an eight-year NFL career. Smith donned the Maroon and Gold from 1996 to 1999 before playing 10 seasons in the NFL and winning two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
UNI-WATCH: Arizona State wore their traditional uniform combo for the season opener against UC Davis (gold helmet, maroon jersey, gold pants). They wore all black against Missouri and all white for the first road game at Illinois. Against USC they wore all maroon and against Oregon State they wore white helmets, maroon jerseys and white pants. At Utah they wore gold helmets, white jerseys and gold pants.
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 during 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.
DID YOU KNOW: Arizona State alumnus and PGA golfer Phil Mickelson has attended four of the six Arizona State football games this season, including last week's win in Salt Lake City.
UP NEXT: Arizona State will enjoy its by weekend next week. The Sun Devils will return to action on October 29, when they host Colorado on Homecoming.