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‘One of the biggest games I’ve played’

Oregon State linebacker Keaton Kristick looked ahead to today's game at Arizona State in his weekly column for the Sporting News today, a trip home for the Arizona native that drove past Sun Devil stadium every day on his way to high school.


For SN Today


This game at Arizona State is probably one of the biggest games I've played in a while. I've been looking forward to it ever since I committed to Oregon State. I went to high school at St. Mary'sin downtown Phoenix, and I used to drive an hour each way. I would always pass by Sun Devil Stadium,and sometimes I would wish to play there someday. So to have the opportunity to play there in front ofmy family during my senior season means a lot to me.


The trip provides Kristick with a rare opportunity to catch up with family.

We have our team meal at the hotel, but I have the opportunity to escape for a little bit and hang outwith my family. I have a sister that goes to the University of Arizona, a brother that goes to Northern Arizona

University and an older brother that lives in the area. So we'll all get together and go get something to eat. I only get back in town about twice a year, so I'm really looking forward to that.


The game is a reunion on several levels as well.

I'll have anywhere from 15 to 20 people at the game, mostly family and friends from high school. Sometimes

it seems like I can hear my dad from the field no matter where it is. It's kind of funny, you can always hear a voice or something. I found my dad in the crowd at Penn State's place. That was kind of weird.

I know quite a few players for Arizona State. A kid that went to my high school, James Morrison, plays running back. I hosted their tight end. I met Mike Nixon, a linebacker, at Pac-10 media day. Mike Callaghan, a safety, I played against in high school. Of course, you step on the field and you're not wearing my color anymore ...

It should be a good game. We haven't beaten Arizona State in Tempe since the 60s. I think it really will come down to their defense. They play really good defense and have a system offense and a really good coaching staff.

Unfortunately, I'm a little banged up right now. At one point in the Arizona game last week, I threw my body into a tackle, and I was down for a couple of seconds. I blacked out a little bit, which is always cool-whenever you do it, you always get up and giggle, like, "All right, let's go." But this time, I woke up a little bit, and my shoulder

was straight-up numb. It kind of freaked me out a little bit. So the lesson: Don't just throw your body in there. You might get mangled one of these times.

-      As told to Jim Ryan