There was a lot of build-up and excitement going into the game between Pac-12 favorites #9 Oregon and #18 Arizona State. ESPN College Gameday was in Eugene to show the contest to a national television audience so people could get a glimpse of a few of the best in the west.
The Ducks, who were favored in the game, are a team based on consistency and explosiveness. They repeatedly rack up insane amounts of yards and points on offense, and typically put the game out of reach by the 4th quarter.
Unfortunately for Oregon fans, a few of the most exciting players for the Ducks have also made a habit of suffering injuries.
Last week against California star running back LaMichael James dislocated his elbow and was unable to play against the Sun Devils.
This week it was quarterback Darron Thomas who had Oregon fans holding their breath when he went to the turf clutching his left knee in the third quarter.
Thomas had helped the Ducks stay with an Arizona State team that came out strong to start the game. The teams had traded touchdowns throughout the first half before Thomas scrambled away from pressure and found tight end David Paulson in the endzone with 27 seconds left in the half to put Oregon in front 21-17.
After the Sun Devils took the lead 24-21 early in the second half on a Cameron Marshall rushing touchdown, Thomas left the game with the injury and things were looking worrisome for the Ducks.
However, Oregon and their fans never seem overly concerned because they have become so accustomed to the explosive capabilities of their offense and yet again the Ducks pulled through.
Backup quarterback Brian Bennett came into the game and led two consecutive touchdown drives to put Oregon ahead for good. Bennett showed that as a redshirt freshman he has the abilities to run the offense, making good reads in the option game and showing very strong running ability.
Thomas was not the only player that had to be replaced for the Ducks on Saturday night. With James out of the lineup, running backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas were left to control the ground game for Oregon.
Turns out the Ducks did not miss a beat, as the two speedsters combined for 244 yards and 3 touchdowns. Barner had 171 yards alone, and De. Thomas continued to make his case for being considered the most exciting freshman in the nation with his ability to break into the open at any moment.
Arizona State did not go quietly and gave Oregon their most difficult test since week one when the Ducks took on LSU.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler played well, especially in the first half when he threw both of his touchdown passes. Osweiler finished the game just short of 300 yards passing, but did most of his damage before halftime.
He threw 2 interceptions in the game, one to cornerback Cliff Harris that was returned 50 yards and set up the touchdown pass to Paulson just before halftime.
The other interception should have been Osweiler’s third touchdown pass and closed the Duck lead to within a touchdown, but the receiver that was wide open in the endzone dropped the ball which fell into the waiting hands of Oregon’s Willie Glasper to seal the game for the Ducks.
Looking ahead Oregon will travel to Colorado next week with the status of Thomas and James still in question. Both players seem very confident that they will return shortly, but their services may not be needed against the Buffalos, who seem to be battling Oregon State for the title of worst team in the conference. Arizona State will have a bye week before before facing Colorado themselves.
About the Author
Written by Rob Parness
My name is Robbie Parness and I am a student at the University of Oregon. I'm a California native that loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. I would love to become a sports writer someday or work in sports in any capacity.