Oregon Eliminated from CFB Playoff, Sun Devils Shock the Ducks 31-28 in Tempe
Oregon came into Tempe, AZ on a 9-game winning streak, and were up against a very stingy Arizona St team.
On the Ducks first drive of the game, Herbert found Juwan Johnson on the very first play, but the drive was stalled and the Ducks were forced to punt.
The first possession for the Sun Devils also ended with a punt, but it was two costly penalties on the ASU offense that negated a potential third down conversion.
Herbert got things going for the Ducks offense on their second possession, spreading the ball out to his play makers in space. CJ Verdell ran strong, and a great catch by Johnny Johnson got them into scoring position. It was Cyrus Habibi-Likio who finished off the drive with 5-yard TD run. Oregon took an early 7-0 lead.
It wasn’t long before Arizona St answered back with a 57-yard TD pass from Jayden Daniels to Frank Darby. The Sun Devils knotted the game up at 7-7.
Oregon continued to run the ball successfully on their next possession. Their offensive line was winning the battle in the trenches early in the game, but when it came down to a fourth and short inside the ASU 6 yard line, the Sun Devils defense came up big with a stop to turn the Ducks over on downs.
Oregon would get the ball back after a defensive stop, but both offenses were starting to go stagnant. Oregon had 10 first downs but only 7 points to show for it about halfway through the second quarter. The Sun Devils defense was giving up chunk run plays, but the secondary was holding their own against the Oregon wide receivers.
ASU got a FG to take a 10-7 lead late in the first half, and Daniels remained perfect to that point going 8 of 8 for 171 yards and 1 TD.
Oregon wasn’t able to get any points of their own before the end of the half. However, they did make a key stop, sacking Daniels and pushing ASU out of FG range to prevent anymore damage. Sun Devils led 10-7 at the break.
Note: Center Jake Hanson was injured in the first half, and Calvin Throckmorton moved over to take his place.
Arizona St received the ball to start the second half. Daniels found Kyle Williams for a big pass play that set them up with first and goal at the Oregon 9 yard line. The Ducks defense held strong on three straight plays to force another ASU FG, making the score 13-7 ASU.
That would be the story of the third quarter. The Ducks offense couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm, while Eno Benjamin continued to run angry at the Oregon defense. Although it looked like ASU was taking control the entire quarter, the Oregon defense did not break, continuing to make crucial stops just as the Sun Devils would get close to striking distance.
Justin Herbert was already having a rough game to that point, going 10 of 20 for just 127 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Herbert rolled to his right and threw the ball late which resulted in an interception by ASU’s Jack Jones. The Sun Devils were now set up with first down inside the Oregon 30 yard line.
Daniels made the Ducks pay, finding his favorite target Darby on a 26-yard TD pass. ASU successfully converted the two-point conversion to take a 21-7 lead with 12:43 to play in the game.
Things continued to get worse for Herbert, as he was picked off once again on his first pass after the Sun Devils TD. This time it was Khaylan Kearse-Thomas who looked up and found the ball coming directing into his chest for the easy interception. ASU took over at the Oregon 20 yard line looking to run some clock and extend the lead again.
The Oregon defense forced a FG, so the Sun Devils now held a 24-7 lead.
If there was going to be a comeback, the Ducks did what they needed to do on the next possession. Oregon drove 75 yards on just three plays, and punched it in on a 10-yard TD run by Habibi-Likio (his second of the game). Oregon found themselves down 10 with 7:43 left to play.
If there was one unit that stepped up when they needed it, it was the Oregon defense. They were forced to work with a short field on back to back possessions by ASU off of the Herbert interceptions, but remained calm. The defense forced a three-and-out following the TD drive by their offense, and the Ducks were given an opportunity to cut the game to one possession.
That is just what the Ducks offense did. Another three play drive covered 66 yards in just 43 seconds. A beautiful play call set up 24-yard TD pass from Herbert to Johnny Johnson. It was quickly a 24-21 game.
Oregon’s defense was on the verge of making another big stop, forcing the Sun Devils into a third and long situation. Jayden Daniels dropped back and launched a bomb to Brandon Aiyuk, hitting the wide receiver for am enormous 81-yard TD strike. ASU regained a 10 point lead with just under four minutes to play.
The Fighting Ducks would not give up hope. With just 2:04 to play, Herbert threw a screen to Johnny Johnson who took it 17 yards for the TD. ASU held a 31-28 lead and needed one first down to seal the game after the failed onside kick and just two timeouts remaining.
Eno Benjamin finished off the game on the ground, getting the first down they needed and forcing Oregon to use their remaining timeouts.
Oregon falls to Arizona St in Tempe, and is officially out of the CFB Playoff race. However, they will still be playing in the Pac-12 Championship game on Dec. 6th and have a chance to not only win the conference, but make it to the Rose Bowl.
Final: Arizona St 31, Oregon 28
Herbert – 20 of 36, 304 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s
Daniels – 22 of 32, 408 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s