The Key Information
Who: The Arizona State Sun Devils (Pac Ten) vs the Boston College Eagles (Big East)
When: Monday, December 25th at 3:30 Eastern Time, televised by ABC
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Here we have a bowl game pitting a Catholic University against a team called the
Devils to be played on Christmas Day a week prior to the turn of the true historical
Millennium in, of all places, Hawaii. At first glance you might think you are reading
the book jacket of Steven King's latest novel. But upon further review, you will realize
that this is quite simply Aloha Bowl 2000. I don't expect any battles of good versus
evil (after all, Notre Dame won't be there) but we should see a lot of offense and some
great athletes including several outstanding Sun Devils that most of us here on the
East Coast have never heard of. Chestnut Hill and Tempe are roughly 2,600
miles apart. Their paths rarely cross, but there are many similaries
between the two teams:
If both teams play to their potential, it should be a very entertaining game.
- Both teams wear maroon and gold
- Both teams finished the season with disappointing 6-5 records.
- Both teams fought injury and illness all season
- Both teams are looking for redemption following 1999 bowl blowouts losses
(Arizona State lost to Wake Forest 23-3, BC lost to Colorado 62-28)
Both coaches enter the game amidst controversy. Arizona State Head Coach Bruce Snyder
will be coaching his last game for the Sun Devils after being fired last month.
Meanwhile, Tom O'Brien has been widely rumored to be a candidate for some of the vacant
head coaching jobs around the country, including one at the University of Virginia
if current coach George Welsh retires after the season. Ironically, Welsh's Cavaliers
will also be in Hawaii to play in the December 24th Oahu Bowl.
Arizona State played to the level of their competition in 2000 and consequently ended
up in many close games. Seven of their eleven games were decided by seven points or less,
including three in overtime. The Sun Devils performed well against top competition,
beating current #22 ranked Colorado State, losing to #4 Washington by six points and losing
to #11 Oregon by one point in overtime. On the other hand, Arizona State struggled to
beat San Diego State and Washington State and lost to two teams with losing records -
Stanford and USC. The Eagles, by contrast, had no problems with the cupcake
portion of their schedule beating Army, Navy, Connecticut, Temple and Rutgers by a
combined score of 231-43. However, the Eagles lost by 12 points or more to all three
of their Top 25 opponents including a 52-6 blowout at #2 Miami.
The Arizona State Sun Devils
Because of injury, illness and suspensions, the Sun Devils were forced to use four
different quarterbacks during the 2000 season. Three year starter Ryan Kealy, who had
passed for more than 6,000 yards in his first three years at Arizona State, was
suspended by Coach Snyder prior to the start of the season following a pair of arrests
for driving under the influence. Kealy returned to the Sun Devils, but suffered a
season-ending knee injury in a September game with UCLA. Freshman quarterback Jeff
Krohn, who fought illness during the season, eventually emerged as the starter. Krohn
completed 48.8% of his passes for 1,677 yards and tossed 12 touchdown passes against
only 5 interceptions in 2000. His best game came on October 28th against Oregon where
he threw for 432 yards and 5 touchdowns in the Sun Devils 56-55 overtime loss to the
Ducks. Backup Griffin Goodman also saw a great deal of action behind the center this
season completing only 43.6% of his 110 passes for 877 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4
As with the quarterback postion, the Sun Devils were forced to scramble at running back because of
injury. Senior Delvon Flowers was expected to carry most of the load at running
back in 2000, but suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season.
Picking up the slack were former Idaho Vandal Tom Pace and true freshman Mike Williams.
Williams showed promise in the early part of the season which included a 143 yard
performance against Colorado State, but has since been relegated to a backup role due
to inconsistent play and his propensity for fumbling. Junior Tom Pace has emerged
as the #1 back for Bruce Snyder. Pace rushed for 581 yards and 5 touchdowns this season,
including a 33 carry, 158 yard performance against Oregon.
Arizona State placed three offensive linemen on this year's All Pac Ten teams.
Junior center Scott Peters and Senior right tackle Victor Leyva earned first
team honors while Junior left tackle Levi Jones gained second team honors. Despite
the talent level on the offensive line, Arizona State surrendered 37 quarterback
sacks this season.
Arizona State's passing attack is very impressive. Three Sun Devil receivers caught
at least 38 passes for 600 yards or more this season. The player to watch is All Pac
Ten first-team tight end Todd Heap, who caught 45 passes for 617 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Heap, a 6'5", 242 pound Junior from Mesa, was also named to the CNN-SI All American
team. At wide receiver, the Devils go to Junior Donnie O'Neal and Senior Richard
Williams. Each player caught seven touchdown passes in 2000.
Arizona State's defensive line is anchored by true Freshman and blue chip recruit
Terrell Suggs. The 6'5" defensive end sacked opposing quarterbacks 10 times this
season and brought home the Pac Ten Freshman of the Year award. The rest of Arizona
State defensive front four has been a disappointment. All told, Arizona State sacked
opposing quarterbacks 35 times in 2000, including four by right tackle Kurt Wallin
and three more by 6'8", 272 pound defensive end Quincy Yancy.
Linebacker is clearly the strength of the Arizona State defense. Pac Ten Defensive
Player of the Year Adam Archuleta accumulated 119 tackles - 86 of them solo - this
season. Archuleta, a Senior from Chandler, Arizona, also had 3 sacks, 4 fumble
recoveries and made 14 tackles for a loss. In the middle is Sophomore run-stopper
Solomon Bates, who racked up 93 tackles, 3 sacks and forced 4 fumbles.
The weakest link in ASU's defense is their secondary. The Devils were ranked 91st in
the nation in pass defense, allowing a hefty 234 yards per game this season. However,
the unit is not without talent. Senior cornerback Nijrell Eason is an excellent cover
man and led the team with 5 interceptions. Unfortunately for the Devils, the rest of
the secondary has failed to live up to expectations.
Arizona State Sophomore kicker Mike Barth converted only 15 of 23 field goals during the
season (65%), but was very accurate inside of 40 yards, connecting on 10 of 11
attempts. On the punting side, Junior Nick Murphy averaged a decent 41.1 yards per
punt, including 29 inside the 20 yard line. On the down side, Murphy had three kicks
blocked and two returned for touchdowns. Returning most of the kickoffs for the Sun
Devils was wide receiver Richard Williams who averaged 20.7 yards per kick return.
Shaun McDonald and Justin Talpin split the punt return duties. McDonald was the more
successful return man averaging 11.0 yards per return and one touchdown.
Special thanks to "NewEnglandDevil" for providing some great information on
the Sun Devils