Rich Kolbell

Oregon's win over ASU may signal that the Ducks are begining to regain their winning form.

With Justin Herbert starting for the third week in a row over grad transfer Dakota Prukop, the Ducks look mightier than ever on the offensive side of the ball. Herbert has accounted for 926 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns in the last three contests and on Saturday he had his most effective game., but is this a sign the Ducks have regained some their winning ways?

 Herbert was able to connect with nine different receivers against Arizona State, passing for 489 yards and four touchdown passes.

 “Finally we were able to show it today,” said Herbert of the team’s performance. “We've just got to keep building on it, because this was a good week, and we've got to learn from it."

 Herbert’s leadership and play isn’t lost on his teammates.

 “I knew Justin (Herbert) was going to be good,” said senior tight end Pharaoh Brown. “I could just see it; he definitely surprised me with his ability to do what he’s doing so quick, you would expect a freshman to make a lot of mistakes but the kid is borderline amazing.”

 ASU coach Todd Graham was asked about Justin Herbert’s performance and if he was surprised by his playing ability.

 ?"I was very impressed with him on film and knew that they were going to throw the football,” Graham said after the game. “We felt like we could do a lot better against the run, and most of the runs we had guys there we just missed the tackles. But he was really good; he's going to be a good player."

 ASU’s Marcus Bell echoed Graham’s sentiments on Herbert.

 “He [Herbert] did a great job leading his team to victory, he executed,” Observed Bell. “He passed the ball well, you have to give credit to Oregon, coming in here and getting the job done”

Graham went on to praise Oregon’s offensive effort, which so observers had wondered what had happened to.“Obviously there offense was really on today,” observed Graham of the Duck offense. “They did a great job and give them credit for the win today.”

Herbert’s main target during the game was Pharaoh Brown, who caught a career high seven passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

“We knew that Arizona wanted to blitz,” said Brown of the Ducks were expecting headed into the game. “We have young linemen and quarterback, we knew they were going to blitz and give up holes in the defense.”

During the Ducks five game losing streak, the Ducks were man-handled by every team they faced, allowing over 2,990 total yards of offense, 1,457 on the ground and 1,533 passing.

Oregon defense showed some poise on the defensive side of the ball forcing three turnovers, all interceptions, holding Arizona State to 468 total yards of offense, 329 through the air, 139 on the ground and allowing 35 points .

“My pillow will feel a little better tonight when I go to bed but we still gave up too many points,” admitted Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke. “We gotta play better.”

It took 14 quarters for the Ducks to force a turnover but against The Ducks had three interceptions. Tyree Robinson, whose interception and return of 83 yards in the fourth quarter that essentially sealed the win for the Ducks was happy with how his defensive teammates played.

 "It was just good to see everybody out there having fun, just feeding off each other,” said Robinson of the game. “There were a couple games we weren't playing with energy. I think today was different. We didn't give up. We know we're capable of finishing a game."

Oregon still has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball; they need to work on wrapping up players as they missed several tackles in the open field and in the back field. On the plus side the Ducks managed to get into the backfield to cause some bad plays by the Sun Devils.

Tackling has been an obvious major problem for the Ducks but following the game Hoke felt tackling has shown improvement for his defense.

“It seemed better, it seemed like we were leveraged a little better,” said Hoke of the key element in the game.

"We had a chance,” admitted Graham. “Our guys came roaring back; they don't quit, that's for sure. But give credit to Oregon."

Next weekend, Saturday November 5th, 2016, the Ducks head to Southern California to take on the SC Trojans where fans and observers alike will have a chance to see if the Mighty Ducks have indeed returned.

(Garrett Hill contributed to this story)


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