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Oct. 5, 1997

Sun Devils Return Home to Host USC

  • USC Trojans (2-2, 1-1) at Arizona State Sun Devils (3-2, 1-1)
  • Oct. 11, Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field, 12:30 p.m.

Arizona State returns home for a crucial Pac-10 contest against USC this Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field. Both the Trojans and Sun Devils come into the game with 1-1 Pac-10 records. ASU comes off a 26-14 loss at Washington while USC beat nonconference foe UNLV, 35-21 last week. Game time for the Sun Devils' only home game in the month of October is set for 12:30 p.m. with ABC showing the game to a regional audience.

Paul Reynolds
Linebacker Paul Reynolds

Series Summary: Arizona State leads Southern California 7-6 in the all-time series. ASU is the only Pac-10 school to lead its series with USC. The Trojans have taken four of the last six meetings, but ASU won a 48-35 two-overtime thriller in Tempe last season. ASU head coach Bruce Snyder is 1-6 lifetime against the Trojans, 1-2 at ASU.

Last Meeting: Last year's game had more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller and also featured both schools first experience with overtime. ASU prevailed 48-35 in two overtime periods before the second-largest crowd in ASU history, 74,947. Typically, ASU rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to tie the game, 14-14 at halftime. The Sun Devils responded to seven-point deficits twice in the second half to tie the score, the last coming with 1:30 remaining in the game. After each team traded touchdowns in the first overtime period, ASU's Terry Battle, who rushed for 184 yards on 30 carries, scored his fourth TD of the game, a 25-yard TD on the first play of the series. Courtney Jackson sealed the victory with an 85-yard fumble return off a quarterback sack for the win.

Over the Air: ABC will televise the game to a regional audience. Brent Musburger and Dan Fouts will handle the call with Jack Arute on the sidelines. Westwood One will also broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Joel Meyers and Fran Curci are at the microphone. KMVP (860 AM) is the flagship station for the Sun Devil radio network. Tom Dillon, the Arizona Sportscaster-of-the-Year 16 years running (1981-96), and the voice of the Sun Devils since 1979, once again will handle the play-by-play duties. Former Sun Devil QB and 1987 Rose Bowl MVP Jeff Van Raaphorst (1983-86) returns for his second season as the color analyst. KMVP has teamed with AudioNet to provide all Sun Devil radio broadcasts on the internet. Each broadcast can be accessed at www.audionet.com/schools/asu.

The Polls: ASU fell out of both polls after last week's loss at Washington. USC is not ranked as well.

ASU Libraries: ASU's Athletic Department is forwarding $50,000 to the ASU Library System in a pregame presentation this Saturday. Members of the Student Athlete Advisory Board and ASU head coaches will make the presentation together to the ASU Library system which has distinguished itself as one of the top 35 academic research libraries in the United States or Canada.

Last Time Out: Arizona State failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities and Washington grounded out 240 yards rushing as the Huskies defeated ASU 26-14. UW's Rashaan Shehee ran for 146 yards and one TD on 29 carries as Washington controlled the ball for 33:13 in the game. ASU passed on a number of golden opportunities as it missed three field goal attempts and scored only seven points on drives that started in the redzone. Washington disrupted ASU's offense with nine sacks while holding the Sun Devil running game to 51 net yards, the fewest for ASU since October 22, 1994.

On Deck: ASU travels to Stanford for its third road game in four weeks. Gametime is set for 12:30 at Stanford Stadium.

Big Wins: In the past two seasons, ASU has defeated some of the most storied football programs in college football. In their last 17 games, the Sun Devils have defeated Washington, Nebraska, USC and Miami. Those four programs have combined for 2,385 wins, 118 bowl appearances and 17 national championships, having won or shared 11 national titles since 1970. Heading into this season, the ASU football program ranked 17th on the all-time winning percentage list, winning 62.9 percent of their games in 85 seasons.

Home Field Advantage: Sun Devil Stadium has provided ASU with a significant home field edge since its inception in 1958. Arizona State is 194-63-3 (.752) all-time in Sun Devil Stadium and 6-1 since the playing surface was dedicated as Frank Kush Field. ASU was undefeated at home in 1996 and drew four of the six largest crowds in ASU history, including a record 74,963 to the Rose Bowl-clinching win over California. ASU drew an average of 63,884 to seven home games in 1996, a jump of 15,003 from the previous season - the largest increase in the nation.

Defensive Stand: ASU's defense has handed in some mighty impressive performances in 1997. Prior to last week's game at Washington, the first string "D" had given up just one offensive touchdown to its first four opponents. In a 23-12 win at Miami, ASU's defense held the Miami offense to two field goals, the first time the Hurricanes had been held without an offensive touchdown in the Orange Bowl since 1984. BYU's 13 points was the fewest it has scored in 25 games. The Sun Devils held Oregon State to 20 yards rushing, the fewest a Beaver squad had run for since 1989.

    ASU's Defense Game-by-Game
    Opp.          Rush Yds.   Pass Yds.     Total          Pts.
    New Mexico St.  107          91          198            10
    at Miami         68         220          288            *6
    BYU              99         328          427            13
    at Oregon St.    20         193          213            *3
    at Washington   240         150          390            26
    Totals (PG)     534 (106.8) 982 (196.4) 1516 (302.2)   *58 (11.6)
    *does not include points scored by opponents defenses 
    (13 total: 6 vs. Miami, 7 vs. Oregon State)

Michael Martin
Tailback Michael Martin

The Century Mark: ASU has had at least one person rush for 100 or more yards in two of its first five games, both wins. ASU is 218-36-5 (.851) all-time when it has someone top the century mark and is 19-4 (.826) since Bruce Snyder's arrival in Tempe.

Double Whammy: ASU's Michael Martin and J.R. Redmond each ran for over 100 yards against Miami, the first time that had happened to the Hurricanes since 1979. ASU has had two rushers over 100 yards in the same game 33 times in its history, compiling a record of 31-1-1.

Triple Threat: Arizona State has three quality tailbacks and along with fullback Jeff Paulk may have one of the most dangerous backfields in the nation. Starter Michael Martin is averaging 59.4 yards rushing per game while backup J.R. Redmond is averaging 100.0 rushing yards per game. ASU's tailbacks go three deep with Marlon Farlow, who rushed for 64 yards in ASU's season opener and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

Martin Returns: Senior tailback Michael Martin has returned from a season-ending neck injury he suffered in the UCLA game (6th of the year) last season. He took his place in the Sun Devil starting lineup against New Mexico State and rushed for 64 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries and followed that up with his second career 100-yard game against Miami. Martin in the starting lineup is a good sign for ASU as the Sun Devils are 12-1 with Martin in the starting lineup. A concussion and pinched nerve prevented Martin from practicing and starting last week, but he did see action against Washington. A preseason Doak Walker Award nominee, Martin has rushed for 998 yards in 13 starts during his Sun Devil career and is averaging 76.7 yards per start.

    Martin Game-By-Game When Starting
    Team               Att. Yds.  Avg. TD
    BYU ('95)           24   78   3.3   0
    Oregon ('95)        21   79   3.8   2
    UCLA ('95)          25   90   3.6   1
    Washington ('96)    20   92   4.6   1
    N. Texas ('96)      14   62   4.4   0
    Nebraska ('96)      26   77   3.0   0
    Oregon ('96)        23  161   6.4   0
    Boise State ('96)    8   79   9.9   0
    UCLA ('96)           2    4   2.0   0 (injured, broken neck)
    New Mexico St.      15   64   4.3   1
    Miami               26  103   4.0   0
    BYU                 16   43   2.7   1
    at Oregon St.       14   66   4.7   0 (injured, pinched nerve)
    Total              234  998   4.3   6

The Goods on J.R.: Five games into the 1997 season, J.R. Redmond is turning heads both on and off the field. The sophomore tailback is sixth in the nation with 188.8 all-purpose yards per game and fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 100.0 yards rushing per game. He leads the team in rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns and is fourth on the team with seven catches. Redmond's big-play ability has been evident as he has already reeled off runs of 50 and 93 yards. His 93-yard touchdown against New Mexico State tied the fifth-longest run from scrimmage in ASU history and earned Redmond the AT&T Long Distance Run of the Week award. Redmond is also leaving defenders behind on special teams as he is averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 21.7 yards per kick return.

    Redmond Game-by-Game Rushing
    Game                No. Yds.  Avg  TD
    New Mexico State    10  176  17.6   1
    at Miami            12  105   8.8   1
    BYU                 17   66   5.1   0
    at Oregon St.       18   77   4.3   0
    at Washington       21   76   3.6   1
    Totals              74  500   6.8   3
    Redmond Game-by-Game All Purpose                 Per    Per
    Game             Rush   Rec.    Punts   KO      Total   Touch  Game
    NMSU            10-176  1-13    3-18    2-57    16-264  16.5
    at Miami        12-105  5-46    2-53    3-49    22-253  12.1
    BYU             13-66   0-0     2-26    4-90    19-182   9.6
    at Oregon St.   18-77   1-18    2-1     1-21    22-117   5.3
    at Washington   21-76   0-0     5-52    0-0     26-128
    Totals          74-500  7-77   14-150  10-217  105-944   9.0   188.8
    Top Five Runs in ASU history
    1. 99 yds., Max Anderson, vs. Wyoming, 1967 (TD)
    2. 98 yds., Mark Malone, vs. Utah State, 1979 (TD)
    3. 97 yds., Art Malone, vs. Utah, 1968 (TD)
    4. 94 yds., Hascall Henshaw, vs. Case Western Reserve, 1940 (TD)
    5. 93 yds., J.R. Redmond, vs. New Mexico St. , 1997 (TD)
                Tom Dekellis, vs. Whittier, 1938 (TD)

They Said It: Former Miami Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger on J.R. Redmond: "He runs hard and intelligently. He makes a lot of yards after contact. He's one of the best players I've seen in the Orange Bowl not wearing a Miami uniform."

Kealy at the Helm: Redshirt freshman Ryan Kealy won a battle with junior Steve Campbell for the starting QB job in fall camp. Since taking the reigns of ASU's offense, Kealy has showed the poise and promise that earned him the job. After four games, Kealy has posted a 114.48 efficiency rating, completed 53.1 percent of his passes for 873 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

    Kealy Game-by-Game Passing
    Opp.                Att. Comp. Int. Pct.  Yds. TD   Lg.
    New Mexico State    19    11    0   57.9  107   1   23
    at Miami            26    18    1   69.2  239   1   40
    BYU                 29    12    0   41.4  153   0   36
    at Oregon St.       24    14    2   58.3  194   1   38
    at Washington       30    13    1   43.3  180   1   27
    Totals             128    68    4   53.1  873   4   40

First-Year QBs: With Ryan Kealy at the helm of the Sun Devil offense, here's a look at how the last four regular ASU QBs did their first year in a starting role:

    Name, Year           G/GS   Att. Comp.  Yds.   TD  Int.  Pct.
    Jake Plummer, 1993   9/6    199  102    1,650   9   7   .513
    Grady Benton, 1992  10/8    225  149    1,707   8   9   .662
    Brett Powers, 1991   8/8    234  127    1,500   8  11   .543
    Paul Justin, 1988    8/5    150   84    1,063   5   2   .560

Looking for Lenzie: Lenzie Jackson has become Ryan Kealy's favorite target as the junior wide receiver leads the team with 21 catches for 271 yards in five games. Jackson gathered six receptions in both the New Mexico State and Oregon State games. Including the Rose Bowl, Jackson has a catch in 18 straight games.

    Jackson Receiving Game-By-Game
    Opp.            Rec. Yds.  TD
    New Mexico St.   6    68    1
    at Miami         2    21    0
    BYU              4    64    0
    at Oregon State  6    74    0
    at Washington    3    44    0
    1997 Totals     21   271    1

High School Connection: When freshmen Ryan Kealy and Tariq McDonald hooked up for a four-yard touchdown pass in ASU's season-opener, it was the first TD both were involved in as Sun Devils. However, it wasn't the first time the two produced six points. As seniors at Phoenix's St. Mary's High School, Kealy hit McDonald for touchdowns 22 times en route to a state championship. Kealy passed for 2,682 yards and 41 TDs his senior season while McDonald was his favorite target, catching 75 balls for 1,192 yards.

Tillman for Butkus: Senior outside linebacker Pat Tillman is one of 52 collegiate linebacker's to be named to the Butkus Award watch list. The list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on October 16 and three finalists November 13. The winner will be announced Saturday, December 13. Tillman, a second-team All-Pac-10 performer in 1996, was second on the team in tackles last year with 91. This year, he is second on the team with 30 stops including three sacks and six tackles for loss. Tillman also leads the team in interceptions with two. Both came against Oregon State and gives Tillman six in his career.

    Tillman Game-by-Game Tackles
    Opp.               UA  AT  Total TFL-Yds.
    New Mexico State    1   3    4     1-2
    at Miami            3   4    7     0-0
    BYU                 5   7   12     2-12
    at Oregon St.       5   1    6     2-15
    at Washington       0   1    1     1-3
    Totals             14  16   30     6-32

Damien on D: Senior Damien Richardson is a member of the Jim Thorpe Award "watch list" as one of the best defensive backs in college football. The safety has started 27 straight games for ASU and is one of five Sun Devils with 30 or more tackles on the season. Richardson has totaled 30 tackles while breaking up one pass and forcing a fumble this season.

NCAA Rankings: Here's where ASU ranks in the nation:

    Individual  
    Player          Category        Place   Stat
    J.R. Redmond    All-Purpose      6th    188.8 ypg
    J.R. Redmond    Rushing         24th    100.0 ypg
    J.R. Redmond    Punt Returns    32nd     10.7 ypr
    Team    Category           Place    Stat
    ASU     Rushing Offense     45th    158.8 ypg
    ASU     Passing Offense     72nd    185.4 ypg
    ASU     Total Offense       71st    344.2 ypg
    ASU     Scoring Offense     77th     20.2 ppg
    ASU     Rushing Defense     30th    106.8 ypg
    ASU     Pass Eff. Defense   20th     97.6
    ASU     Total Defense       23rd    303.2 ypg
    ASU     Scoring Defense     19th     14.2 ppg
    ASU     Net Punting         15th     40.4 ypp
    ASU     Punt Returns        36th     10.5 ypr

Defending the Title: 1997 marks the second time Arizona State has defended a Pac-10 championship in the 19 years the Sun Devils have been a member of the league. The Sun Devils captured their first Pac-10 title in 1986 and followed up with a 7-4-1 season in 1987 that included a trip to the Freedom Bowl, ASU's last bowl appearance before last year. ASU has totaled 16 conference championships, picking up seven each as a member of the Border Conference and WAC. In its 15 previous title defenses, ASU has repeated as champion five times - winning back-to-back Border crowns in 1939-40 and picking up five straight trophies from 1969-73 in the WAC. On average, ASU has won 7.4 games the year after a conference crown.

The Year After: Four of the 10 previous Pac-10 champions went on to repeat the following year. USC and Washington each won or shared three consecutive titles, the Trojans from 1987-89 and the Huskies from 1990-92. A look back at how the champion(s) have fared the following year:

    Year    Champion    Next Year
    1986    ASU         7-4-1, 4th
    1987    USC         10-2, 1st
            UCLA        10-2, 2nd
    1988    USC         9-2-1, 1st
    1989    USC         8-4-1, 2nd
    1990    Washington  12-0, 1st
    1991    Washington  9-3, 1st
    1992    Washington  7-4, ineligible
            Stanford    4-7, 7th
    1993    UCLA        5-6, 5th
            Arizona     8-4, 2nd
            USC         8-3-1, 2nd
    1994    Oregon      9-3, 3rd
    1995    USC         6-6, 5th
            Washington  9-3, 2nd

Pretty Good Of Late: ASU has been on a roll of late. The Sun Devils won four of their final five games in 1995, put together an 11-1 record in '96 and have come out of the gate with three wins in five games for 1997.

  • ASU has won 18 of its last 22 games, including 14 of 16 regular-season contests.
  • ASU has won eight of nine and 10 of its last 12 home games.
  • ASU has won eight of nine road games.
  • ASU has won nine of 10 and 12 of its last 14 Pac-10 games.

Head Coach Bruce Snyder
Head Coach Bruce Snyder

Head Coach Bruce Snyder: In his sixth season at the helm of ASU's football program ... has led the Sun Devils to 18 wins in their last 22 games ... in 1996, guided the Sun Devils to their second Pac-10 championship, fourth undefeated regular season and second Rose Bowl ... the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1996 as well as Pac-10 Coach of the Year ... compiled 6-5 records in his first, second and fourth seasons in Tempe (1992, 1993, 1995) and a 3-8 mark in 1994 ... prior to posting a 35-26 record in six years at ASU, he was 39-37-1 at Utah State (1976-81) and 29-24-4 at California (1987-91) ... guided Cal to a 10-2 mark and No. 8 ranking in 1991 as the Bears defeated ACC champ Clemson in the Citrus Bowl ... Cal had been to just one bowl since 1958 prior to Snyder guiding the Bears to two consecutive bowl wins in '90 & '91 ... led Utah State to a pair of conference titles in his seven years ... was L.A. Rams running back coach for four years (1983-86), during which he tutored Eric Dickerson as he set the NFL single-season rushing record ... served as an assistant at Oregon, New Mexico State, Utah State and USC ... Snyder earned his 100th career win in ASU's 56-14 win at Arizona last year ... prior to the Rose Bowl, signed a new contract with ASU through the year 2002.

Snyder Climbs ASU Coaching Charts: Head coach Bruce Snyder is in his sixth season at ASU and he needs three wins to become the second-winningest coach in ASU history. Snyder would overtake Darryl Rogers, who won 37 games in five seasons during the early '80's. With 11 victories in 1996, Snyder surpassed Larry Marmie, Dixie Howell, Aaron McCreary, Ed Doherty, John Cooper and Dan Devine on ASU's all-time win chart. Snyder's sixth year of service makes him only the fourth coach at ASU to have a tenure of more than five seasons. Frank Kush's 22 seasons and 176 wins are the most in Sun Devil history while McCreary (7 seasons, 1923-29) and ASU's first football coach, Fred Irish (8 seasons), each stayed longer than a half-decade.

    Coach           Years            Record
    Frank Kush      1958-79         176-54-1
    Darryl Rogers   1980-84          37-18-1
    Bruce Snyder    1992-Present     35-26-0
    Dan Devine      1955-57           27-3-1

Fast Start: Arizona State has developed a habit of starting fast after it comes out of the lockeroom in 1997. ASU has outscored its opponents 20-6 in the first quarter and 38-10 in the third quarter. ASU has made its halftime adjustments well in each of the last two years as the Sun Devils outscored opponents 113-23 in the third quarter in 1996. The 113 points was the most by any Pac-10 team in the third quarter while the 23 points given up was the fewest by any Pac-10 team in any quarter.

Maroon Zone: Here's the numbers on how ASU's offense and defense have done inside the 20-yard line.

                       ASU  Pct.    Opponents  Pct.
    Inside 20          18   ---        12      ---
    Scored             14   .777        9     .750
    TD                  9   .500        4     .333
    FG                  5   .277        5     .417
    Turnover            2               1   
    Missed FG           2               0
    Blocked FG          0               1   
    End of half/game    0               1

Third Downs: Converting third downs is often dependent on how far you have to go. A look inside the numbers on ASU's and its opponents third-down efficiency:

    3rd & ...   1-5 yds.      6-10 yds.    Above 10     Total
    ASU         17/33 (.515)  8/25 (.320)  2/22 (.091)  27/80 (.338)
    Opp.         8/19 (.421)  3/27 (.111)  3/23 (.130)  14/69 (.203)

Automatic: Robert Nycz was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist a year ago and is once again a candidate this year. The senior placekicker has connected on 76 straight extra points and 102 of 103 in his career. Only a blocked attempt at California in 1995 has prevented him from being perfect. Nycz is also reliable when kicking for three points as he has split the uprights on eight of 12 attempts this season with three of his four misses coming beyond 40 yards. He has connected on 30 of 44 (.682) career field goal attempts. He is 21 of 25 from inside 40 yards and 9 of 17 beyond 40 in his career. He was named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week Sept. 15 for his career-high three field goals at Miami.

Nycz Career Stats
Yr.     FGA FGM Pct.  Long  XPA XPM  Pct.  Pts.
1995     16 11  .690   48    32  31  .969   64  
1996     16 11  .690   46    60  60 1.000   93
1997     12  8  .667   44    11  11 1.000   35
Career   44 30  .682   48   103 102  .991  192
*Nycz was also 2/2 on PATs and 1/1 on FGs (37 yds.) in the 1997 Rose Bowl

Yr. G 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Long 1995 11 4/4 3/4 4/6 0/2 48 1996 11 5/5 3/5 3/6 0/0 46 1997 5 2/2 4/5 2/4 0/1 42 Career 26 11/11 10/14 9/16 0/3 48

Special Teams: Here's some numbers pertaining to ASU's special teams:

         Kickoffs  Ret  Avg. Against  TB  Avg. Opp. Starting Point
    ASU     24      16      19.1       7       23.2
    Opp.    19      17      19.5       2       28.4
           Punts   Ret  Avg. Against  FC  Downed  *-20  *-10  TB
    ASU     33      16       1.9       7    8      4     2     2
    Opp.    36      15      10.5       5   10      8     2     6
    *fair caught or downed (includes kicked out of bounds) inside 20/10

Block That Kick: Arizona State has showed a knack for putting a paw on opposing kicks. The Sun Devils have blocked a kick (punt, FG or PAT) in five of their last seven games (including Rose Bowl) dating back to last year. ASU has blocked two field goals and a extra point this season after blocking six kicks a year ago.

    Blocks in Last Seven Games:
    Arizona         FG and punt (Burnstein)
    Ohio State      FG (Burnstein)
    New Mexico St.  --
    Miami           PAT (Yancy)
    BYU             FG  (Battle)
    Oregon St.      FG  (Staat)
    Washington      --

Turnover Edge: In its last 22 games (dating back to 1995), ASU has a turnover ratio of +21 (53-31). In that span, ASU has accumulated 22 INTs and 31 fumble recoveries while opponents have registered 18 interceptions and 14 recoveries. ASU is 18-4 during the stretch. This year, however, ASU is -1 in turnover margin and has lost seven fumbles after losing just five all of last year.

Sure Hands: A big reason for ASU's turnover advantage over the last 22 games has been the sure-handed play of its running backs. Sun Devil running backs have lost only three fumbles on a rushing play since the start of the 1995 season, a span of 28 games. That's three fumbles lost in 1,309 rushing attempts. However, two of those lost fumbles have come in ASU's last four games.

Capitalizing: ASU has converted turnovers into points 36 percent of the time while its opponents have scored off of turnovers 50 percent of the time.

    Turnovers Resulting In ...
    ASU                     Opponents
    11      Opp. Turnovers      12
    24      Points              29
     3      TD                   3
     1      FG                   3  
     3      Punt                 3
     2      MFG                  1
     1      Turnover             1
     0      TO on Downs          1
     1      End of Half/Game     0

ASU in the Polls: Here's a look at ASU's path in both major polls in 1997:

    Date        AP  ESPN/USA Today
    Preseason   --      --
    Aug. 31     --      --
    Sept. 7     24      --
    Sept. 14    14      17
    Sept. 21    25      23
    Sept. 28    25      22
    Oct. 5      --      --

On the Road Again: Arizona State's loss at Washington snapped the Sun Devils second-longest road winning streak in school history. ASU had won eight straight road games prior to its trip to Seattle Under Bruce Snyder, the Sun Devils are 13-14 away from home. Four of ASU's first seven games are on the road this season where as last year the Sun Devils didn't venture away from Tempe until the sixth game of the season.

Sizing up the Schedule: ASU's 1997 schedule was ranked the 10th-toughest in the nation in an NCAA preseason survey. In addition to the always tough Pac-10 slate, the Sun Devils have added nonconference foes Miami, BYU and New Mexico State. Five of the Sun Devil opponents went to bowls a year ago: Miami (Carquest), BYU (Cotton), Washington (Holiday), Stanford (Sun) and California (Aloha). The Sun Devils face all but BYU on the road. ASU's 11 opponents combined for a 70-60 mark last season while only two won less than five games. Four of ASU's first seven games are on the road this season which is in stark contrast to a year ago when the Sun Devils' first five games were in Tempe. On the flip side, ASU finishes up with three of its final four games at home.

Pac-10 Poll: Arizona State has been picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 in a preseason poll of West Coast media members that regularly cover the league. Washington received 28 of 31 first-place votes to be tabbed as the favorite for 1997. The complete poll:

    1. Washington (28)  306     6. Arizona          151
    2. Stanford (3)     263     7. Washington St.   142
    3. USC              228     8. Oregon           114
    4. UCLA             217     9. California        74
    5. Arizona St.      175    10. Oregon St.        35

Preseason Pundits: As ASU heads into the 1997 season, the preseason college football annuals rank the Sun Devils anywhere from 12th to 35th in the nation while selecting ASU to finish somewhere between third and sixth in defense of its Pac-10 title. Below is a list of various preseason magazine and internet predictions for ASU:

                    ASU in Nation   ASU in Pac-10   
    Lindy's             20th            3rd 
    Preview Sports      18th            6th
    Athlon              35th            5th
    The Sporting News   33rd            5th
    Street & Smith's    17th            3rd 
    Blitz               26th    
    College Sports News 12th    
    Fans Only           25th

Youth is Served: Thirteen of ASU's 22 opening day starters were underclassmen (juniors or younger) including nine on offense. Three starters, QB Ryan Kealy, RG Victor Leyva and LB Stephen Trejo, were redshirt freshmen.

A Game of Firsts: After losing 12 starters off of last year's squad, ASU's season-opener against New Mexico State saw a lot of firsts for many of those trying to replace them. Twenty-two players saw their first action, and 10 started for the first time. A look at who did what for the first time:

    First Appearance        First Start
    Ryan Kealy              Ryan Kealy, QB
    Victor Leyva            Victor Leyva, RG
    Stephen Trejo           Troy Davis, RT
    Darrin Ransom           Darrin Ransom, FB
    J'Juan Cherry           Kenny Mitchell, WR
    Brian Forth             Jeremy Staat, RDT
    Jamel Ready             Hamilton Mee, RE
    Christon Rance          Stephen Trejo, ILB
    Adam Archuleta          Paul Reynolds, ILB
    Mark Polchow            Phillip Brown, FS
    Jeff Boyer  
    Joe Cesta               First Touchdown
    Terrelle Smith          Darrin Ransom
    Korey Ramsay            Tariq McDonald
    Marvel Smith    
    Jeff Johannesen         First TD Pass
    Tariq McDonald          Ryan Kealy
    Brian Jennings          Steve Campbell
    Matt Cercone    
    Jason Moore             First Reception
    Che Britton             Tariq McDonald (TD)
    Quincy Yancy

Pac-10 All-Academic History: Arizona State ranks among the top four football programs in the conference in terms of receiving All-Academic recognition each season. Over the last eight years, only Stanford, Oregon and Washington have had more football players honored for their performance on and off the field. Below is a chart of the number of Pac-10 All-Academic players for each school from 1989-96.

    School      *Pac-10 All-Academic Players
    Stanford            73
    Oregon              49
    Washington          43
    Arizona State       36
    Oregon State        36
    USC                 30
    Washington State    29
    UCLA                28
    California          25
    Arizona             24
    *since 1989

Academic All-America: The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) has been selecting Academic All-Americans for more than 30 years in all sports. In the Pac-10, Arizona State has been among the all-time leaders in student-athletes honored academically on a national scale, maintaining a 3.2 GPA or higher. Here's how ASU ranks in the Pac-10:

    School       CoSIDA All-Americans
    UCLA                70
    Stanford            59
    Arizona             46
    Arizona State       36
    USC                 33
    Oregon              31
    Oregon State        26
    California          21
    Washington          21
    Washington State    21

Mirror Image: A comparison of Bruce Snyder's five seasons at Cal and his first five seasons at ASU reveals striking similarities. Snyder's record during his five years (1987-91) at California was 29-24-4 (.544) while his record after five years at ASU stood at 32-24 (.571).

    At California           At Arizona State
    Year    Record  Bowl    Year    Record  Bowl
    1987    3-6-2           1992     6-5
    1988    5-5-1           1993     6-5
    1989    4-7-0           1994     3-8
    1990    7-4-1   Copper  1995     6-5
    1991   10-2-0   Citrus  1996    11-1    Rose
    Totals 29-24-4          Totals  32-24

1996 in Review: ASU finished last season ranked fourth in both major polls after going 11-1 and 8-0 in the Pac-10, winning its second Pac-10 title. The Sun Devils completed an undefeated regular season, the fourth in ASU history, before falling to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Sun Devil QB Jake Plummer, OT Juan Roque, TB Terry Battle and DE Derrick Rodgers each received All-America recognition as Roque was a consensus pick and Plummer finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Head coach Bruce Snyder was the consensus choice for National Coach of the Year, winning 14 of a possible 16 awards, and earned his second Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor.

#11 Hangs Forever: Danny White's joined his father, Wilford "Whizzer" White, and Bobby Mulgado as the only Sun Devils to have their jersey retired during halftime of the BYU game. Danny played at ASU from 1971-73 and was the Sun Devils starting QB each year, compiling a three-year record of 31-4 leading his team to three straight WAC titles and three Fiesta Bowl wins. A charter member of ASU's Hall of Fame, White played 13 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and was a member of their Super Bowl XII Championship team. White is currently head coach and general manager of the Arizona Rattlers where he has won two Arena Bowl titles, including the 1997 crown.

Hall of Fame Year: Former Sun Devils Danny White and Mike Haynes each are receiving Hall of Fame recognition in 1997. White, ASU's starting QB from 1971-73, was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in January, becoming the first Sun Devil player to ever receive that honor. Haynes, a Sun Devil from 1972-75, became the third (John Henry Johnson, Charley Taylor) ASU player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a July ceremony.

Returning Honorees: Five Sun Devils return from seasons that earned them All-Pac-10 recognition a year ago (listed below). However, ASU will have to attempt to fill the shoes of 11 others who earned Pac-10 accolades, including five first-team performers.

    Name, Pos.          1996 Pac-10 Honor
    Kyle Murphy, LG     2nd team
    Pat Tillman, OLB    2nd team
    Robert Nycz, PK     honorable mention
    Grey Ruegamer, RT   honorable mention
    Jason Simmons, CB   honorable mention

Leader of the Pac: Arizona State's undefeated march to the Pac-10 championship a year ago was dominating, as evidenced by the fact ASU led the conference in all but one major statistical category. The Sun Devils' rushing offense, total offense, scoring offense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense were each ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10. Only ASU's passing offense failed to lead the league, ranking fifth. Here's a look inside the numbers:

    Category                Score (Rank in Pac-10, margin)
    Rushing Offense         248.5 ypg (1st, + 18.5)
    Passing Offense         243.9 ypg (5th)
    Total Offense           492.5 ypg (1st, + 34.9)
    Scoring Offense          42.8 ppg (1st, + 8.4)
    Rushing Defense          98.0 ypg (1st, + 5.0)
    Pass Efficiency Defense 104.15 rating (1st, + 2.66)
    Total Defense           304.7 ypg (1st, + 16.1 ypg)
    Scoring Defense          17.8 ppg (1st, + 2.3 ppg)

Worst-to-First: After ranking last in the Pac-10 in defense in 1995, ASU's climb to the top of the conference chart was the first time in Pac-10 history a school has gone from worst-to-first in one season. ASU's top-notch defense marked the fourth time ASU has paced the league, but the first time since 1983.

Draft Success: Arizona State had eight football players selected in the 1997 NFL Draft, tied for the most in the nation with Miami and Nebraska (see chart below). In addition, ASU had six other players sign free agent contracts, giving it 14 players in NFL camps in 1997 from its 1996 squad. To break it down, of ASU's 22 starters on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl, 11 (6 defensive, 5 offensive) are now in the NFL with the Sun Devils first string punter and two reserves joining them in the professional ranks.

        Team      Players Drafted
    1.  ASU             8
        Miami
        Nebraska
    4.  Florida State   7
        Ohio State
    6.  Colorado        6
        Texas
        Virginia

In the NFL: Arizona State has 24 former players currently on NFL rosters including eight players from last year's squad. Terry Battle (Lions), Steve Bush (Bengals), Jake Plummer (Cardinals), Keith Poole (Saints), Derrick Rodgers (Dolphins), Juan Roque (Lions), Derek Smith (Redskins) and Scott Von der Ahe (Colts) all played for Snyder a year ago and are now in the NFL ranks.

Bowl Lineup: The top four finishers in the Pac-10 race are once again guaranteed bowl games following the season. Additionally, four bowls (Las Vegas, Motor City, Independence and Humanitarian) have open slots. A look at where, when and against whom the Pac-10 will go bowling after the '97 season:

    Bowl    Site        Date     TV     Matchup
    Aloha   Honolulu    Dec. 25  ABC    Pac-10 #4 vs. Big 12 #5
    Holiday San Diego   Dec. 29  ESPN   WAC #1/Pac-10 #2 vs. Big 12 #3
    Sun     El Paso     Dec. 31  CBS    Pac-10 #3 vs. Big Ten #5
    Cotton  Dallas      Jan. 1   CBS    Big 12 #2 vs. WAC #1/ Pac-10 #2
    Rose    Pasadena    Jan. 1   ABC    Pac-10 #1 vs. Big Ten #1

Matt Cercone
Tight End Matt Cercone

Three Dot Data: J.R. Redmond's 21 rushing attempts at Washington was a career high ... the Huskies were the first team to score a TD vs. the Sun Devils in the first quarter ... ASU has given up just two passing TDs and three rushing TDs this season ... ASU's offensive performance against Washington was one of its worst in recent memory as the 231 total yards was the fewest since the 1992 Arizona game (Nov. 21, 191 yards), the 15 first downs was the fewest since Oct. 28, 1995, at Oregon (14) and the 51 net rushing yards was the fewest since Oct. 22, 1994, vs. Washington State ... FS Mitchell Freedman's 15 tackles at Washington was a career high ... TE Matt Cercone has caught a TD pass in the last two games, both 14 yards ... six players have interceptions for ASU this year ... LB Pat Tillman's two interceptions against Oregon State was a career high and the first time since 1991 that ASU has had a player with two picks. Adam Brass and Darren Woodson both had two INTs a piece against Cal in '91 ... TE Kendrick Bates' 38-yard catch vs. Oregon State was a career high ... ASU's 10 points against BYU was its fewest since a 31-0 loss to USC on Sept. 30, 1995 and its fewest at home since a 47-10 loss to Miami on Sept. 10, 1994 ... the 13 points ASU allowed to BYU in the loss was the fewest points allowed by ASU in a loss since a 13-6 defeat against USC in 1990 ... TE Kendrick Bates' team-high five catches against BYU was a career best ... when Michael Martin and J.R. Redmond each ran for over 100 yards against Miami, it was the first time since 1979 that the Hurricanes had allowed two rushers to do that in the same game ... the 23-12 win at Miami was the Hurricanes first loss in a home-opener since 1985 (Florida) ... the Hurricanes offense was held without a touchdown, the first time that has happened in the Orange Bowl since 1984 (Florida State) ... TB Marlon Farlow established a career high with a 36-yard run against New Mexico State ... TB J.R. Redmond's 176 yards rushing against New Mexico State was a career high ... Michael Martin's 26 carries against Miami is a career high ... prior to Farlow and Redmond each gaining 100 yards against Miami, the last time two backs rushed for 100+ yards each was last year when Terry Battle and Jeff Paulk did it against Oregon State ... Redmond's five catches against Miami was a career high ... WR Kenny Mitchell's 40-yard catch that led to ASU's game-clinching score at Miami was a career high ... PK Robert Nycz's three field goals at Miami tied a career high.

Bits & Bites: Butkus Award candidate Pat Tillman enjoys rock climbing and snow/water skiing ... OG Kyle Murphy plans on a career in sports journalism ... Lou Groza Award candidate Robert Nycz's father was a linebacker at Dartmouth .... DL Vince Amey hit a grand slam in high school ... former NBA star Sidney Moncreif is a relative of DT Albrey Battle ... the 6-3, 289-pound Battle can slam dunk a basketball ... WR Ricky Boyer's uncle, Tim Boyer, played football at San Diego State and in the WFL ... TB J.R. Redmond ran a 21.9 200-meter dash without practicing ... SS Damien Richardson was nominated and appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy before choosing ASU ... with a major in bioengineering, Richardson's summer job required him to determine why accidents with appliances happened ... OT Grey Ruegamer's uncle, Bob Frisbee, played football at the University of Minnesota and for the Minnesota Vikings ... OL Mike Barnes aspires to be an athletic trainer ... Barnes' father played football and ran track at Chico State ... S Phillip Brown's uncle, Donald Smith, played for the Green Bay Packers ... QB Steve Campbell's father was a four-time football letterman at Northern Arizona University ... CB J'Juan Cherry has a family lineage that includes his brother, Jerod, who was a defensive back at California; a cousin, Khalid Shabazz, who currently plays in the backfield at Cal; a cousin, Kwame Ellis, who is a defensive back at Stanford; and an uncle, Deron Cherry, played 11 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs ... CB Kareem Clark's cousin is former Houston Oiler Earl Campbell ... DL Leroy Hawkins is contemplating a career in the FBI ... ... Center Randy Leaphart's brother, Robert, lettered at Washington and played in the 1982 Rose Bowl ... WR Tariq McDonald's father, a semifinalist at the 1980 and 1984 Olympic trials in the 400m and 200m, was a member of the Phoenix Junior College 4x100 and 4x400 national championship team ... DL Hamilton Mee has a twin brother, Harrison, and twin sisters, Kim and Kelly ... RE Terelle Smith has eight brothers/sisters and has a black belt in karate ... FB Kevin Tommasini is one of seven kids ... Tommasini's father played football at Oregon ... LB Stephen Trejo is one of nine kids.

National Radio: Three Sun Devil games are slated for national radio broadcasts. Those three games are:

    Date        Game     Radio Network
    Sept. 20    BYU      Airspace Communications
    Oct. 11     USC      Westwood One
    Nov. 28     Arizona  Westwood One

On the Tube: Seven of ASU's 11 games are already scheduled for live television with the possibility of more games being added to the TV lineup as the season moves along. Games already scheduled this season include:

    Date        Game                TV
    Sept. 6     New Mexico St.      KTVK-TV
    Sept. 13    at Miami            CBS (65% of nation)
    Sept. 20    BYU                 Fox Sports Net (national)
    Oct. 4      at Washington       Fox Sports Net (national)
    Oct. 11     USC                 ABC (regional)
    Nov. 1      Washington State    Fox Sports Net (national)
    Nov. 28     Arizona             Fox Sports Net (national)

Home Page: ASU, in partnership with University Netcasting, launched its brand new official home page on the world wide web. The latest news, results and statistics can be found at www.TheSunDevils.com.

Weekly Press Conference: Bruce Snyder holds a weekly press conference every Monday prior to scheduled football games. The press conference is held at noon in the fifth-floor conference room at the ICA Building. Every effort will be made to arrange a teleconference with the opposing head coach and if possible, players will also be available.

Faxback: The Pac-10 offers a faxback service for the media to obtain releases, results and statistics. To obtain the faxback phone number, please contact either the Pac-10 office or ASU media relations. ASU Football's codes are:

    Release                 111050
    Notes/Depth Chart Only  111051
    Stats Only              111052
    Latest Game Stats       111053
    Latest Game Book        111054
    Schedule/Scoreboard     111055
    Roster                  111056

Satellite Feed: The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half hour feed airs every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PDT through Nov. 26. Coordinates for the feed are Telestar 5, Transponder 23 (C-Band). Trouble numbers: Master Control 310-286-3800 or Erin Heiny at 510-932-4411.

Pac-10 Teleconference: Every-other Tuesday beginning September 16, each head coach in the Pac-10 conference will be available for 10 minutes in a teleconference. Taped replays of the teleconference will also be available. The schedule is listed below. For the teleconference telephone number please contact the Pac-10 or Arizona State media relations.

    Days            Call Schedule (Pacific Time)
    Tue., Sept. 16   9:30 a.m.  Moderator opens call
    Tue., Sept. 30   9:35 a.m.  Mike Riley - Oregon State
    Tue., Oct. 14    9:45 a.m.  John Robinson - USC
    Tue. Oct. 28     9:55 a.m.  Tyrone Willingham - Stanford
    Tue., Nov. 11   10:05 a.m.  Tom Holmoe - California
                    10:15 a.m.  Dick Tomey -  Arizona
                    10:25 a.m.  Mike Price - Washington St.
                    10:35 a.m.  Bruce Snyder - ASU
                    10:45 a.m.  Mike Bellotti - Oregon
                    10:55 a.m.  Bob Toledo - UCLA
                    11:05 a.m.  Jim Lambright - Washington

The Bruce Snyder Show: KTVK-TV/NewsChannel 3, the exclusive television station of Arizona State athletics, is also the home of "The Bruce Snyder Show," each Saturday of the ASU football schedule. Snyder will join host Tim Healey to provide in-depth coverage of ASU football. The show airs at noon each Saturday the Sun Devils play.

Snyder on the Radio: Bruce Snyder joins KMVP host Brad Cesmat for a weekly call-in show on the Sun Devils' flagship radio station. "Talk To The Coach" airs each Tuesday from 6:45 - 7:15 p.m.

Radio Network: KMVP (860 AM) is the flagship station of the ASU Radio Network which includes:

    Station         City
    KTAR (620 AM)   Phoenix
    KAAA (1230 AM)  Kingman
    KATO (1230 AM)  Safford
    KDJI (1270 AM)  Holbrook
    KIKO (106.1 FM) Globe/Miami
    KTUC (1400 AM)  Tucson
    KVWM (970 AM)   Show Low
    KYBC (1600 AM)  Cottonwood
    KYCA (1490 AM)  Prescott

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