September 7, 2008

Munns leads defense despite broken finger

Gerald Munns appeared to be everywhere Saturday, and was the Sun Devils' top defender against Stanford.

But Munns won't suit up when ASU plays UNLV next week.

He played against Stanford with a cast covering his broken left pinky, and will have surgery Tuesday to fix the finger.

Munns was given the decision whether or not he wanted to play Saturday, and Coach Dennis Erickson was happy he did.

"Gerald was all over the place and we needed him to do that," Erickson said. "We felt defensively that we had to be physical and Gerald was the leader as far as that goes. He made a lot of big plays."

Munns finished with seven tackles, one for a loss, along with his first career interception and a tipped ball that resulted in safety Troy Nolan's fourth quarter interception.

Munns injured his pinky in practice last week when his finger got caught in an offensive lineman's jersey.

Munns said his injury was in the back of his mind all game, but he tried his best to shut that thought out.

"There were some plays where I was a little hesitant," he said. "I wasn't able to get the same shock on linemen that I would if I had two hands. But no excuses. I was good enough to play."

The surgery will place three pins in the pinky that will help it heal properly.

Munns said he will be ready to face Georgia on Sept. 20, and he will play that game with a cast.

Looking at the defense as a whole, Munns said he was pleased with the effort it gave against Stanford, but that there is still room for improvement.

"We got a long way," he said. "We missed some wide open receivers. They should have had a touchdown probably in the second quarter when the quarterback overthrew that guy in the end zone.

"We bended a little bit, but the important thing is we didn't break."

Another record-setting performance

Last week quarterback Rudy Carpenter tied a school record by completing 13 consecutive passes.

This week the senior signal caller set an ASU record for the most passing yards in the first two games of the season with 733.

He threw for 345 yards against Stanford Saturday, and amassed 388 against Northern Arizona last week.

While Carpenter has continually said he thinks he still needs to improve, Erickson has had nothing but praise for his quarterback.

"He's just so accurate," Erickson said. "He understands, obviously, what's going on in this offense a lot better, but when he throws it they're very accurate throws."

The previous record was held by Sam Keller, who threw for 669 yards against Temple and LSU to open the 2005 season.

Tight ends involved

ASU spent a lot of time in double-tight end sets against Stanford, and the position was more active in the passing game Saturday night.

In all, tight ends made three receptions for 21 yards, and redshirt freshman Dan Knapp caught a touchdown pass from Carpenter in the fourth quarter.

"Dan Knapp made a great catch on the touchdown," Carpenter said. "It's important that those guys continue to step up because it builds confidence and it creates more depth."

Recruits on hand

There were at a number of standout football recruits in attendance to watch ASU take on Stanford, including ASU commits Kody Koebensky, Osahon Irabor and Shane McCullen.

Some of the others: Anthony Jones, Marcus Washington, Max Smith, Justin Jungblut, Drew Terrell, and Ryan Milus.

Also, 2009 basketball recruit Anthony Stover was in attendance for his first official visit, along with both of his parents and two siblings.

Additionally, 2010 basketball recruit Corey Hawkins was in attendance and he committed to ASU coaches during the first quarter.

Qucik hits

Mike Nixon started at weak-side linebacker over Ryan McFoy and totaled six tackles on the night.

Running backs Keegan Herring and Shaun DeWitty and defensive end Jamaar Jarrett all saw their first action of the season against Stanford.

Herring appeared to have re-injured his hamstring late in the game, but Erickson said he just "nicked" it and that he should be alright.

ASU only punted the ball once Saturday, and that came late in the fourth quarter.


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