Dec. 10, 2012
TEMPE -- The Arizona State University Sun Devils will wrap up the 2012 season with their second consecutive bowl appearance as the team prepares to take on the Navy Midshipmen at the 12th Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The Sun Devils are riding the wave of a two-game winning streak that includes a rout of Washington State followed by a classic fourth-quarter comeback to upheave in-state rival Arizona. This will mark the first-ever meeting between Arizona State and Navy. The game is set to kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The game will take place at AT&T Park - home of the 2012 MLB World Series Champion San Francisco Giants - in San Francisco, Calif. ASU is 568-362-24 (.608) all-time on the gridiron.
ON THE AIR: The MidFirst Bank Sun Devil-IMG Sports Network carried all 12 of ASU's football games live on its 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action with Doug Franz reporting from the sidelines. This Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be broadcast on 92.3 KTAR FM. Touchdown Radio will provide a live national broadcast of the contest with Roxy Bernstein on play-by-play with Gino Torretta serving as the analyst.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: The bowl matchup will be broadcast on ESPN2, marking the seventh time this season the Sun Devils have played on an ESPN affiliate. Dave Pasch and Brian Griese will provide the call from the booth while Jenn Brown will roam the sidelines.
SUN DEVILS vs. MIDSHIPMEN: The Sun Devils have never faced Navy in their history. The Midshipmen, who are currently 7-4 and finish their regular season against Army on Dec. 8 in Philadelphia, will be making their 18th all-time bowl appearance and ninth in the last 10 years. Navy's last postseason game was a 35-14 loss to San Diego State in the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl.
SUN DEVILS IN BOWL GAMES: Arizona State will be making its 26th bowl appearance and its second in the past two seasons. This will be the Sun Devils first appearance in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. ASU holds an all-time mark of 12-12-1 in bowl games, dating back to its first bowl appearance in 1940, a scoreless tie with Catholic University in the Sun Bowl. ASU's last bowl appearance was last season at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, a 56-24 loss to Boise State.
NOTABLE NUMBERS: A couple season statistics to keep an eye on for the bowl matchup:
--At 7-5, the Sun Devils posted their first winning season in the regular season since going 10-2 in 2007
--Marion Grice has a knack for finding the end zone, leading the team with 17 touchdowns this year. Grice needs one more touchdown to move into the top five on ASU's all-time single-season touchdown list
--ASU tight end Chris Coyle needs just three receptions to set the school record for tight end receptions in a season. He currently sits third on the all-time list with 53 while Zach Miller holds the record at 56. With five touchdown receptions, he also needs just one more to match the school record for tight end single season TD receptions - a mark held by Miller and Joe Petty
--The match against Navy will mark the first time this season that ASU has taken on an opponent with fewer penalties and penalty yards on the season, with Navy ranking second in categories nationally at 3.50 penalties per game for an average of 27.92 yards. ASU is 14th and 10th in those categories, respectively
--The Midshipmen will be the second-best rushing offense the Sun Devils have faced this season behind Oregon (323.25 ypg/3rd in nation). Navy brings the No. 6 rushing attack at 275.58 ypg in a category ASU's rushing defense ranks just 75th in the nation this year
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to beat Arizona 41-34 in the annual Territorial Cup matchup. Trailing 27-17 after Arizona scored 18 points in the third quarter, the Sun Devils (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) stormed back, turning two turnovers and a blocked punt into three touchdowns. Marion Grice had 18 rushes for 159 yards and three touchdowns on his way to being named the MVP of the contest. Senior linebacker Brandon Magee had a career-high 17 tackles in the contest - 14 of which were solo tackles. Jon Mora got the rally started with a field goal. Marion Grice, who ran for 156 yards, scored his third touchdown on a 4-yard run to tie the game after Keelan Johnson forced Arizona quarterback Matt Scott to fumble. Kevin Ayers blocked a punt to set up Cameron Marshall for an 8-yard touchdown to give Arizona State the lead. Robert Nelson then returned an interception 66 yards before Michael Eubank's 1-yard touchdown made it 41-27.
OTHER NOTES FROM ARIZONA:
--The Sun Devils now trail the all-time series against Arizona 38-47-1. ASU has also now won the past two meetings in Tucson after posting a 30-29 victory in double overtime in 2010
--The visiting team has won eight of the past 13 matchups between the two schools, while seven of the past nine games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
--Brandon Magee (104 tackles) is the first Sun Devil to have more than 100 tackles since Robert James had 106 in 2007.
--Eleven different Sun Devils have recorded an interception this season, which is tied for second in the nation for the most players with an interception. The team has 20 on the season
--Marion Grice had the first 100-yard rushing game since the first game of the season against NAU and is the only Sun Devil to reach 100 yards on the ground this season
GOLD RUSH: ASU is now averaging 190.8 yards per game on the ground, which is the third-best mark in the past 25 seasons (since 1988). Only the 234.1 yards per game put up by the 1996 Sun Devils and the 200.0 yards per game in 1997 are better. ASU also averaged 183.6 ypg in 1995.
STRIKE FIRST...STRIKE FAST: ASU has made a habit of scoring first this season, doing so 10 times in 12 games. ASU is 6-4 in such contests following the win against WSU. The Sun Devils scored on five consecutive possessions against the Utes (getting on the board first for the third time this season) 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. ASU has done itself favors early in games this year, outscoring opponents 124-63 in the frame and shutting out NAU, Illinois, Utah, Cal, Colorado and WSU. In addition, ASU has 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 a rout of the Fighting Illini or the Cougars (14 total drives), their longest lasting 2:59. The quick-hitting offense has been the staple of this year's team, with 47 of ASU's 54 offensive scoring drives this season coming in three minutes or less.
FINISH STRONGER: While ASU has gotten out to several fast starts this season, the team has closed even more impressively, allowing just 48 points on the season to anyone in the quarter and giving up its most by allowing 10 to UCLA and USC. ASU has shut out six teams in the fourth quarter this year and has outscored opponents 126-48 in the period.
PUSH `EM BACK: ASU has prided itself on its aggressive defense through four games this year, having forced 106 tackles for a loss of 452 total yards - a 8.83 TFL per game mark that currently ranks second in 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 already has five that have accomplished the feat (Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Davon Coleman, Brandon Magee and Chris Young). Not only is ASU getting into the backfield, but it has been a team effort as 19 different players have logged a TFL through the year. As a whole, ASU has a combined 143 defensive plays that have gone for a loss or no gain out of 886 offensive plays the opposition has run. That means an impressive 16.1 percent of the plays run by opponents this year have not advanced beyond the line of scrimmage. If you tack on incomplete passes to the mix, then ASU has forced 323 plays that did not result in positive yardage (36.5 percent of opponent's plays from scrimmage).
AN IMPRESSIVE YEAR: On the topic of tackles for loss, the Sun Devils are on pace to set some serious marks this season. With one game remaining the team's 106 tackles for loss are well within range of some of the marks set by some of the great defenses of the last 15 years. In that span, Terrell Suggs and Co. had 123 in 2002 and this year's Sun Devil team is right on the heels of those marks. Adam Archuleta, Pat Tillman, Jeremy Staat and friends had some impressive seasons in the late 1990s, posting 117 tackles for loss in 1998, 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 have posted double-digit TFL numbers. Only the 2000 squad (97 total TFL) had five players in double digits in school history.
SACK LUNCH: While those years of Archuleta and Friends had some impressive TFL numbers, they pale in comparison to the sack count ASU has put up this season. The Sun Devils have 48 sacks already this season, a mark that trails only the 1978 and 2002 Sun Devils, who had 64 and 52 respectively. This year's squad is within range of moving into number two in ASU history in the category. At 4.00 sacks per game, the Sun Devils are currently second in the nation. ASU has two Sun Devils with over 10 sacks this year (Carl Bradford and 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 Will Sutton. The Bednarik Award Semifinalist became ASU's 18th Consensus All-American and first since Thomas Weber in 2007 and the first defensive player since Terrell Suggs in 2002 after being named a Walter Camp, Sporting News and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) First-Team All-American. Sutton had at least one tackle for loss in every game he has played this season. Sutton has posted 20.0 tackles for loss on the season (leads team and seventh most in ASU history), 10.5 sacks (leads team) and 58 total tackles (sixth on team). Sutton is currently ranked fifth in the nation at 1.82 TFL per game and 13th in the nation with .95 sacks per game and ranks first and third, respectively, in the Pac-12 in both.
FOREVER YOUNG: One of the driving forces behind ASU's tackle for loss numbers has been SPUR linebacker Chris Young, who has 14.0 tackles for loss this season. His 1.17 TFL per game ranks tied for 40th in the nation and is currently tied for ninth in the conference. To put that number into perspective, Arizona State had no player with more than eight tackles for loss on the entire season in 2011 (Oliver Aaron finished with 8.0). With 75 total tackles, Young is third on the team.
GRICE, GRICE BABY: Marion Grice is proving to be one of the top junior college additions to the conference as he currently leads the team with 17 touchdowns (eight receiving, nine rushing) on the season. Grice had a coming out party against Colorado as he posted five receptions for 101 yards and three touchdowns - all career highs. Grice also had three touchdowns (two receptions, one rushing) against UCLA and three rushing TDs against NAU in the opener. 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 endzone has become commonplace, having posting touchdowns on 17 of his 128 offensive touches this year (13.3 percent). Grice is ranked third in the conference at 8.5 PPG. His eighth receiving touchdown against WSU moved him into first in the nation for receiving touchdowns by a running back and he is tied for 15th in the country in total touchdowns. This also makes him the all-time leader in running back touchdown receptions in the Pac-10/12 era for ASU. His three 100+ yard games this season lead the team and his 5.8 yards per rush this year also pace the squad.
THREE-HEADED MONSTER: Aside from the impressive defense and great quarterback play from Taylor Kelly, it has been ASU's stable of running backs that have helped propel the team this year, mainly on the backs of Cameron Marshall, Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. ASU running backs have have accounted for 32.5 percent of all the team's receiving yards this season. Of the 3,102 total receiving yards, running backs have collected 1,008. Grice, Marshall and Foster have accounted for 31 of the team's 51 total offensive touchdowns. Grice has 17 (nine rushing, eight receiving), Marshall with eight (seven rushing, one receiving) and Foster with six (two rushing, four receiving). That trio is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season. (1,536 yards, 317 attempts). Grice, Marshall and Foster are averaging 212.0 yards of total offense per game as a unit. The team is averaging 449.2 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 currently leads the team in all-purpose yardage with 1,-14 yards (492 rushing, 522 receiving). Foster is also second on the team in yards per carry (4.9) for those with over 30 carries and is second in yards per catch (14.5). His ability to make what the ASU coaching staff calls "explosive plays" (rushes of 12 or more yards, receptions of 16 or more yards) has helped him stand out amongst an offense full of talented players as he leads the team in such plays with 31 total (18 receiving and 13 rushing). Foster's 36 receptions are the second-most receptions by a freshman in a season in school history (Zack Miller holds the record with 56 in 2004). His 522 receiving yards are 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 now 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 has 15 interceptions on the season, a mark that has them tied for eighth in the nation.
WINNING BY WAY OF TKO (Taylor Kelly OFFENSE): While the running backs have been explosive for ASU this season, quarterback Taylor Kelly has been one of the many bright spots for the ASU offense. The sophomore is third in Pac-12 in passing efficiency at 153.34 and is 23rd in the nation in that category. His ability to extend plays has also been exceptional, as demonstrated by his 435 net rushing yards on 127 attempts this year - a mark skewed by the fact that sacks count against his rushing total. If you take out sacks, Kelly would lead the team in yardage with 643 rushing yards this season. Kelly now has 25 touchdowns on the season, tying for fifth in Arizona State history with Rudy Carpenter (2007) for touchdown passes in a single season. If the season were to end today, Kelly would also hold the school record for completion percentage (.659 percent, 224-340). The previous record was 61.8 percent set last season by Brock Osweiler (minimum 300 pass attempts). As if that weren't enough, Kelly quietly put together another school record, completing 18 consecutive passes against WSU to set the mark for most consecutive completions in a single game - topping the mark of 13 set by Dick Mackey against S.D. Navy in 1952. Additionally, Kelly has thrown just nine interceptions this season and the .026 interception percentage would rank second in school history among QBs throwing over 300 passes.
SECONDARY A PRIMARY: ASU's secondary has been among its driving forces this season. The unit ranks 12 nationally in passing defense (178.83) and is 11th in passing efficiency defense (105.16) and leads 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 20 interceptions this year (giving some love to the linebackers, who have six of those and have returned two for touchdowns) is tied for fourth in the nation. Additionally, ASU has 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 leads the way for ASU with five this year, including two against Washington State and he ranks tied for ninth in the country in total interceptions.
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. As of this release, Coyle is third in the nation in tight end receptions per game with 4.65 and 58.09. His 53 receptions lead the Sun Devils, as do his 659 receiving yards on the year. He currently ranks third in ASU history in single-season tight end receptions and needs three more to set the school record (Zach Miller holds the record with 56). Coyle also now has 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.
Chris Coyle Career Highs
Receptions: 10 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)
Receiving Yards: 131 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)
Longest Reception: 49 vs. NAU (8/30/12)
Touchdowns: 2 vs. Illinois (9/8/12)
Todd Heap Career Highs
Receptions: 8 at Notre Dame (10/9/99).
Receiving Yards: 170 vs. Arizona (11/27/99).
Longest Reception: 50 vs. California (10/7/00).
Touchdowns: 2 vs. Arizona (11/27/98).
Zach Miller Career Highs
Receptions: 10, twice, last at Washington State (11/5/05)
Receiving Yards: 102, at USC (10/16/04)
Receiving Touchdowns: 2, vs. Iowa (9/18/04)
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. On the year, ASU has had just 53 penalties for 429 yards. ASU leads the Pac-12 and is 10th in the nation with just 35.8 penalty yards per game. Here's a look at ASU's lowest single game penalties since 2006, six of which having come this year:
FEWEST SINGLE-GAME PENALTIES SINCE 2006
Pen/Yards -- Opponent (Date)
1-5 -- Vs. Illinois (2012)
1-5 --vs. Washington State (2006)
2-10 -- Vs. Oregon (2012)
1-15 -- Vs. Cal (2012)
3-20 --Vs. UCLA (2006)
3-20 -- Vs. USC (2007)
3-30 -- Vs. OSU (2012)
4-30 -- Vs. WSU (2012)
4-30 -- Vs. NAU (2012)
4-35 -- Vs. UNLV (2008)
4-31 -- Vs. Washington (2010)
4-35 -- Vs. USC (2010)
4-40 -- Vs. UC Davis (2011)
MARSHALL OF THE TOUCHDOWN: With his game-winning rushing touchdown against Arizona, Cameron Marshall has rushed for 36 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, just behind just Woody Green (43).
Most Career Rushing TDs in ASU History
TDs -- Player, Years
43 -- Woody Green, 1971-73
36 -- Cameron Marshall, 2009-Present
34 -- Leon Burton, 1955-58
32 -- J.R. Redmond, 1996-99
28 -- Art Malone, 1967-69
25 -- Ben Malone, 1971-73
23 -- Nolan Jones, 1958-61
RETURN RECORD: Jamal Miles now has 1,789 kickoff return yards in his career. 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 has 77 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.
WELCOME BACK, BRANDON: After sitting out Arizona State's victory against Illinois, senior Brandon Magee made up for lost time against Mizzou, collecting 12 tackles (eight solo) to lead the team while also nabbing his second interception of the season. Magee returned one 45 yards for his first career pick-six against NAU in the opener. Magee also had 12 tackles against Oregon State and matched his previous career high with 13 against USC. He currently is third on the team with 5.5 sacks on the season. Against Utah, Magee forced one fumble and recovered another while adding 10 tackles as he has proved to be a force to be reckoned with from his linebacker position. 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 that one game, Magee currently leads the team with 104 tackles and is second in the conference at 9.45 tackles per game. Magee missed the entire 2011 season with an Achilles injury. He now has 222 career tackles.
HOLDING DOWN THE FORT: The ASU defense has done an admirable job of limiting opponent's following turnovers by the offense. On the season, ASU's opponents have scored on just 39.1 percent of their drives following an ASU turnover and have scored just six touchdowns in that span on 21 turnovers. Conversely, the ASU offense has put points in the bank on 69.0 of its conversion opportunities and has scored 18 touchdowns off of 29 turnovers forced. ASU has outscored opponents 132-51 in points off turnovers.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP: The 2012 Sun Devil roster features 17 seniors, many of which have played pivotol roles as the season has gone on. Senior RB Cameron Marshall, OL Andrew Sampson, LB Brandon Magee and S Keelan Johnson have been named captains for the 2012 season.
JUST KICKING IT: Alex Garoutte bumped his extra point streak to 96 against Arizona, going 5-for-5 on extra points. He is now 103-of-104 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 Taylor Kelly made his first career start against NAU and followed Danny Sullivan (2009), Steven Threet (2010) and Brock Osweiler (2011) as the fourth different quarterback to start on opening day since Rudy Carpenter started three straight from 2006-08. Sullivan and Threet were making their first career starts period, while Osweiler had made a start later in the season in 2009 and 2010. Since 1997, ASU quarterbacks making their first career start are 9-5. According to research done by Jack Duggan at the University of Southern Mississippi, Arizona State is one of just 13 FBS schools that returned no quarterback with a start for the 2012 season. That list included: Akron, Arizona State, Boise State, East Carolina, Hawai'i, LSU, Memphis, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Stanford and Texas A&M.
ASU QB FIRST CAREER STARTS SINCE 1997
Taylor Kelly 2012/N. Arizona/W, 63-6 15/19, 247 yards, 1TD, 0 INT
Steven Threet 2010/Portland State, W, 54-9 14/21, 339 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brock Osweiler* 2009/Oregon, L, 44-21 5/10, 14 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Samson Szakacsy 2009/UCLA, L, 23-13 15/22, 197 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Danny Sullivan 2009/Idaho State, W, 50-3 13/25, 165 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rudy Carpenter 2005/Washington, W, 44-20 27/34, 401 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Sam Keller 2004/Purdue, W, 27-23 25/45, 370 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Chad Christensen 2002/Nebraska, L, 48-10 6/16, 77 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Andrew Walter 2001/Arizona, L, 34-21 10/22, 132 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Jeff Krohn 2000/San Diego St., W, 10-7 18/42, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Griffin Goodman 1999/Wake Forest, L, 23-3 10/16, 142 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Chad Elliott** 1998/Stanford, W, 44-38 OT 8/17, 92 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Steve Campbell 1997/Iowa, W, 17-7 5/11, 109 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Ryan Kealy 1997/New Mexico St., W, 41-10 11/19, 107 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
* -- Osweiler left the game early due to injury
** -- Elliott left the game early and Ryan Kealy led the team to the overtime victory
PUT ME IN, COACH: Jaxon Hood and D.J. Foster joined John Jefferson (1974), Terrell Suggs (2000), Zach Miller (2004) and Will Sutton (2009) as true freshmen to start season opener at ASU on offense or defense. The NCAA began allowing freshman to compete in 1972, with the 2012 season marking the 40 year 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, Easton Wahlstrom and Richard Smith in addition to Foster and Hood).
EARN YOUR KEEP: ASU has had 11 players score their first career touchdowns this season: Taylor Kelly (pass), D.J. Foster (rush), Brandon Magee (INT return), Marion Grice (rush), Michael Eubank (rush), Richard Smith (reception), Chris Coyle (reception), Darwin Rogers (reception), Anthony Jones (INT return), Junior Onyeali (fumble return) and Alden Darby (INT return). Brandon Magee put his name on the top of that list with a 45-yard pick-six against NAU - his first defensive touchdown ever. 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 was among the best punters in the nation when it came to pinning opponents down the field, finishing the year tied for 17th in the nation with 24 punts inside the 20. He's back at it again in 2012 as he now has 20 punts on the year inside the 20 (out of 52 total punts) and is averaging 47.1 yards per punt, a mark that is first in the conference (with 40 or more punts) and is third in the nation and would also give him the school's single-season record (46+ attempts).. He also has 22 punts of over 50 yards this season, good enough to lead the Pac-12. The next closest in the Pac-12 entering today is 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 that have downed the opponents inside the 20 on seven of those.
IF YOU GOT IT, FLAUNT IT: The Sun Devils played seven true freshmen in their season opener against NAU (Evan Goodman, Laiu Moekiola, Carlos Mendoza, Richard Smith, D.J. Foster Jaxon Hood and long snapper Easton Wahlstrom). The school record for true freshmen playing in season is 10, set back in 2008. According to research done by Colorado Dave Plati, the three true freshmen that started at their positions (Foster, Hood and Wahlstrom) ties with Washington for the most in the conference in the first week of action.
EMERSON HARVEY: Arizona State University football will commemorate a milestone this season by honoring Emerson Harvey, the school's first African-American football student-athlete 75 years ago and played a major role in breaking the color barrier throughout the Southwest. The Sun Devils will recognize Harvey, who joined the roster in 1937, with black-and-white circular helmet stickers with Harvey's jersey number (57).
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. At 36.4 points per game, ASU currently ranks 21st nationally in scoring offense.
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 -- one at Pittsburgh and three at Tulsa -- Graham's teams have rushed the ball on at least 53.4 percent of their total plays. In 2008, Tulsa rushed on 61.4 percent of its total plays. Last year, ASU rushed 44.5 percent of the time.
--Over the past six seasons at Pitt, Tulsa and Rice, only one Graham-coached team has ranked outside the top 50 nationally in sacks. Last year, Pittsburgh averaged 3.31 sacks, which ranked third nationally.
--In six seasons, Graham is 19-17 in true road games. Over the past four, ASU is 5-16.
--In five of the past six years, Graham's teams have ranked 39th or better nationally in fewest penalty yards per game. In 2008, Tulsa averaged just 37 penalty yards, which ranked 11th in the nation. Last season, Pitt averaged 39.5, which ranked 18th.
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 since it allowed 42 vs. Idaho State on Sept. 5, 2009. It marks the fewest allowed in a conference game since Nov. 2, 1996, when ASU's Pac-10 Conference title team allowed just 20 at Oregon State.
FEWEST PASSING YARDS ALLOWED (1996-Present)
20, @ Oregon State (Nov. 2, 1996)
33, @ Nebraska (Aug. 24, 2002)
42, vs. Idaho State (Sept. 5, 2009)
44, vs. Iowa (Sept. 18, 2004)
48, vs. #2 Oregon (Oct. 18, 2012)
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.
ASU KICKOFF RETURNS FOR TOUCHDOWNS (Since 2010)
Oct. 11, 2012 - Rashad Ross, 100 yards at Colorado
Dec. 22, 2011 - Rashad Ross, 93 yards vs. Boise State (Vegas Bowl)
Nov. 12, 2011 - Jamal Miles, 95 yards at Washington State
Sept. 1, 2011 - Jamal Miles, 98 yards vs. UC Davis
Nov. 26, 2010 - Jamal Miles, 99 yards vs. UCLA
Nov. 6, 2010 - LeQuan Lewis, 100 yards at USC
Sept. 18, 2010 - Omar Bolden, 97 yards at #11 Wisconsin
PUTTING ON A SHOW: ASU racked up a 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.
MOST TOTAL YARDS IN A PAC-10/12 GAME (1996-Present)
Yards -- Opponent
667 -- #7 Oregon (Oct. 28, 2000)
651 -- @ Arizona (Nov. 23, 1996)
623 -- Oregon (Nov. 15, 1997)
597 -- #5 Oregon (Sept. 25, 2010)
595 -- UCLA (Nov. 26, 2010)
593 -- @ Colorado (Oct. 11, 2012)
591 -- Oregon (Sept. 28, 1996)
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 currently rank 10th in fewest penalties (4.18) and fifth in fewest penality yards per game (31.3).
PENALTY YARDS UNDER Todd Graham (National Rank)
Year, School / Pen. YPG / Pen. PG
2006, Rice / 34th / 59th
2007, Tulsa / 73rd / 50th
2008, Tulsa / 11th / 11th
2009, Tulsa / 39th / 10th
2010, Tulsa / 22nd / 6th
2011, Pitt / 73rd / 91st
2012, Arizona State / 10th / T-14th
THE ALTERNATIVE DEFINITION OF "SCORING DEFENSE": Scoring defense is an official statistic credited to defenses based on how many points they allow The ASU defense is re-writing that definition, having scored on four turnovers this season. ASU has three interceptions returned for touchdowns this year (Alden Darby - 70 yards at USC, Anthony Jones - 36 yards vs Oregon and Brandon Magee - 45 yards vs NAU) and one fumble recovery for a touchdown (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 has had a hand in 134 of the 437 (30.7 percent) points scored for ASU this season.
NOT IN OSAHON's HOUSE: Junior defensive back Osahon Irabor has been a force this year, collecting 13 passes broken up on the season to lead the team. What's more impressive is that he hasn't had a pass interference called against him all season. The 13 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 Keelan Johnson. Johnson had three interceptions over the course of the final two games of the season and has five total this year - leading the team and ranked in a tie for ninth overall in the nation. In addition, it was Johnson's strip of Matt Scott in the fourth quarter against Arizona that led to ASU's game-tying drive and set the tone for the win. He, too, has 13 pass break-up's on the season in addition to being the team's second-leading tackler with 81. He now has eight career interceptions, which is tied for the second most by a Sun Devil since 2000. 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.
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).