September 21, 2004
What does the Arizona State football team see when it looks at Oregon State? In many ways, coach Dirk Koetter said, the Sun Devils see themselves.
Both teams use a 4-3 defense in which the cornerbacks love to press the receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Both teams like to employ a one-back offense.
Both teams have classic, pocket passing quarterbacks in Derek Anderson and Andrew Walter.
Both teams have standout receivers — OSU's Mike Haas and ASU's Derek Hagan are first and second in the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game — and both have big tight ends who are adept at catching passes.
But, just because the opponent plays a familiar brand of ball, Koetter said, that doesn't mean they will be easy to control.
“For our defense, this will be the most multiple-style offense they've faced," Koetter said. “Coach (Mike) Riley and his staff are among the most creative in our league."
The Beavers (1-2) are looking to build on their first win of the season — a 17-7 victory over New Mexico Saturday — following a close loss at defending national champ LSU and a surprisingly lopsided, 55-34 defeat at the hands of Boise State.
“When you watch the tape and see that score you're kind of expecting to just see Boise State marching up and down the field on them and they really didn't do that," said Koetter, noting that most of Boise's four interceptions caromed off OSU receivers' hands first. “The ball took a lot of funny bounces and almost all of them went against Oregon State.”
With a 3-0 record and a No. 22 AP ranking, ASU knows the importance of this game in setting the tone for the Pac-10 season. With a tough, four-game stretch at Oregon, at USC, home against UCLA and at Cal following this game, ASU must post a home win to entertain serious thoughts of a major bowl.
“We have to do what we've been doing this whole year," Walter said, “and that's going back to the basics."
EXTRA POINTS: Kicker Jesse Ainsworth was named the Pac-10's special teams player of the week and linebacker Jamar Williams was named the conference's defensive player of the week. Six of Ainsworth's nine kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks Saturday against Iowa and he was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts. Williams recorded nine tackles (four solo), including a sack, and intercepted a pass, returning it 31 yards to set up a touchdown.. . .
ASU officials said they have sold about 55,000 tickets thus far for Saturday's game with almost 16,000 remaining.. . . ASU's game at Oregon Oct. 2 will start at 7:15 p.m. and be carried by cable network TBS.