Sept. 12, 2011
TEMPE, Ariz. -
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|TV: The Big Ten Network||Radio: 92.3 FM/SIRIUS 135|
After a thrilling 37-30 overtime victory over Missouri, the Sun Devils of Arizona State will hit the road for the first time in 2011 as they travel to Champaign, Illinois for a meeting with the Big Ten's Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, September 17 at Memorial Stadium. Against the Tigers, Brock Osweiler threw for 353 and three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Sun Devils to victory. Illinois enters the contest 2-0 after beating South Dakota State 56-3 in Champaign.
ON THE AIR: The IMG-Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action. The Illinois game will air on 92.3 FM.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: The Big Ten Network will televise the match-up between the Sun Devils and the Illini. Eric Collins and Chris Martin will call the action with Dionne Miller on the sidelines.
SUN DEVILS VS. FIGHTING ILLINI: Arizona State and Illinois have played each other two previous times, with the Sun Devils coming out on top in both of the meetings. ASU opened the 1987 season in Champaign by beating Illinois 21-7. The Illini traveled to Tempe in 1988, falling 21-16 to the Sun Devils in Larry Marmie's first game as ASU head coach.
COACH ERICKSON VS. IllINOIS: Dennis Erickson has faced Illinois once before in his head coaching career. The Washington State Cougars opened their 1988 season with a trip to Memorial Stadium in Champaign, drubbing the Illini 44-7.
ASU VS. THE BIG Ten: Arizona State is 15-13 all-time against current Big Ten teams. ASU is 3-9 in Big Ten stadiums, including last season's loss at Wisconsin. ASU has faced every team in the conference except Indiana. The Sun Devils have faced Big Ten opponents six times in bowl games, going 4-2. Seven of the 28 games that ASU has played against Big Ten teams were against Nebraska, which is in its first season in the conference.
VICTORY OVER A RANKED OPPONENT: With the 37-30 overtime win over then #19/21 Missouri, Arizona State earned their first victory over a ranked opponent since a 31-20 win over #18 California on October 27, 2007. It was the 28th win over a ranked opponent in head coach Dennis Erickson's career.
SNAPPING THE TIGER'S STREAK: Missouri came to Tempe riding a 22-game non-conference regular season winning streak. The loss to ASU was Missouri's first to an opponent not from the Big XII during the regular season since a loss to New Mexico in 2005.
IN THE POLLS: The Sun Devils are ranked #22 in the AP Poll and #18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. They were ranked #23 in the Coaches Poll and unranked in AP heading into the Missouri game. This is ASU's first appearance in the AP Poll since a #15 ranking on September 7, 2008.
MISSOURI RECAP: After letting a 14-point fourth quarter lead slip away, the Sun Devils were able to recover and get a touchdown and a defensive stop when they needed them, beating Missouri 37-30 in overtime. ASU led 30-16 37 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers pulled even with 2:50 left. Mizzou had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but a 48-yard field goal try went wide left, sending the game to overtime. Brock Osweiler stepped up and led the Devils to a touchdown, an 11-yard strike to Jamal Miles. Then the ASU defense did their job, keeping the Tigers out of the end zone to preserve the victory. Miles caught two TD passes and threw a TD, while Aaron Pflugrad had two TD grabs for the second straight week. Osweiler threw for 353 yards and three scores and ran for another.
PFEELING THE PFLOW: Aaron Pflugrad had a night to remember against Missouri. The senior wideout tied a career-high with eight catches and set a new career-high with 180 yards. He also scored two touchdowns for the second straight week.
MR. VERSATILE: Jamal Miles has done a little bit of everything over the first two weeks of the 2011 season. In the opener against UC Davis, he returned a kickoff 98-yards for a touchdown. Against Missouri, he put on a touchdown clinic, catching two touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime, and threw a touchdown pass. It was the first touchdown pass of his career on his second career completion.
RUNNING FOR MILES: Jamal Miles returned his second career kickoff for a touchdown against UC Davis, bringing it back 98 yards. It was the second consecutive game in Sun Devil Stadium Miles has returned a kick for a score, as he had a 99-yarder in last season's home finale against UCLA. Miles joins teammate Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White as the only Sun Devils in school history with two career kickoff return touchdowns. It was the sixth kickoff return for touchdown the Sun Devils have had since Dennis Erickson took over as head coach in 2007, the most under one coach in school history.
MANNING AWARD STAR OF THE WEEK: Brock Osweiler was named a Manning Award Star of the Week for his performance against Missouri. He was one of eight Stars of the Week, and a fan vote will determine the Manning Award Player of the Week.
DEBUT DEVILS: 21 student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State this season: Rashad Wadood, Alex Garoutte, Anthony Jones, Kipeli Koniseti, Carl Bradford, Tyler Sulka, Kevin Ozier, Ezekiel Bishop, Josh Hubner, Jamil Douglas, Jordan McDonald, Davon Coleman, Rashad Ross, Mike Bercovici, Sil Ajawara, Kevin Ayers, Marcus Washington, Taylor Kelly, Angelo Magee, Chike Mbanefo and Gannon Conway. Wadood, Bishop and Bercovici are all true freshmen.
MORE FIRSTS: Several Sun Devils recorded milestone "firsts" in the win over UC Davis. Quarterback Brock Osweiler made his first career start at Sun Devil Stadium. His previous two career starts came at Autzen Stadium against Oregon (2009) and at Arizona Stadium against the Wildcats (2010). Quarterbacks Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly each threw their first pass completion in their first career action. Running back Marcus Washington scored his first career touchdown in his first career game. Wide receivers Chris Coyle, Jarrid Bryant, Kevin Ozier, Angelo Magee and Rashad Ross all made their first career receptions.
PAC-12 PREDICTIONS: Arizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the annual media poll. Oregon, who ASU will face in Eugene on October 15, has been picked to win the Pac-12 North. The winners of the two divisions will face each other in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2.
NOEL HUDDLE OFFENSE: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone always says how the Sun Devils can score in a hurry, and they have not let him down this season. Arizona State's first two touchdown drives of the UC Davis both took under 1:10. Last season, ASU had 11 scoring drives that took under 1:10. Against Missouri, ASU had an eight second scoring drive.
DUAL THREAT: Cameron Marshall has a well deserved reputation as one of the top running backs in the Pac-12, but he proved against UC Davis that he is just as dangerous through the air. Marshall caught four passes for 86 yards against the Aggies, setting a new career high. His previous high was 45 yards last season against USC, but he topped that mark on his first reception of the year, a 47-yard pitch-and-catch on the first offensive play of the season. He also ran for two touchdowns in the opener.
THREE AND OUT: The 2010 ASU defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offenses into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 4.08 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 49 in their 12 contests. That placed them in the top 20 in the nation. So far in 2011, ASU has forced opponents into five three-and-outs.
PUSH `EM BACK: In 2010, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2010 with 143 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 307 yards lost for the offense. Against Missouri, the Sun Devil defense totaled 14 plays of negative or no gain for the Tigers, for 26 yards lost.
SEASON OPENERS: Following the season opening win over UC Davis, Arizona State is now 70-27-2 (.717) all-time in season openers, including victories in the last nine. The Sun Devils have won 12 of their past 13 season openers, and hold an all-time mark of 50-15-1 (.765) when opening the season at home. Head Coach Dennis Erickson is now 17-6 in season opening games in career as a collegiate coach. He is 5-0 in season openers as the head coach at Arizona State
ANOTHER DYNAMIC DEBUT: For the second straight season, a Sun Devil was named the Pac-10's Defensive Freshman of the Year. Junior Onyeali earned the award for 2010, after teammate Vontaze Burfict took home the award in 2009. Onyeali led the Sun Devils and all Pac-10 freshmen with 6.5 sacks for a loss of 61 yards. Of his 18 stops in 2010, 11.5 were for loss. Onyeali picked up where he left off, picking up a sack and two tackles for loss in the win over UC Davis.
100-YARD DUO: Running backs Cameron Marshall and Deantre Lewis are no strangers to having big games on the ground. Lewis has three career 100-yard games, while Marshall has two of his own. Lewis also has two 100-yard receiving games.
CORONA CENTENNIAL CONNECTION: The 2011 Sun Devils have seven student-athletes who played at Centennial High School in Corona, California in high school. Headlining the Centennial group is the linebacking trio of Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons. Wide receiver Angelo Magee, Brandon's brother, defensive lineman Will Sutton, quarterback Michael Eubank and wide receiver Jarrid Bryant also attended Centennial. Bryant graduated from Salisbury Prep in Connecticut, but began his high school career in Corona.
ALL-ACADEMIC: Nine members of the Sun Devils were honored as Academic All-Pac-10 selections in 2010, headlined by First Teamers Steven Threet and Dean DeLeone. It was the 12th straight season that ASU has had at least one First Team selection. Joining Threet and DeLeone were honorable mention selections Grandville Taylor, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Mike Marcisz, Aaron Pflugrad, Colin Parker and Thomas Weber. Parker also earned honorable mention in 2008, while Weber earned a selection for a fourth consecutive year. He was a First Team choice in 2007, Second Team in 2008 and honorable mention in 2009.
SENIOR CLASS: The 2011 Sun Devils will feature one of the largest senior classes in the nation, as there will be 27 seniors playing in their final season. The senior class includes: Linebacker Oliver Aaron, wide receiver George Bell, offensive lineman Chris DeArmas, safety Eddie Elder, safety Clint Floyd, defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, tight end Trevor Kohl, offensive lineman Nick Emanuele, linebacker Shelly Lyons, linebacker Brandon Magee, wide receiver Angelo Magee, wide receiver Gerell Robinson, offensive lineman Brice Schwab, wide receiver Mike Willie, cornerback Omar Bolden, offensive lineman Garth Gerhart, snapper Cameron Kastl, offensive lineman Dan Knapp, offensive lineman Mike Marcisz, offensive lineman Trent Marsh, defensive lineman Bo Moos, linebacker Colin Parker, wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad, offensive lineman Aderious Simmons, wide receiver T.J. Simpson, offensive lineman Adam Tello and defensive back Austin Williams.
BROCK'S TALLER THAN YOU: Quarterback Brock Osweiler checks in at six foot eight inches tall, making him the tallest quarterback in the FBS. Osweiler is one of nine QBs 6-6 or taller in the nation.
SELECT COMPANY: Head Coach Dennis Erickson is in select company when it comes to conference Coach of the Year awards. Coach Erickson is one of only two coaches in the nation to have six Coach of the Year trophies to his name. Erickson won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1988 (Washington State), 2000 (Oregon State) and 2007 (Arizona State) and Big East Coach of the Year honors in 1991, 1992 and 1994 (all with Miami). The only other coach with six Coach of the Year awards is South Carolina's Steve Spurrier.
TRUE FRESHMEN UNDER ERICKSON: Since Dennis Erickson took over in 2007, 27 true freshmen have played for the Sun Devils. This season, three (Mike Bercovici, Ezekiel Bishop, Rashad Wadood) have played. ASU saw a school record 10 play during the 2008 season.
SCHOLAR BALLERS: 22 Sun Devil football players have been named Scholar Ballers for their work in the classroom: Oliver Aaron, Sil Ajawara, Derrall Anderson, Mike Bercovici, Gannon Conway, Chris Coyle, Evan Finkenberg, Alex Garoutte, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Ronald Kennedy, Jr., Kody Koebensky, Shelly Lyons, Brandon Magee, Mike Marcisz, Trent Marsh, Kyle Middlebrooks, Colin Parker, Aaron Pflugrad, Max Smith, Grandville Taylor and Austin Williams.
NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Four of Arizona State's 12 regular season games have already been picked up for national television. The September 9 match-up with Missouri at Sun Devil Stadium was televised by ESPN. This week, September 17, ASU's game at Illinois will be shown on the Big 10 Network. ESPN or ESPN 2 will then air the following week's game with USC, and ESPN will show the regular season finale with California in Tempe on November 25.
HALL OF FAME: Pat Tillman entered the College Football Hall of Fame in July, the ninth Sun Devil enshrined. Tillman joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of Arizona State University in the College Football Hall of Fame.
HOME SWEET HOME: With its win over UCLA in the home finale last season, Arizona State won its 250th regular season game at Sun Devil Stadium. Sun Devil Stadium opened in 1958. The Sun Devils also won five Fiesta Bowls at Sun Devil Stadium.
EXPERIENCE: Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 68 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the third most experienced coaching duo in the nation.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Three Sun Devil quarterbacks have completed 49 this season, finding 13 different receivers. Last season, three ASU QBs combined to throw completions to 16 different receivers.
ASU HALL OF FAME: Two former Sun Devil football student-athletes are members of the 2011 ASU Hall of Fame class. Adam Archuleta, who played linebacker from 1997 to 2000, and Marvel Smith, an offensive lineman from 1997 to 1999, will both be inducted at halftime of the Oregon State game on October 1. Archuleta spent seven seasons in the NFL while Smith played nine seasons.
NO RANKING? NO PROBLEM: ASU just missed being ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll announced on Aug. 20. The last three times ASU finished in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll, it was not ranked in the preseason. ASU finished 14th in 1997 (9-3 with Sun Bowl win over Iowa under Bruce Snyder), 19th in 2004 (9-3 with Sun Bowl win over Purdue under Dirk Koetter) and 16th in 2007 (10-3 with Holiday Bowl loss to Texas under 2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Dennis Erickson).
HEALING UP: Despite suffering severe knee injuries during spring practice, both Omar Bolden and T.J. Simpson have played huge roles for the Sun Devils as they prepare for the 2011 season. Bolden has been mentoring the cornerbacks, imparting wisdom gained from his stellar career at ASU. On the other side of the ball, Simpson has been helping the wide receivers by sharing his knowledge from his time on the field. Both Bolden and Simpson continue to rehab their injuries.
ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS: After suffering a concussion during the UCLA game last season, quarterback Steven Threet was forced to end his playing days. However, Threet did not end his association with the Sun Devil football program. Threet is spending this season as a student coach as he works towards finishing his degree.
UNI-WATCH: Arizona State wore their traditional uniform combo for the season opener against UC Davis (gold helmet, maroon jersey, gold pants). They wore all black against Missouri.
DID YOU KNOW: With the win over Missouri, Dennis Erickson moved into a tie for fifth place on the all-time coaching wins list at Arizona State. It was his 27th win with the Sun Devils, tying him with College Football Hall of Famer Dan Devine. Devine left ASU following his 27th career win, a victory over Arizona, to take over as head football coach at Missouri.
UP NEXT: Arizona State will return home for its first ever Pac-12 game, hosting the USC Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 pm with ESPN or ESPN2 providing the television coverage.