Not all of the seats at Sun Devil Stadium were filled for Saturday, but each ticket was sold — giving Arizona State football a chance to achieve something it has not in two decades: Three straight home sellouts.
The announced attendance for the visit by California was 71,706, exactly stadium capacity. The game against Southern California on Thanksgiving night is a sellout, and a full house is probable for the rivalry contest against Arizona on Dec. 1.
“Our fans have been great,” first-year ASU coach Dennis Erickson said last week. “We’re starting to fill (the stadium) up. I hope we can sell out for the Cal game and down the road, because that’s what it’s about.”
In 1987, with the Sun Devils enjoying the fruits of their first Rose Bowl appearance the previous year, the first five home games — against Pacific, Nebraska, Texas-El Paso, Washington State and UCLA — sold out. The capacity of Sun Devil Stadium at the time was 70,021.
The stadium expanded in 1988 to its current number of seats.
ASU’s last season with at least three capacity crowds was 1996, when the Washington, Nebraska, USC and California games sold out. However, only the USC and Cal contests were consecutive.
Before Saturday, the previous sellout at Sun Devil Stadium was for ASU’s game against USC on Oct. 1, 2005.
FRONT AND CENTER
After serving as an injury replacement in 2004 and ’05, Mike Pollak has had the Sun Devils’ center position all to himself since the start of last year. He has developed into one of the best in college football.
The 6-foot-4, 292-pound senior, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection a season ago, is a serious candidate for All-America recognition.
“From a personal standpoint, it’s an honor to be known around the nation for the work that I’ve put in,” Pollak said. “But I want to be recognized at the end of the season with my team. That’s more important to me than personal stuff.”
Pollak replaced the injured Drew Hodgdon for the first four games in 2004 and filled-in for Grayling Love for the final five games in ’05. Certainly, some of the attention coming his way is due simply to people finding out about him.
But he has elevated his game, too.
“I hope I’ve gotten better every game,” Pollak said. “But I know it helps when your team has a good record. People are coming here, trying to figure out why we are winning.”
The win-total bonus clauses in Erickson’s contract have kicked in. Erickson earned an extra $50,000 for the Sun Devils’ eighth victory of the season.
He receives a $100,000 bonus for a ninth regular-season win, $200,000 for a 10th, $300,000 for an 11th and $400,000 for a 12th.
Erickson, who is paid a guaranteed $5.6 million in a deal that runs through 2011, can earn up to $1.15 million per season in on-field bonuses.
Reserve tight end Tyrice Thompson on Saturday collected ASU’s first blocked field goal since Oct. 14, 2000, when Mike Pinkard had one against Washington.