Turnovers doom Sun Devils

Much like the Wisconsin game last week, ASU was plagued with inefficiency in the red zone against Oregon and if that was the main miscue in Saturday's night contest perhaps the Sun Devils could have come away victorious. Alas, seven turnovers, two of them returned for touchdowns by the Ducks were too much for ASU to overcome in a 42-31 defeat.

"You turn it over seven times, you're going to have some issues," head coach Dennis Erickson acknowledged, "against anybody, but particularly against a football team like the University of Oregon. It seemed in the second half we just didn't have as much rhythm offensively.

"The first half we had rhythm then you had some turning points where you get the turnover and fumble it back, but it was simply that. We gave up big plays on defense also, but you turn it over like that; we're still in the football game at the end, last seven or eight minutes, we turned it over twice, that's the bottom line."

Arizona State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-10) had an ominous start when their first drive ended with a 47-yard field goal miss by Thomas Weber. Nonetheless, their second drive culminated with a 53-yard run by Deantre Lewis which resulted in a 7-0 lead. Following a 40-yard touchdown run by Oregon's LaMichael James, Steven Threet's pass was intercepted by James Boyett for a score. Nonetheless, 14 straight points by the maroon and gold gave them their biggest lead of the game, 24-14, with 3:36 left in the half.

Not only was it the Sun Devils' biggest lead but it also marked a crucial turning point in the game.

Oregon (4-0, 1-0) marched twice on 80-yard drives for touchdowns, while the hosts were unable to muster a first down the rest of the stanza. The Ducks' 28-24 halftime lead may have not been substantial in margin yet there was no mistaking which squad had the momentum going into the locker room.

ASU's Cameron Marshall fumbled on the Oregon 3-yard line, and the Devils were unable to recover a muffed punt catch by Kenjon Barner. The Ducks' Josh Huff capitalized on ASU's blown coverage for a 54-yard score, and another fumble by Cameron Marshall proves even more costly than his earlier one in the third quarter as Boseko Lokombo returns it for a 32-yard score.

Mike Willie's second touchdown catch of the game, late in the third, was also the last score registered in the game. A fumble by Lewis later in that period, followed by three interceptions by Threet in the fourth quarter sealed the maroon and gold's fate at home. For the second week in a row, the Sun Devils know that they beat themselves and missed another golden opportunity to beat a ranked team.

Threet completed 30 of 54 passes for 387 yards, three TD's and four interceptions. He was also sacked four times. Lewis rushed for 127 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Gerell Robinson established career highs in yards (94) and receptions (seven). Vontaze Burfict led the Sun devils with ten stops, 2.5 of them for a loss; however the ASU defense did not post a sack.

ASU outgained the visitors on offense 597 to 405 yards and also won the time of possession battle with a mark of 34:26. The game was riddled with penalties with the hosts committing nine infractions for 90 yards while Oregon had eight penalties for 80 yards.

The unforgiving part of ASU's schedule, three consecutive road games, begins next week in Corvallis as they face Oregon State. It certainly isn't the most ideal stage to shake off two successive defeats but the Sun Devils simply have to correct their offensive execution in a hurry and prevent this 2010 season spiraling in the wrong direction.


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