Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
With their first offensive play, the Sun Devils at least did what Arizona was unable to do -- put points on the board.
43-21. The Oregon Ducks beat the Arizona State Sun Devils in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated, and the score wasn't even close. The game was hyped to the max. It was really the first big test for either team and it was on ESPN's Thursday night featured game. The Devils came out fired up, forced a fumble on Oregon's first possession and scored on their very first play from scrimmage.
But after that it all fell apart.
Defensive lineman Will Sutton was hurt on the play in which he forced the fumble and never returned. The result? Oregon simply started running the ball right at where he would have been playing, and piled up yards upon yards.
The game was excruciating to watch. Oregon had 43 points with over half of the second quarter remaining.
The loss showed where ASU and Oregon differ -- one area is depth. When Sutton went down on defense, the game was really over. He was the key to the defense's ability to stop the Ducks. His absence was huge.
If he stays healthy, the game doesn't go anything like it did. I'm not saying Oregon doesn't win, but it would not have been the blowout it was.
But there were some positives.
Oregon was held without a point for over two and a half quarters. Yes, I acknowledge that part of that was their letting off the gas pedal, but the Ducks still tried to score. In fact, with less than a minute in the first half and a 43-7 lead, they called timeout so they could try and get yet another score, rather than letting the last few second of the half run out. However, the fact is that Oregon didn't put up any more points.
As a Sun Devil myself, there was pride in the fact that ASU did in one play from scrimmage what the Arizona Wildcats were unable to do for 60 minutes of football against Oregon -- score points. Now, once that happened, it felt an awful like how it must of felt for Wildcat fans, but then the Devils were able to come up with two late touchdowns, recover and onside kick and almost score another touchdown at the very end of the game.
Sun Devil fans don't have a lot to hold onto after a game like that. At minimum, they get to say with a little bit of pride that ASU fared better than Arizona. For fans, at least, this is something.
Now the task for the Devils is to not let the loss define their season. They recovered nicely from the loss at Missouri. Can they do it again and defeat UCLA next week? That will be determined in a little over a week.