TEMPE, AZ - It’s the second ranked Oregon Ducks taking on 24th ranked Arizona State Thursday night in Tempe. The Ducks are 8 point favorites, but given the history the Sun Devils have in Tempe, don’t count ASU out of anything.
Oregon has won seven straight against ASU, including four wins in the Valley of the Sun, but that statistic is simply fueling the Devils to win this one and stop the streak.
Who are you rooting for Thursday night? Vote on our poll on the right hand side of the 15 Links section .
While the Ducks are 6-0, there’s speculation they may not have played a team as strong as ASU, and while ASU is 5-1 after a 4 point loss to Missouri on the road, Sun Devil fans still believe they can pull off the upset at home, especially with a “black-out” and a near capacity crowd cheering for ASU.
ASU coach Todd Graham said a key for his team, “is to not be over-anxious or get too excited and forget the task at hand, and operate outside the system."
Oregon is averaging more than 83 plays per game, 52.3 points per game, and attempt to snap the ball within fifteen seconds of it being spotted from the play before. That puts a lot of pressure on a defense and can literally wear them out in the second half. But the Devils feel like they’re in great physical shape and if they can have some success on offense, they should be able to “hang” with the Ducks.
The Ducks are scoring so fast this season, 24 of their scoring drives have lasted less than two minutes, while 14 have been under 60 seconds. That leaves opponents wondering how they can slow the Ducks down. And with ASU’s hurry-up offense, the question is, should the Devils try to slow things down this week and keep the Oregon offense off the field? The answer for Coach Todd Graham was simple, “We can sit here and try to slow down our pace and shoot ourselves in the foot, but I think we need to run our system."
Oregon also has De’Anthony Thomas, a running back considered the fastest player in college football. Thomas runs a sub 4.0 in the forty yard dash. And he’s not even the starter. Add in starting running back Kenjon Barner and the Ducks are extremely explosive on the ground. The two are so good, fans are calling it the “blur” offense. So far this season, they’ve racked up a combined 1,100 yards of rushing and 15 touchdowns on the ground. They’ve also combined for 4 TD’s through the air.
And the Ducks defense isn’t so bad either, holding opponents to 20 points per game, and having intercepted 10 passes already this season, returning four for touchdowns.
Needless to say, the Devils have their hands full and Coach Graham is hoping the crowd will help! Heaven knows the Devils will need it.
The Ducks are coming off a “bye” week while ASU beat Colorado on the road last Thursday night, 51-17 with quarterback Taylor Kelly throwing five touchdown passes.
The Ducks are tied at the top the Pac-12's North Division with Oregon State at 3-0, while the Devils lead the South Division at 3-0.
Kick-off is set for 6:01 p.m.
I’m going with the Devils in an upset, 35 – 33.
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