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Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Hill will play Saturday against California

Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State tailback and leading rusher Hakim Hill will be available Saturday when the Sun Devils (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP face California (No. 8, No. 7) on the road, after being benched last week.

Hill has practiced with the first-string offense this week after not playing in last Saturday's 48-42 victory against UCLA. Coach Dirk Koetter said it was likely Hill would play against the Golden Bears but wanted to see how the 6-foot, 220-pound junior practices before deciding on a starter.

Koetter has declined to say why Hill wasn't in the game, and refused to let Hill be interviewed.

The Sun Devils are very thin at tailback.

Original starter Loren Wade was suspended indefinitely for allegedly taking illegal benefits from a former athletic department employee, and Randy Hill tore knee ligaments against Oregon State on Sept. 25.

Hakim Hill, who broke his right arm Sept. 18 and has worn a cast since, has 274 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He ran for a career-high 134 yards against Oregon on Oct. 2 but had only 31 the next week against Southern California.

Former wide receiver Rudy Burgess started against UCLA and four others played tailback. Burgess, Preston Jones and Chad Christensen got the ball and combined for 116 yards against the Pac-10's worst rushing defense.