Jan. 28, 2013
TEMPE -- The Arizona State University Sun Devils finished up the 2012 season with a 62-28 rout over the Navy Midshipmen in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Arizona State made its 26th bowl appearance and its second in the past two seasons in taking part in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It was the Sun Devils first appearance in the bowl game. ASU now holds an all-time mark of 13-12-1 in bowl games, dating back to its first bowl appearance in 1940, a scoreless tie with Catholic University in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils finished the season with an 8-5 record (5-4 Pac-12) under first-year head coach Todd Graham. ASU is now 569-362-24 (.608) on the gridiron in its history.
NOTABLE NUMBERS: A couple season statistics for your viewing pleasure:
--At 8-5, the Sun Devils posted their first winning season in the regular season since going 10-2 in 2007
---ASU has the longest winning streak (3-0) to end the season in the Pac-12, second only to Stanford (8-0)
-ASU ended the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1978 and just the 14th time in school history (1957, ‘58, ‘59, ‘65, ‘66, ‘67, ‘68, ‘70, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, ‘75, `78).
-ASU beat Arizona and won a bowl game for the first time since 2005 and just the eighth time in school history (1970, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, ‘75, ‘78, ‘05, ‘12).
-Arizona State was one of just four Pac-12 teams to win at least three conference road games this year with its 3-2 mark, doing so for just the fifth time in the program’s Pac-10/12 history. Oregon, Stanford and UCLA also won at least three league road games.
--Marion Grice found the end zone 19 times this year, tying him for third on ASU’s all-time single-season touchdown list with Woody Green (1972) behind just Wilford White (22/1950) and Terry Battle (20/1996). His 114 points on the year tie him for fifth on ASU’s all-time single season scoring list behind White, Battle and placekickers Thomas Weber and Mike Barth
--ASU tight end Chris Coyle set the school record for single season tight end receptions with 57, one more than Zach Miller had in 2004. With five touchdown receptions, Coyle finished tied for third with four others in single season TD receptions for a tight end. Miller and Joe Petty hold the school record with six
--ASU finished the year tied for tenth in fewest penalties per game at 4.23 and eighth in fewest penalty yards per game at 34.92. The Sun Devils finish dead last (120th) in the FBS in both categories last season
--Quarterback Taylor Kelly’s 67.1 completion percentage this season (241-for-359) is a school record (300+ passes). He passed Brock Osweiler, who set the record last season at 61.8. Kelly finished tied for second with 29 single season touchdown passes with Mike Pagel (1981). He finished one behind Andrew Walter, who holds the record with 30 (2004)
--Defensive lineman Will Sutton became ASU’s sixth winner of the Morris Trophy and the 18th consensus All-American and first since 2007. Sutton also became the fifth player to win the Pac-10/12 conference Defensive Player of the Year award
---Running back Cameron Marshall finished his career in sole possession of seventh place on ASU’s all-time rushing list with 2,700 yards. Marshall also moved into sole possession of fourth place on the school’s all-time rushing attempts list with 580
--Of the 14 times in NCAA FBS bowl history that a team has scored 60-plus points in bowl games, ASU head coach Todd Graham has been responsible for three of them. He is the only coach in history to record 60-plus points in a bowl game multiple times as he did it twice with Tulsa and with ASU this past season.
LAST TIME OUT: The Arizona State University football team put it in the left lane with the hammer down early and often on Saturday as the team routed Navy, 62-28, to win the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. A 34-7 halftime lead set the tone for a dominating third quarter that saw ASU score four touchdowns to blow the game open even further - three of which coming in 55 seconds or less as the team set a new school record for points scored in a bowl game. The 28 points was the most scored in a quarter in ASU bowl history. The Sun Devils finished with 648 yards of total offense - over 50 more than the team’s previous highest total this season of 593 yards against Colorado and among the top-10 highest-grossing offensive games in school history and the most since putting up a school record 773 yards against Northwestern in 2005. At 9.6 yards per play today, the Sun Devils with just shy of the NCAA Division I bowl record of 9.9, set in the 2011 Orange Bowl by Stanford. Marion Grice had 159 yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns and finished his season with 19 touchdowns - the third highest single-season scoring tally in school history. The performance garnered him the Offensive MVP honor for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
BOWL GAME NOTES:
-The Sun Devils broke 20 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl records
-The 62 points scored by the Sun Devils are the most in Kraft Bowl history. The previous record was 44 set by Florida State in 2006.
-The 21 points scored in the first quarter by the Sun Devils is tied for the most in Kraft Bowl history with Boston College in 2003.
-ASU broke or tied seven Pac-12 bowl game records in the contest and moved into second place in four other categories
-With 36 first downs, the Sun Devils tied the previous NCAA Division I Bowl Record with two other teams (Oklahoma in the 1991 Gator Bowl in a 48-14 victory over Virginia and Marshall in the 2001 GMAC Bowl in a 64-61 double OT victory over East Carolina). The number sits second in NCAA history after Nevada posted the new NCAA Division I Bowl Record in the New Mexico Bowl with 39 against Arizona to open the 2012 bowl season.
-ASU’s 380 rushing yards vs. Navy was the most since 405 vs. Oregon on Nov. 15, 1997...
-The 648 yards of total offense most since 679 vs. Rutgers in Insight Bowl on Dec. 27, 2005...
-ASU’s 37 passing yards fewest given up since 33 at Nebraska on Aug. 24, 2002
GOLD RUSH: ASU finished the season averaging 205.5 yards per game on the ground, which is the second-best mark in the past 25 seasons (since 1988). Only the 234.1 yards per game put up by the 1996 Sun Devils are better. ASU moved ahead of the 200.0 yards per game in 1997 following a dominating effort at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. ASU’s 380 rushing yards against Navy were the most since posting 405 against Oregon in 1997.
STRIKE FIRST...STRIKE FAST: ASU made a habit of scoring first this season, doing so 11 times in 13 games. ASU finished 7-4 in such contests following the win against Navy. The Sun Devils scored on five consecutive possessions against Utah to start the game and put it away early. Arizona State scored on six of its first seven possessions against NAU, four of its first five against Illinois and three of its first four against WSU for similar results. The Sun Devil scored on their first nine possessions in the rout against Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. ASU did itself favors early in games this year, outscoring opponents 145-69 in the first frame and was 7-0 when shutting out the opposition in the first, doing so against NAU, Illinois, Utah, Cal, Colorado, WSU and Navy. In addition, ASU made a habit of taking little time to score on the year. The Sun Devils didn’t have a scoring drive longer than three minutes in routs over the Fighting Illini, Cougars and Midshipmen (23 total drives), their longest lasting 2:59. The quick-hitting offense has been the staple of this year’s team, with 58 of ASU’s 75 offensive scoring drives this season coming in three minutes or less.
PUSH ‘EM BACK: ASU prided itself on its aggressive defense through this season, forcing 117 tackles for a loss of 497 total yards - a 9.00 TFL per game mark that led the nation. To put that in perspective, the entire ASU team only had 76 total tackles for loss during the 2011 season and no student-athlete logged double digits in the category where this year’s team had five that accomplished the feat (Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Davon Coleman, Chris Young). Not only did ASU get into the backfield, but it was a team effort as 20 different players logged a TFL through the year. As a whole, ASU had a combined 155 defensive plays that went for a loss or no gain out of 953 offensive plays the opposition ran. That equates to an impressive 16.3 percent of the plays run by opponents this year not advancing beyond the line of scrimmage. If you tack on incomplete passes to the mix, then ASU has forced 341 plays that did not result in positive yardage (35.8 percent of opponent’s plays from scrimmage).
AN IMPRESSIVE YEAR: On the topic of tackles for loss, the Sun Devils set some serious marks this season. The team’s 117 tackles for loss were right in the mix of some of the great defenses of the last 15 years. In that span, Pat Tillman, Jeremy Staat and friends, who posted 117 tackles for loss in 1998 also adding 111 in 1996 and 1997 and 102 in 1999. Those marks rank as the highest in school history. Five players on this year’s team posted double-digit TFL numbers. Only the 2000 squad (97 total TFL) had five players in double digits in school history. To put that number in perspective, no player on the 2011 Sun Devil roster tallied more than eight tackles for loss on the season.
SACK LUNCH: While those years of Archuleta and Friends had some impressive TFL numbers, they pale in comparison to the sack count ASU put up this season. The Sun Devils had 52 sacks this season, a mark that trails only the 1978 Sun Devils, who had 64, and ties with the 2002 ASU team that also had 52. At 4.00 sacks per game, the Sun Devils finished just behind Stanford (4.07) for second in the nation. ASU had two Sun Devils with over 10 sacks this year (Will Sutton) - a feat that had not been achieved since the 1994 season.
A SUTTON IMPACT: Perhaps no player on ASU’s roster has earned as much praise from Todd Graham as junior defensive tackle Thomas Weber in 2007 and the first defensive player since Terrell Suggs in 2002. Sutton had at least one tackle for loss in every game he played this season. Sutton posted 23.5 tackles for loss on the season (led team and fourth-most in ASU history), 13.0 sacks (led team and fourth in ASU history) and 63 total tackles (seventh on team). Sutton is finished the season ranked second in the nation at 1.92 TFL per game and third in the nation with 1.08 sacks per game and also led the Pac-12 in both. His 102 yards lost on sacks this year, including 23 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (where he was named the Defensive MVP after posting 3.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks ), place him fourth on the school’s single season yards on sacks list.
DON’T FORGET BRADFORD: When you have arguably one of the top defensive players in school history on your line, it can become quite easy for the exceptional play of some others to go unnoticed. One need look no further than Carl Bradford, who quietly put up numbers that rivaled Sutton all season long. Playing out of the Devilbacker position, Bradford finished the year with 81 tackles (fourth on team), 20.5 tackles for loss (second on team and 10th-most in school history) and 11.5 sacks. His three forced fumbles tied Sutton for most on the team and his two fumble recoveries tied Davon Coleman and Chris Young - helped the defense post five double-digit tackle for loss earners in the same season for just the second time in school history. His 1.58 tackles for loss per game was good for 11th in the nation this season and second in the Pac-12 behind Sutton. Sutton and Bradford’s combined 44 tackles for loss are the most in ASU history and they are the first duo to record 20+ TFLs since Al Harris (22) and Bob Kohrs (20) in 1978.
GRICE, GRICE BABY Marion Grice is proving to be one of the top junior college additions to the conference as he led the team with 19 touchdowns (11 rushing, eight receiving) on the season. The mark matched the third highest single season total in school history alongside Cameron Marshall’s 2011 performance and fall behind just Wilford White (1950, 22) and Terry Battle (1996, 20) on the all-time list. His 114 points on the year tie for fifth on ASU’s all-time single-season points scored list. With 159 yards on 14 rushes and two touchdowns, Grice was named the 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Offensive MVP. Grice had his fourth three-touchdown game in an MVP performance to lead the Sun Devils on a fourth-quarter comeback against Arizona in the Territorial Cup. Grice’s knack for finding the end zone became commonplace, as he posted touchdowns on 19 of his 144 offensive touches this year (13.2 percent). Grice finished third in the conference at 8.77 PPG. His eight receiving touchdowns led the nation for receiving touchdowns by a running back and he finished tied for 14th in the country in total touchdowns. He became the all-time leader in running back touchdown receptions in the Pac-10/12 era for ASU. His four 100+ yard games this season led the team and his 6.6 yards per rush this year also paced the squad. Grice led the team in all-purpose yardage on the season with 1,104 yards.
THREE-HEADED MONSTER Aside from the impressive defense and great quarterback play from Cameron Marshall, Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. ASU running backs accounted for 31.4 percent of all the team’s receiving yards this season. Of the 3,369 total receiving yards, running backs collected 1,057. Grice, Marshall and Foster also accounted for 35 of the team’s 60 total offensive touchdowns. Grice had 19 (11 rushing, eight receiving), Marshall with 10 (nine rushing, one receiving) and Foster posted six (two rushing, four receiving). The trio averaged 5.3 yards per carry on the season (1,805 yards, 340 attempts). Grice, Marshall and Foster finished the season averaging 216.3 yards of total offense per game as a unit. The team is averaging 464.5 total yards per game.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE D.J. Foster came to ASU this season as what many considered the “gem” of the Sun Devil recruiting class and he has lived up to the hype. Foster was second on the team in all-purpose yardage with 1,026 yards this year (493 on the ground and 533 by air). Foster was also second on the team in yards per carry (4.8) for those with over 30 carries and is third in yards per catch (14.0). His ability to make what the ASU coaching staff calls “explosive plays” (rushes of 12 or more yards, receptions of 16 or more yards) helped him stand out amongst an offense full of talented players as he led the team in such plays with 31 total (18 receiving and 13 rushing). Foster’s 38 receptions were the second-most receptions by a freshman in a season in school history (Zack Miller holds the record with 56 in 2004). His 533 receiving yards were the second most by a freshman in school history (Miller with 552 in 2004).
INTERCEPTION DARBY Junior safety Alden Darby leads the Sun Devils with three interceptions this year, highlighted by a 70-yard pick-six against USC. Darby ranks sixth all-time on ASU’s single-season interception return yards list with 154. Nathan LaDuke has the record with 255. The interception against USC was the longest interception return for touchdown for ASU since Troy Nolan’s 100-yard return in 2008 against UCLA. ASU finished the year with 21 interceptions, a mark that was tied for fourth in the nation.
WINNING BY WAY OF TKO (Brock Osweiler (minimum 300 pass attempts). With 29 touchdown passes on the season, Kelly ranks second in ASU single-season history and was just one shy of the school record set by Andrew Walter in 2004. Additionally, Kelly threw just nine interceptions this season and the .0251 interception percentage ranks second in school history among QBs throwing over 300 passes, behind only the .0238 percentage set by Andrew Walter in 2003 (10 of 421).
DUAL-THREAT QB Taylor Kelly’s ability to extend plays was exceptional this seas, as demonstrated by his 516 net rushing yards on 134 attempts this year - a mark skewed by the fact that sacks count against his rushing total. If you take out sacks, Kelly would have led the team in yardage and yards per carry with 690 net rushing yards this season on 103 carries (6.7 ypc). Over the course of the season, Kelly had eight carries of 20 or more yards, easily the tops of the team ahead of Grice and Foster (3). Kelly accounted for 37 first downs on the ground on the year, a mark that also led the team.
SECONDARY A PRIMARY: ASU’s secondary was among its driving forces this season. The unit finished the season ranked third nationally in passing defense (167.92) and 10th in passing efficiency defense (105.45), leading the Pac-12 in both. Not bad for a group that finished 11th and ninth, respectively, in those categories in the conference last season. In addition, the squad’s 21 interceptions this year (giving some love to the linebackers, who had six of those and returned two for touchdowns) were tied for fourth in the nation. ASU had 11 different players record interceptions this season - a mark that ranks tied for second in the nation with USC behind SMU (12). Keelan Johnson led the way for ASU with five this year, including two against Washington State and he ranks tied for 17 in the country with .38 interceptions per game.
NOT PLAYING COY Chris Coyle’s performance against Illinois (10 receptions, 131 yards, two touchdowns) garnered him honors as the College Football Performance Awards Football Bowl Subdivision Tight End Performer of the Week. Coyle finished third in the nation in tight end receptions per game with 4.38. His 57 receptions led the Sun Devils, as did his 696 receiving yards on the year. He took over the single-season tight end school record receptions at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, bringing down four catches in the contest (Zach Miller previously held the record with 56). Coyle finished with five touchdown catches on the year, one shy of the single-season tight end record set by Miller and Joe Petty.
MORE ON COYLE: Chris Coyle had a coming out party against Illinois, snagging 10 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers put the junior in pretty select company at a school with a great history at the tight end position. His 10 grabs tie for the 15th-most ever by a Sun Devil in history and also put him in a tie with Zach Miller as the most single-game snags by a tight end in school history. In addition, his 131 receiving yards are the second most for a tight end in school history behind only Todd Heap’s 170 yards against Arizona in 1999. Here’s a look at how Coyle’s game stacks up against the greats.
FAREWELL, BRANDON: A year removed from missing the entire 2011 season with an Achilles injury, Brandon Magee returned an interception 45 yards for his first career pick-six against NAU in the opener and that set the pace for a phenomenal senior season. He finished third on the team with 6.5 sacks on the season and was fourth in tackles for loss with 12.5. Magee saved his best performance of the season for Arizona however, logging a career-high 17 tackles (14 solo) and earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Despite his absence in the victory against Illinois, Magee currently led the team with 113 tackles on the season and finished second in the conference at 9.42 tackles per game. Magee’s 81 solo tackles, including four in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, were the sixth most in a single season in school history.
BETTER SUITED FOR HANDKERCHIEFS: The Sun Devils haven’t given the referees much reason to reach for their pockets this season. ASU was penalized just once for five yards against Illinois (on what appeared to be a purposeful delay of game to create some space for a punt). That marked the lowest single-game total since 2006, when ASU was penalized once for five yards against Washington State. Todd Graham took a team that finished dead last in the FBS in penalties per game and penalty yards per game last season and created a team that had seven of the 10 least penalized games for a Sun Devils since the 2006 season. On the year, ASU had just 55 penalties for 454 yards. ASU led the Pac-12 and finished eighth in the nation with just 34.92 penalty yards per game. Here’s a look at ASU’s lowest single game penalties since 2006, seven of which having come this year:
MARSHALL OF THE TOUCHDOWN: With his two touchdowns in his final career game against Navy, Cameron Marshall has rushed for 38 touchdowns in his career with Arizona State. He is one of only four Sun Devils all-time to score at least 30 touchdowns on the ground. Marshall holds sole possession of second on ASU’s all-time rushing TD list, behind just Woody Green (43).
RETURN RECORD: Jamal Miles finished his career with 1,866 kickoff return yards. With a 31-yard return to start the game against Illinois and one other kick return, Miles passed Rudy Burgess (2004-07) for the top spot in Sun Devil history. In his prior three seasons in Tempe, Miles had returned 69 kickoffs for 1631 yards and three touchdowns. Miles totaled 788 of those yards last season, the second highest single-season total in ASU history. Miles’ total was second only to the 879 yards that Burgess gained in 2007. Miles had 80 career kick returns, giving him an average of 23.2 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.
HOLDING DOWN THE FORT: The ASU defense did an admirable job of limiting opponents following turnovers by the offense. On the season, ASU’s opponents scored on just 41.7 percent of their drives following an ASU turnover and have scored just seven touchdowns in that span on 24 turnovers. Conversely, the ASU offense put points in the bank on 70.0 of its conversion opportunities and scored 18 touchdowns off of 30 turnovers forced. ASU outscored opponents 139-58 in points off turnovers over the course of the season, despite posting just a middling +6 number in the takeway category.
JUST KICKING IT: Alex Garoutte saw his extra point streak come to and end right at the century mark (100) against Navy, though he finished the game 8-of-9 on extra point opportunities. He is now 111-of-113 in his career.
TAYLOR GANG: For the fourth time in as many years, the Sun Devil season opener featured a new quarterback under center. Redshirt sophomore 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.
PUT ME IN, COACH: Zach Miller (2004) and Will Sutton (2009) as the only 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 anniversary. In total, 29 Sun Devils saw their first Division I action and seven true freshmen played this season (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza, Richard Smith in addition to Foster and Hood). The school record for true freshmen playing in season is 10, set back in 2008.
EARN YOUR KEEP: ASU has had 12 players score their first career touchdowns this season: Chris Coyle (reception), Chris Coyle added his first career TD grab against Illinois, which also served as Eubank’s first career touchdown toss. For Kelly, his first passing touchdown was the first of many as he now has 25 on the season and Marion Grice’s three-touchdown performances on four occassions this year set the pace for the 17 touchdowns he currently has - a mark that leads the team.
PIN ‘EM DEEP: Redshirt senior punter Josh Hubner posted 20 punts on the year inside the 20 (out of 52 total punts) and is averaged 47.1 yards per punt, a mark that was good for first in the conference (with 40 or more punts) and second in the nation and also gave him the school’s single-season record (46+ attempts).. He had 22 punts of over 50 yards this season, good enough to lead the Pac-12. The next closest in the Pac-12 was 16 by Colorado’s Darragh O’Neill. Hubner has had monster games against Oregon and UCLA, averaging 52.8 yards per punt on nine attempts with three downed inside the 20. For those performances, he was honored by the College Football Performance Awards Punter of the Week for consecutive weeks. Quarterback Taylor Kelly also showed off his talents in the category, having eight pooch kicks this year with a long of 49 and downing the opponents inside the 20 on seven of those. Hubner was honored for his great season by receiving invitations to compete in the East-West Shrine Game and the Casino del Sol All-Star Game at the conclusion of the season.
LIGHT ‘EM UP: With 108 points in its first two games, Arizona State set its highest tally through the first two games of the season in ASU history (now in its 100th season). The prior record was 94 points, under Dirk Koetter in 2005 as his team put up 63 points in a season opening victory against Temple before adding 31 in a tough loss against LSU. ASU finished the year with 499 points and the 38.4 points per game ranked ASU 14th nationally in scoring offense. That mark ranks fifth all-time in ASU history in the statistical category and was the most since the 1973 squad that scored 43.2 ppg. The 1972 squad holds the record at 46.8 ppg.
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 (@DougHaller) of the Arizona Republic for all this information:
--Over his past four seasons prior to coming to ASU -- one at Pittsburgh and three at Tulsa -- Graham’s teams 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. The 2012 Sun Devils rushed the ball on 59.1 percent of their total plays. In 2011, ASU rushed 44.5 percent of the time.
--Over the past seven seasons at Pitt, Tulsa, Rice and now ASU, only one Graham-coached team has ranked outside the top 50 nationally in sacks. In 2011, Pittsburgh averaged 3.31 sacks, which ranked third nationally. The Sun Devils averaged 4.0 sacks per game this year, the second-best mark in the nation
--In seven seasons, Graham is 22-20 in true road games. ASU was 3-3 in such games this year. In the previous four seasons, ASU was 5-16.
--In six of the past seven 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. In 2011, Pitt averaged 39.5, which ranked 18th. The Sun Devils average only 34.92 penalty yards per game this year, which was good for eighth in the nation.
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.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Despite a relatively rough outing otherwise, ASU allowed just 48 passing yards vs. Oregon, its fewest in a conference game since Nov. 2, 1996, when ASU’s Pac-10 Conference title team allowed just 20 at Oregon State. The Sun Devils would top that Oregon mark by allowing just 37 passing yards to Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - the third-lowest tally since 1996.
TAKE IT BACK: Rashad Ross took the second-half kickoff back 100 yards for a score vs. Colorado on Oct. 11, the second kick return for a touchdown in his short career. He also took one 98 yards vs. Boise State in the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl. ASU has had seven kickoff returns for a touchdown in the past three seasons, a span that started with Omar Bolden’s 97-yard jaunt at No. 11 Wisconsin on Sept. 18, 2010. Ross is just the fifth player in school history to record a 100-yard kickoff return.
PUTTING ON A SHOW: ASU racked up a then-season-high 593 total yards of offense against Colorado, including 261 rushing yards and 332 passing yards. ASU’s 593 yards is the most in a conference road game since it had 651 yards at Arizona on Nov. 23, 1996 in a 56-14 win that clinched an 11-0 regular season. The Sun Devils put up a whopping 648 yards of total offense against Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which was the most since logging a Pac-12 Bowl record 679 against Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl against Rutgers. ASU now owns the two highest-grossing games in terms of yardage in Pac-12 conference history.
MORE ON PENALTIES: Todd Graham has had a knack for having some of the most disciplined teams in the nation when it comes to penalty yards. In each of his seven seasons as a head coach, Graham’s teams have ranked as some of the least penalized teams in the country in both yards and penalties per game. In 2012, the Sun Devils finished 10th in fewest penalties (4.23) and eighth in fewest penality yards per game (34.9).
THE ALTERNATIVE DEFINITION OF “SCORING DEFENSE”: Scoring defense is an official statistic credited to defenses based on how many points they allow per game. The ASU defense is re-writing that definition, having directly scored on four turnovers this season. ASU had three interceptions returned for touchdowns this year (Anthony Jones - 36 yards vs Oregon and Junior Onyeali vs Oregon State). The defense also had a blocked punt for a safety, giving the squad a total of 26 direct points. If you add in the points off turnovers that ASU offense has scored this season, the ASU defense had a hand in 165 of the 499 points (33.1 percent) scored for ASU this season.
NOT IN OSAHON’s HOUSE: Junior defensive back Osahon Irabor was a force this year, collecting 14 passes defensed on the season to lead the team. What’s more impressive is that he didn’t have a single pass interference called against him all season. The 14 PBU’s are the most by a Sun Devils since Justin Tryon had 16 in 2007. Irabor also posted his first interception of the season against Arizona.
FOR THAT MATTER, NOT KEELAN’S HOUSE EIther: Perhaps no player on the Sun Devils came on as strong down the stretch as senior safety and captain Troy Nolan had 10, followed by Mike Nixon with eight, Omar Bolden with seven, Josh Barrett with six and Justin Tryon with four.
ROAD WARRIORS: Todd Graham has had a lot of success on the road during his head coaching days, and this season with the Sun Devils was no different. ASU compiled a 3-2 road record in Pac-12 Conference games with victories against Colorado, Cal and Arizona - one of just four Pac-12 teams to do so behind Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. It was just the fifth time since joining the Pac-12 (1978) that the Sun Devils had won three conference games on the road.
END WITH A BANG: While ASU got out to several fast starts this season, the team closed just as impressively, allowing just 62 points on the season to anyone in the quarter and only gave up more than 10 on one occasion (14), in garbage time in the team’s rout over Navy. ASU shut out six teams in the fourth quarter this year and outscored opponents 126-62 in the period.
A LOOK AHEAD: While the 2012 season had plenty of exciting games for the Sun Devils, the 2013 schedule is looking even more appealing. In 2013, ASU’s football team will play the Pac-12 Conference Champion (Stanford), the Big 10 Conference Champion (Wisconsin) and the current No. 1 team and potential National Champion (Notre Dame).
A STRONG START: Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham was one of the only 11 coaches of the 28 coaching changes in the spring of 2012 to win eight or more games in 2012. Of those, only five first-year coaches led their teams to bowl victories (Graham, Rodriguez, Malzahn, Freeze, Sumlin).