Ducks Overhaul Sun Devils 41-27

Just when it looked like things were about to get a whole lot worse, the Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0) turned to talent, teamwork and tenacity to rack up a 41-27 win over Arizona State (5-2, 3-1). After taking a 21-17 halftime lead, the Ducks went to work in the third quarter, but the injury bug hit for the second time in two weeks, this time taking out quarterback Darron Thomas.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks quarterback Bryan Bennett (2) breaks free for a long gain against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks beat the Sun Devils 41-27. Credit: Jim Z. Rider-US PRESSWIRE.

"We talk about playing 60 minutes," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. "That's what we did."

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Ducks were second and 10 from their own 25. Darron Thomas kept the ball and ran to the left and picked up 6 yards, but in the process found himself on the ground withering in pain. After the training staff attended to him, he was able to run off the field but it was clear something was wrong. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett had come onto the field and faced a difficult situation. The Oregon coaching staff called a running play for Kenjon Barner and the Ducks were forced to punt. While not the easiest situation to come into, at least the Ducks and Bennett were out of a jam when punter Jackson Rice booted the ball to the ASU 33. On the first snap of ASU's possession, Jamal Miles ripped off a 51-yard run to the Oregon 16 and three plays later, the Sun Devils regained the lead, 24-21.

By this time, Thomas was in the lockerroom, and Bennett would have to come back onto the field facing a hungry ASU squad, just waiting to take advantage of the redshirt freshman's inexperience. Too bad for them as Bennett engineered a surprising drive that saw him get 20 yards on two carries, then DeAnthony Thomas broke off a 29-yard scamper and suddenly the Ducks were in ASU territory at the ASU 16. Bennett hit Justin Hoffman for 13 yards and DeAnthony Thomas finished off the drive with a run up the middle. After Alejandro Maldanado's point after attempt went through the uprights, Oregon was back in front for good, 28-24.

Bennett had a lot of help. Kenjon Barner, filling in for LaMichael James, found the holes and ended the night with 171 yards of rushing on 31 carries and a touchdown. DeAnthony Thomas aided in the cause by rushing for 73 net yards on seven carries and two touchdowns. Bennett showed his skills by ripping off five carries for 65 net yards. In all the Ducks had 327 yards of rushing on 49 totes.

"He came off the field and said he wanted to go back in to me when we were up 14," Kelly said of Darron Thomas' injury. "I told him Bryan (Bennett) was actually playing pretty good."

As has been the trend all year, the passing game was effective even though there was only a total 15 completions on 22 attempts combined between Bennett and Darron Thomas. Darron Thomas finished the game with 187 yards on 13-of-17 passing and two touchdowns in the first half to David Paulson and Lavasier Tuinei. Bennett was 2-for-5 passing for 22 yards.

DeAnthony Thomas was the leading pass catcher with four grabs for 24 yards but Paulson had the second most yardage – 41, with one touchdown. Hoffman had three receptions for 33 yards and Josh Huff ended up with the most yardage, 72 on two catches. Oregon had a total of 209 yards receiving giving it 536 yards of total offense.

Maldanado kicked two field goals of 37 and 24 yards to give the Ducks 6 points in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, ASU's Brock Osweiller was 29-for-46, for 291 yards and two touchdowns to Gerell Robinson and Mike Willie, both in the first half. Osweiller was also picked off twice.

Cameron Marshall had 97 net yards of rushing and a touchdown. Field goal kicker Alex Garoutte made two field goals of 37 and 30 yards to complete the ASU scoring.

In all the Sun Devils amassed 460 yards total offense for the night.

Defensively, Oregon was led in tackles by John Boyett with eight tackles (six solos). Dewitt Stuckey had seven tackles (six solos) including a sack and a pass breakup. Oregon managed a total of 10 tackles for loss including four sacks (Stuckey, Josh Kaddu, Boseko Lokombo and one sack recorded as a team sack.) As has been the case for most the season, the Ducks had a lot of breakups (8) but tonight Oregon was able to hold onto the ball and ended up with two interceptions (Cliff Harris and Anthony Gildon).

"We like those," said Kelly of the interceptions. "The last one we're kind of lucky to be honest. That went through the kid's hands and Anthony (Gildon) happened to be in the right spot at the right time at the end of the play. He wasn't in the right spot when the ball was originally thrown. That was, ‘Oh my God, oh great coverage Anthony."

ASU was led defensively by Deveron Carr's seven tackles. The Sun Devils recorded seven TFLs but had no sacks.

The turnover-takeaway stats were even, both teams had two turnovers and two takeaways. ASU had a total of eight flags thrown against them and Oregon had seven.

Notes:
  • Oregon has won 15 straight conference games, dating to a 2009 road loss to Stanford. The Ducks ran their home winning streak to 20 games, which is three shy of the school record set between 1997 and 2001.
  • UO improved to 1-1 against top 25 opponents this season and are 8-4 against the top 25 under third-year head coach Chip Kelly.
  • JR RB Kenjon Barner posted career highs of 31 carries and 171 rushing yards. It was the third 100-yard rushing performance of his career and second straight in a game when he started in place of JR RB LaMichael James.
  • FR RB De'Anthony Thomas had a game-high 203 all-purpose yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
  • JR CB Cliff Harris made his first interception of the season and second in as many years vs. ASU. He returned it 50 yards.
  • All five of Oregon's touchdown drives lasted 1:50 or less, including two under 54 seconds.
  • JR QB Darron Thomas has now thrown a touchdown pass in 19 straight games (every start of his career).
  • SO K Alejandro Maldonado kicked the first two field goals of his career (37, 30 yards).
  • JR LB Michael Clay played for the first time after missing the last three games.
  • UO has scored 40 or more points in 22 its last 32 games.
  • The Ducks improved to 20-0 when leading at the half under Kelly.
  • Oregon 1st-quarter fumble by Barner was the team's first since the season opener vs. LSU.
  • James missed his first conference game of his career.
  • JR WR Justin Hoffman matched his career-high with three catches and set a new best with 33 yards.
  • The Ducks eclipsed 300 rushing yards (327) for a fourth straight game.
  • Oregon evened the all-time series against Arizona State at 16-16 with its seventh consecutive win against the Sun Devils.
  • The crowd of 60,055 (capacity 54,000) was a new State of Oregon attendance record and marked the 78th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium, dating to 1999. The last non-sellout was Sept. 18, 1999 vs. Nevada.

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