Arizona State’s game at LSU — a campus that, in Hurricane Katrina’s wake, is getting more crowded by the day — is still set to be played on Sept. 10, but that status remains day to day.
ASU athletic director Lisa Love said on Thursday that all options remain, including switching the site from Baton Rouge to Tempe or canceling the game altogether.
"We have offered to cooperate in any way, and that includes saying we’re ready to host," Love said. "We’ll put this game together, and I know this area would embrace it. We told them that. If they feel like it is too difficult for their program to play, we’ll cancel.
"But the LSU people are of the mind-set that they’d like to play the game in Baton Rouge if possible."
Refugees from the greater New Orleans area, which was evacuated, have more than doubled the population of Baton Rouge. The LSU campus is one of several sites designated as shelters.
Love said the schools have not yet imposed a deadline for a decision.
Two years ago, Sun Devil Stadium was readied in less than 48 hours to host a "Monday Night Football" contest between the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers after fires in southern California forced an alternate game site. Things went off smoothly, earning ASU rave reviews.
"We’ve already discussed the security and logistical planning should it be necessary," Love said. "And this university and community has had a dress rehearsal and done it successfully.
"I think the community embrace for this would be phenomenal. I know the Sun Devils would support the Tigers."
An alternate site in Louisiana, such as Lafayette, has been reported as a possibility, but Love said that has not come up in talks with LSU.
Junior-college transfer Zach Catonese, in his first game for the Sun Devils, started at safety and displayed a nose for the ball.
On Temple’s second series, the 6-foot-2, 226-pounder foiled an option by fighting through a block and tripping up Owls tailback Umar Ferguson. On two occasions, he chased down Ferguson from behind near the sideline.
"I’m kind of a tweener — I’m pretty big, not really big, but fast enough to step up in the box and make some hits and tackles," Catonese said. "And I can also cover if I need to."
In the months before the 2004 season, Jesse Ainsworth got stronger in hopes of increasing the distance of his kickoffs. He was pleased with the results, as he averaged 64.7 yards per boot with 43 touchbacks.
This offseason, the junior concentrated more on mechanics, working on a more compact approach to the ball.
On Thursday, most of Ainsworth’s kicks sailed high and to the back of the end zone.
After Temple’s secondquarter safety, Ainsworth’s kick from the 20-yard line was caught at the Owls’ 1.
"I think everything helped a lot, especially with kickoffs and getting the ball into the end zone and being confident on long field goals," Ainsworth said. "I’m trying to get the ball up more."
A moment of silence was held before the game to honor the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the memories of high school sports historian Barry Sollenberger, who died this summer, and Brandon Falkner, a former ASU player killed in the March 26 shooting that involved ex-Sun Devil Loren Wade. . . .
Defensive end Kyle Caldwell, who was limited in camp while recovering from knee surgery, started. As expected, starting cornerback R.J. Oliver (quadriceps) and reserve tailback Cornell Canidate (hamstring) sat out.
Quency Darley, who started at defensive tackle, left the game early in the second half with a leg cramp.