The Rundown: ASU vs Oregon

Both the Ducks and Sun Devils have been tested early on the road against traditional powers. To ASU's credit Wisconsin is a better football team than the Tennessee Volunteers this season, but a full Neyland Stadium is never an easy out. The Ducks made adjustments and survived the early surge by the Vols for a comfortable win.

The Sun Devils on the other hand showed their youth and made some mistakes that always plague teams not used to winning against ranked opponents.

The typical touchdown to pull the game within one point late while allowing the PAT to be blocked is a sign of a football team that's not ready for the big stage. It's the little things that make a team good, bad or great.

If you look at the past five meetings between these two teams the Ducks have been dominant winning all five with a 24 point margin of victory average. The most impressive part of that stat is three of the games took place at Sun Devil Stadium where Saturday's game takes place.

The Ducks and Devils have one common opponent in this early 2010 in Portland State. Both teams routed the Vikings while posting huge stat lines so there isn't much to take away from those matchups to use towards Saturday.

The early season schedule for the Sun Devils was interesting in the fact they went from two home games against FCS opponents to a road game against a Top-15 team. The general consensus before the season started was two easy victories and hopefully a good showing at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Mission: accomplished! This week will mark the second of three Top-25 consecutive opponents for the Sun Devils as they play the 24th ranked Oregon State Beavers next weekend.

ASU is playing very solid football on the stat sheet averaging 38 points per game while only surrendering 16. Their passing offense is one of the best in the nation thus far boasting some very talented wide receivers. One of those wide outs is none other than Oregon transfer Aaron Pflugrad. The signal caller is one of the most well-traveled players in the history of college football. Quarterback Steven Threet originally signed with Georgia Tech. After his first season there Paul Johnson was hired bringing his Triple-Option offense with him. Threet transferred at year's end to Michigan to play in a pro style offense. After sitting out the mandatory transfer year Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez was hired to replace him. Coach Rodriguez brought his Read-Option offense to Ann Arbor with him. Once again Steven Threet packed his bags at year's end and headed to Arizona State University. After sitting out another season for the mandatory transfer rule he's been sharp in the early part of 2010 posting 841 yards passing, a 66% completion average, and five touchdowns. It seems like the third time is a charm when it comes to colleges.

Arizona State returns the bulk of one of the Pac-10's best defenses from 2009 including one of the best middle linebackers in all of college football; Vontaze Burfict. A true sophomore, Burfict is a punishing hitter with a great motor. He's a fan favorite and backs up his talking with his play on the field.

One could argue the Oregon Ducks are the best team in America right now leading all of college football in scoring offense and defense while also averaging the second most rushing yards per game. It's never a surprise when the Ducks post jaw dropping offensive stats, but when the defense has shut out their opponents in five of the six halves of football they've played, people start to notice.

This isn't the typical Oregon team built to score a mountain of points to make up for a porous defense. So far in the 2010 season Oregon has forced 11 turnovers on defense while adding three touchdowns on special teams. These stats lead to the Ducks being a complete football team. The five shut out halves also show the defensive depth. In a normal route scoring comes on late as the talent level of the winning team diminishes as the reserves come in, but that's not the case for Oregon.

There isn't much left to say about the Ducks. The pollsters believe they're a great team with a ranking of five and six in the AP and Coach's Polls, respectively. The schedule hasn't been overly difficult early in 2010 but you couldn't ask them to play any better than they have thus far.

ASU Keys to Victory
Stop Oregon's rushing attack forcing inexperience Darron Thomas to throw
Contain Oregon's kick-off and punt returners
Establish a running game to control the clock and keep the Duck offense off the field Zero turnovers

Oregon Keys to Victory
Pressure Steven Threet not allowing him to complete 65% of his passes
Put on an average day rushing (381 yards)
Win the field position battle
Rotate defenders often to counter the extreme heat of Phoenix

Prediction: Oregon 43, ASU 24

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