When Arizona State players were informed Monday that Saturday’s football game against Louisiana State was being moved from Baton Rouge, La., to Sun Devil Stadium, the news was met with relief and support.
"I feel it was the right decision considering everything that’s going on," ASU center Grayling Love said. "I definitely wouldn’t want to take a hotel space of someone who’s helping out with the relief effort (for Hurricane Katrina). . . . To take away any supplies or any hotel rooms from those people would not have been right. They need it more than we do."
Sun Devil players had their program’s first date with a team from the Southeastern Conference marked on their calendars for months but were fine giving up the road trip as conditions in Baton Rouge became more clear.
The population of the city has more than doubled since Katrina drove refugees out of New Orleans and other population centers on the Gulf Coast last week.
The city and university have been turned into a fallback point for evacuees and a staging area for relief workers. LSU’s Maravich Assembly Center near Tiger Stadium has been turned into a temporary morgue and field hospital and the stadium’s parking lots are being used as a headquarters for the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Instead of playing under such conditions, players said they were looking forward to a game atmosphere similar to that which they experienced when they defeated highly ranked Iowa before a sellout crowd at Sun Devil Stadium last season.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill said he was just glad to have the situation resolved.
"To be honest, it’s kind of a relief just knowing whether it’s in Louisiana or here," he said. "It just didn’t make sense. It’s a tragedy what’s going on down there, so we’re fortunate to have this game going on and not have it canceled. It’s an exciting thing to play LSU regardless of the setting."
EXTRA POINT: Game balls for ASU’s win over Temple went to running back Keegan Herring on offense, safety Maurice London on defense and kicker Jesse Ainsworth on special teams. London was also named a captain for this week’s game.
The week’s scout team awards went to offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao on offense, defensive tackle Tashaka Merriweather on defense and linebacker Brett Nenaber on special teams.