A first half personified by "what ifs" gave the Sun Devils equal parts optimism and regret, as they trailed No. 9 Oregon 21-17 at the break, thanks to the usual complement of stupid penalties and ill-timed turnovers.
Oregon took the ball to begin the second half after deferring to start the game.
The drive looked promising after a nice second down run by quarterback Darron Thomas, but he injured his left knee on the play and was taken off. On the next play, Will Sutton shot through the line to drop running back Kenjon Barner for a loss to force an Oregon punt.
The Sun Devils looked prime to answer back and regain the lead. They wasted no time, as Jamal Miles took a swing pass 51-yards to the Oregon 16, and the third Cameron Marshall run following was good for the go-ahead touchdown that gave ASU a 24-21 lead.
With backup quarterback Bryan Bennett in the game, the Ducks re-committed to the run. Barner and De'Anthony Thomas made it look easy as the Ducks were able to drive 68-yards in 1:50 and take a 28-24 lead on Thomas' three yard run.
The pressure was on to answer back to the Ducks' blitzkrieg attacks, but a three and out forced a quick punt, but thankfully a good roll pushed the Ducks back to their 12-yard line. However, Bennett immediately reeled off a 36-yard run to take the ball to midfield. A controversial ruling on a Bennett fumble was upheld and Oregon kept possession. Two Barner runs later and the Ducks had extended their lead to 35-24.
ASU managed to get a first down, but a key third down conversion was called back after and offensive pass interference call. The next pass fell incomplete, and the Sun Devils had to punt.
However, the defense finally stepped up, and forced a three-and-out of their own, and the Ducks punt was fair caught at the ASU 20. Sadly, a short Marshall run was followed by two straight sacks and the Devils had to punt from near the goal line, and Oregon took over at their own 40.
They continued to gash the Devils with the run, but a taunting penalty on Thomas set up a third down and long to open the fourth quarter.