September 23, 2017
Oregon ORE 3-1 , 0-1
Arizona State ASU 2-2 , 1-0
|ASU Arizona State||17||0||14||6||37|
Game Recap: Football | | Rob Moseley
TEMPE, Ariz. — Oregon’s unbeaten run to the start of the Willie Taggart era ended Saturday night, when the No. 24 Ducks fell 37-35 to Arizona State in Sun Devil Stadium.
How It Happened: In a back-and-forth game two years after the Ducks and Devils went three overtimes in Tempe, the Ducks (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) rallied into the lead on a rushing touchdown by Justin Herbert with 6:41 to play. But Arizona State (2-2, 1-0) drove to a go-ahead field goal with 2:33 to play, and Oregon couldn’t answer despite taking possession two more times.
Herbert’s rushing touchdown provided the only lead of the night for Oregon. Manny Wilkins had touchdowns rushing and passing for ASU in the first quarter, and the first of three field goals on the night by Brandon Ruiz gave Arizona State a 17-7 lead late in the period. The Ducks caught a break when the Sun Devils muffed a punt just before halftime; Oregon quickly converted it into Royce Freeman‘s school-record 54th career rushing touchdown, to trail 17-14 at halftime.
But Arizona State used explosion plays to extend the lead in the third quarter. Wilkins had a completion of 63 yards to set up his second rushing touchdown of the night, and a 47-yard pass play led to a Demario Richard touchdown that put ASU up 31-14. Their backs against the wall, Oregon pulled within 31-28 on TD passes by Herbert to Johnny Johnson III and Tony Brooks-James. Although they followed Ruiz’s second field goal with the rushing TD by Herbert for a 35-34 lead, that was the Ducks’ last gasp.
Who Stood Out: Herbert completed 19-of-35 passes for 281 yards and three scores, without an interception. Six receivers had multiple receptions, led by Dillon Mitchell with five catches for 61 yards, including Oregon’s first-quarter touchdown. Freeman ran 15 times for 81 yards and a score. Defensively, Jalen Jelks had a monster night with three sacks among his five tackles for loss and eight total tackles. Thomas Graham Jr. added eight tackles; Deommodore Lenoir added five, reflecting how often ASU tested the Ducks’ true freshmen when they were in the game.
What It Means: A month ago, a 3-1 start to the season sounded pretty good for a team coming off a 4-8 season. But Oregon had re-set the bar in nonconference play, making Saturday’s result a frustrating one.
Notable: Charles Nelson did not play due to a bum ankle suffered against Wyoming. … Owing in part to his absence, true freshman Jaylon Redd made his UO debut. He was the lead blocker on the sweep play that resulted in Freeman’s record-setting touchdown. … The Ducks were whistled for 14 penalties, for 99 yards, continuing a theme from the first two games after appearing to address the issue with just four flags drawn at Wyoming. … The Ducks were a top-10 team nationally in converting third downs — and ASU entered the night last in the FBS in third-down defense — but Oregon went just 1-of-11 on Saturday.
Up Next: The Ducks return home to host California in Autzen Stadium next Saturday (7:35 p.m. PT, FS1).