Turnover-Prone ASU Falls To Oregon, 42-31

The Sun Devils turned the ball over 7 times, and two defensive touchdowns doomed the upset effort. ASU had 597 yards of total offense, which is the most yards in a Pac-10 game for the maroon and gold since October 28, 2000.

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Oregon Escapes Tempe With Hard-fought Win over Arizona State, 42-31

Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) – Darron Thomas threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score, as fifth-ranked Oregon opened its Pac-10 slate with a 42-31 win over Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium.

LaMichael James rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Ducks (4-0, 1-0 Pac-10), who beat the Sun Devils for a sixth straight time. Thomas finished 19-of-33 for 260 yards with two TDs and an interception.

Steven Threet connected on 30-of-53 passes for 387 yards with three TDs and four interceptions for Arizona State (2-2, 0-1), which had seven turnovers. Deantre Lewis rushed 11 times for 127 yards and a score for the Sun Devils, who had nearly 600 yards of total offense.

Thomas threw 12 yards to Jeff Maehl for a TD with 2:21 left in the second quarter, getting Oregon within 24-21. Following a punt, Thomas threw 61 yards to David Paulson, setting up Thomas’ go-ahead four-yard scoring run with 48 seconds remaining in the half.

The problems continued for ASU as Cameron Marshall fumbled at the Oregon two, and Thomas threw a 54-yard TD pass to Josh Huff with 8:12 to go in the third.

Marshall fumbled again later in the third and Boseko Lokombo rumbled 31 yards to the end zone for a 42-24 difference.

Threet threw 15 yards to Mike Willie for a score with 2:25 left in the third, but turnovers continued to plague ASU as Lewis fumbled the ball away later in the quarter. Threet was intercepted by Talmadge Jackson III in the end zone with nearly 10 minutes to play. Threet was picked off by Casey Matthews deep in Ducks territory with about seven minutes left.

Thomas Weber missed a 47-yard field goal try on the game’s opening drive for the Sun Devils, but Lewis scored on a 53-yard run midway through the quarter for a 7-0 lead.

James busted off a 40-yard TD run with 6:14 left in the first, and Oregon went ahead with a 39-yard interception return by John Boyett for a score less than a minute later.

The Ducks’ defense came up big when Marshall was sent to a loss on a 4th-and-1 play from the Oregon six later in the first. Threet, though, tied the game midway through the second with a 10-yard TD pass to Willie.

Weber made it 17-14 with a 34-yard field goal with 4:10 left in the half, and Omar Bolden’s interception of Thomas on the ensuing play set up ASU’s next score. On the following play, Threet threw 28 yards to Kerry Taylor for a 24-14 ASU advantage.

Oregon hosts nationally ranked Stanford next Saturday night, while the Sun Devils play on the road against Oregon State…Gerell Robinson had seven catches for 94 yards for the Sun Devils.

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HoS: ASU Doomed By Turnovers Against Oregon, 42-31

House Of Sparky breaks down the potential of this ASU team, despite the loss tonight to Oregon.

Oh, Steven Threet.

One minute, you’re breaking loose for a 25-yard gain. The next, you’re throwing a pass behind your receiver for an interception. You’re inconsistent, but you have a lot of talent.

No one expected this season to yield much in the way of positive results for Arizona State. Two consecutive games against highly-ranked opponents have given fans of the maroon and gold a lot to be enthusiastic about for 2011.

Threet will learn from his mistakes, and the careless interceptions he threw tonight will become less frequent as he gets more experience against the speedy Pac-10 defenses.

Sure, you threw for 387 yards and three touchdowns. It’s the four picks I’m concerned about, and it’s the turnovers that put games into the loss column. The stadium was buzzing at halftime, and all eyes were on Threet and Deantre Lewis. Can the Devils become a second-half team?

With all that said, ASU still put together a lot of good drives, played incredible defense at times, and showed glimpses of greatness. After watching the 2009 season, glimpses of greatness are good enough for me.

Final score: Oregon 42, Sun Devils 31.

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Brandon Magee, A Sun Devil Brimming With Confidence

 

Meet Brandon Magee, one of the trio of Arizona State starting linebackers who all attended the same Southern California high school and reunited in Tempe.

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Earlier this week, it wasn't a given that Magee would play against No. 5 Oregon because of a leg injury suffered at Wisconsin. But he practiced Thursday and proclaimed himself "100 percent." Ah, the rejuvenation powers of being young.

Magee isn’t only expecting to play, the junior is talking up the Sun Devils defense as a unit that will surprise the offensive juggernaut that is the Ducks.

"They haven't played the Sun Devils yet," Magee said. "So that's all I can say."

Well, not all. Magee gave the Ducks credit, talking about their athleticism at every position and how the offense spreads out defenders and forces them to stay in their gaps or be susceptible to a big play. He said he's excited to play such a high-scoring offense.

"They're pretty fast on offense, but they haven't seen a defense as fast as ours, either." Magee said. "It's pretty equal, to me."

The Ducks are clearly on the Sun Devils' minds. Their scout team tried its best to give the starters as good a look at what to expect from Oregon's offense as possible. One of the scout team players even made an "O" out of tape and stuck it on his helmet, to simulate a Ducks helmet. 

One key for the Sun Devils is not stalling in the red zone like they did last week.

"They're fast and athletic," quarterback Steven Threet said of the defense once known as "Gang Green." "They try and make you make mistakes and capitalize on them. Get turnovers and get their offense back on the field."

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Oregon Visits ASU, Sports Network Preview

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The 2010 Pac-10 Conference slate gets underway in earnest on Saturday night, as the fifth-ranked Oregon Ducks fly into Tempe for a showdown with the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Oregon has destroyed its first three opponents, beating New Mexico, Tennessee and Portland State by a combined score of 189-13. Two bouts (UNM and PSU) resulted in shutouts -- the first time that has happened in the same season for the Ducks since 1964.

Arizona State opened the season with a pair of easy wins, both over FCS foes in Portland State and Northern Arizona, but then came last week's road game against a ranked Wisconsin team. The Sun Devils fought tooth and nail, but wound up coming up just short in a 20-19 final.

This game marks the 31st all-time meeting between Oregon and Arizona State, with the latter having won 16 of them. However, the Ducks have won five straight in the series, the most recent of which was last year's 44-21 verdict in Eugene. Oregon has won the last three meetings in Tempe.

Oregon leads the nation in nearly every major statistical category, among them -- scoring offense (63.0 ppg), scoring defense (4.3 ppg), total offense (611.7 ypg) and total defense (193.3 ypg).

Oregon ran roughshod through the Portland State defense last week, setting a new school record with 528 yards on the ground, and its 668 yards of total offense was the third-most in school history. The all-time mark was set in the season opener against New Mexico (720 yards).

Sophomore LaMichael James, who needs just 93 yards to reach 2,000 for his career, ran for a career-high 227 yards, and it all came in the first half. Andres Reed also enjoyed a productive day, rushing for 95 yards on just 12 carries -- Oregon averaging 8.4 ypc and scoring five of its nine TDs on the ground. James has amassed 361 yards and scored three TDs for the season, while Kenjon Barner has four rushing TDs to his credit.

Meanwhile, QB Darron Thomas threw four TD passes, all in the opening half as well, with two going to Jeff Maehl who had just three catches in the game. Through the first three games, Thomas has eight TD passes against only two INTs, and he is averaging 187.3 passing ypg. Maehl has 13 catches for 223 yards, with no other player having more than six grabs thus far.

Portland State was shellshocked from the outset, tallying a mere 140 yards (74 rushing, 66 passing) in the game. The Vikings committed five turnovers, did not convert any of their 18 third-down chances, and punted a whopping 11 times.

The Ducks notched four sacks on the day, two of which were logged by Brandon Blair. Brian Jackson led the UO stand with eight tackles.

Arizona State scored what appeared to be the tying touchdown last week against Wisconsin in Madison, but the extra point was blocked sending the Sun Devils to their first defeat of the season. Freshman Deantre Lewis rushed for a career-high 122 yards to help ASU's cause, and the special teams contributed 288 return yards, but it wasn't enough as the Badgers held on.

Steven Threet, a former Michigan Wolverine who led that team to a comeback win over Wisconsin in 2008, almost did the same for his club this time around. He finished 21-of-33 for 211 yards, hitting Kerry Taylor six times for 71 yards.

Omar Bolden scored on a 97-yard kickoff return near the end of the opening quarter. The Sun Devils finished with 380 yards of total offense compared to 440 for the home team.

Vontaze Burfict led the ASU defense with 10 tackles against the Badgers, seven of which were solo efforts, while Oliver Aaron added nine stops. There were no turnovers in the game, but the visitors were flagged eight times for a loss of 61 yards.

The Sun Devils are giving up 16.3 ppg through three games, and they have yet to allow a point in the fourth quarter. Foes are generating just 311.3 ypg, with only 103.3 ypg coming on the ground. Burfict has been the most active defender for coach Dennis Erickson's club to this point, posting 23 tackles and breaking up three passes. Arizona State has yet to recover a fumble, but has four INTs. Pressure on the quarterback seems to be lacking as well, with only four sacks logged thus far, and only one QB hurry.

Coach Erickson is quick to point out that Oregon is not simply an offensive machine with little else to offer in the other facets of the game.

"They got all the tools. It's amazing to watch them play. The thing that they are underrated in, and that I've gotten in watching them, is that they are extremely athletic on defense. They have a number of starters back along with great speed. Very athletic, they kind of get lost in the offensive success that they've had, but they extremely good on defense."

He knows his team is going to need to be at its very best if an upset is in the offering.

"To me they may be the best football team in the country. When you look at them on both sides of the football and their kicking game. They are so balanced. You can not decide what their strengths are."

The Sun Devils are sure to play hard at home this week, but the Ducks may be as Erickson said "the best football team in the country". Time will tell if that is indeed the case, but for now expect Oregon to keep its perfect record in tact with another satisfying victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 35, Arizona State 17

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