NCAA Football

Oregon comeback falls short as Arizona State wins in the desert

September 23, 2017

The Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2) defeated the No. 24 Oregon Ducks (3-1) 37-35 Saturday night in Tempe, Arizona. The Ducks closed the Arizona State 17-point lead in the second-half but were unable to finish in a game that came down to the wire. It is the first Sun Devil victory over the Ducks since 2004.

Oregon entered the fourth quarter trailing by three, but an Arizona State field goal increased the lead to six. Oregon took the lead with six minutes and 41 seconds left in the game because of a 4-yard rush by quarterback Justin Herbert.

Down one, Arizona State took the 37-35 lead from a Brandon Ruiz 41-yard field with 2:33 left.

After Oregon failed to drive down the field, and after Arizona State failed to run-out the clock, Oregon had an opportunity to win the game with just under one-minute remaining.

However, after one completion, Herbert threw four incomplete passes, and all Arizona State had to do was kneel the ball for the victory.

Arizona State played well to start each half.

The Sun Devils scored 17 points in the first quarter while holding the Ducks to seven points. They were able to string together scoring drives of five plays, 40 yards; 15 plays, 75 yards, and seven plays and 42 yards.

The Oregon defense stepped-up in the second quarter to hold the Sun Devils scoreless. However, the Oregon offense remained ineffective. The Ducks were able to score a touchdown after Arizona State muffed a punt return to give Oregon field position in the redzone. The Ducks capitalized on Arizona State’s mistake with a 12-yard Royce Freeman touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-14.

The touchdown was the 54th touchdown of Freeman’s career, making him Oregon’s career leader while passing LaMichael James.

The Ducks, who scored 42 points in the first half in each of their first three games, were held to 14 points by an Arizona State defense that allowed 38 points per-game.

Arizona State pushed its lead to 17 quickly after halftime. After a big pass play, Sun Devil quarterback Manny Wilkins scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown to increase the lead to 24-14.

Oregon got its much needed touchdown with a long drive that ended in a 20-yard touchdown reception by Johnny Johnson III. Oregon scored on its next drive with a 22-yard touchdown reception by running back Tony Brooks-James to cut the lead to 31-28.

An Arizona State field goal extended its lead to 34-28.

The Ducks hurt themselves throughout the game. They finished with 14 penalties for 99 yards compared to Arizona State’s six for 65 yards. Oregon was also bad on third down, converting only one of 11 attempts, and it was 0-for-2 on fourth down.

Most surprisingly, the usually dominant Oregon rushing attack only gained 120 yards.

Justin Herbert finished the game 19-of-35 for 281 yards and three touchdowns.

Oregon will face California (3-1) in Eugene next week at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917

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