Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks hold off Arizona States late rally on Saturday night to win 31-29 in Oregons home finale at Autzen Stadium.
Oregons Lamar Winston was the savior for the Ducks, knocking the ball away from Manny Wilkins with just over 3:02 left on the clock. The Ducks would wind down the clock and take the victory, moving to 7-4 on the season.
Here are some takeaways from the Ducks win over Arizona State. Note: The takeaways were written throughout the game and reflect my thoughts at different points in the game.
How to Follow: Arizona State vs. Oregon
The Ducks opened the game with a pass but the rest of the nine plays focused on the ground. The only other passing play was a swing screen pass to CJ Verdell. It’s almost as if Marcus Arroyo read the criticism of the sticking with the run comments and shoved the run and those thoughts down ASU’s throat.
Oregon had four turnovers against ASU, all of which turned into points for the Sun Devils. The Tony Brooks-James fumble led to a field goal but the next two were touchdowns that let Arizona State get right back into this game. Turnovers are one of Oregon’s problems on offense this year but it’s something they definitely need to work on, especially ball security by running backs and returners.
Justin Herberts two interceptions were both rushed and hurried throws. Herbert hasnt been one to throw it out of bounds and really will need to learn to do so for the next level.
Share Share Arizona State vs Oregon: Game Thread tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Andrew Palla/House of Sparky Chat with fellow Arizona State Sun Devils fans during the teams biggest game of the season against the Oregon Ducks with kickoff at 8:30 p.m. Arizona time.
With that, the Ducks frustrated a lot of fans earlier this week with saying they would stick with the run to establish the offense. Oregon was able to find success on the outside early which enabled the Ducks to move the ball around, from runs to the outside, swing screens and the occasional deep pass. This was a much better called game from the Ducks offensively than the previous road games.
How to watch Oregon take on Arizona State
After a rather fast paced first half the third quarter was a real shift for both teams. ASU was the only team to put points on the board with a field goal. The Ducks defense wasn’t able to hold ASU RB Eno Benjamin to short gains and allowed the RB to break tackles for plenty of yards after contact.
The Ducks were hampered a bit on the run Arizona State getting linebacker Merlin Robertson back. The freshman linebacker was suspended for the first half due to a targeting penalty against UCLA.
“It is fun to say that you are bowl-eligible,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. “It is like getting in the playoffs for the NFL. We always say that it is a race to 10 in the NFL. If you can get to 10, things start looking really good. You will probably make it into the playoffs and if you win a few more, you can maybe win your division. In college, if you win six, you are eligible for a bowl and if you win more, then bigger bowls appear. Our players are well aware of that. It is a good thing.”
Live Updates: Analysis, updates from Oregon vs. Arizona State
The Ducks continued to struggle offensively and Arizona State found their offense. The Ducks let ASU jump right back into the game with only a field goal before ASU was able to score a touchdown making it a 2 point game but ASU couldn’t convert the 2-point try. If you’re an Oregon fan, this was how the Ducks seemed to play during Stanford. Reserved play calling and a defense that was bending right to the breaking point.
Oregon was able to hang on but just by a millimeter on the failed 2 point try and the fumble forced by Lamar Winston.
After the Justin Herbert interception and ASU touchdown, the Ducks looked to be in trouble. 50 seconds left on the clock before the Sun Devils would get the ball back. Oregon orchestrated a 5 play, 71-yard drive for a touchdown in 39 seconds. A really solid drive by the Ducks at a crucial point in the game.
The Oregon defense had some trouble wrapping up ASU RB Eno Benjamin throughout the game. Oregon’s front seven would make initial contact but Benjamin was strong enough to power through and break the arm tackle. Oregon has struggled with that all season but with the strength of Benjamin, it was a huge weakness. It wasn’t just benjamin though. On Arizona State’s second touchdown, Aiyuk was able to break a tackle at the line of scrimmage and run 25-yards to the end zone.
The Oregon quarterback got off to a slow start completing just one of his first four passes. The junior was able to turn it on though going 13 of 18 before his interception. Herbert has had two strong performances against ASU coming into the game and had another great first half with 249 passing yards. Herberts solid night ended at the half though with the quarterback throwing for just 13 passing yards.
Oregon named like 20 different captains for tonights game but the four players out at midfield for the coin toss were Ugo Amadi, Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins and Kaulana Apelu. Apelu who has a leg injury is out for the remainder of the regular season but went out to midfield as a captain on crutched. The former walk-on has definitely earned some respect from his teammates in the past few years and it was cool to see him honored out there.
The NFL Scouts were once again in the Autzen press box with scouts from the Pittsburgh Steelers, LA Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and New England Patriots in attendance. it will be very interesting to see what Oregon juniors like Troy Dye, Dillon Mitchell, Justin Herbert, Shane Lemieux, Calvin Throckmorton and Jake Hanson decide to do and what grade they’re given by the NFL.
Video: First half highlights: Oregon football offense rumbles to 28-13 lead over ASU