Fast-striking Oregon demolishes Arizona State

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


TEMPE, Ariz. -- Quarterback Marcus Mariota and No. 3 Oregon ran right through Arizona State in a game matching Pac-12 division leaders at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday.
Mariota threw a touchdown pass, caught another, and ran for a third score to lead the explosive Ducks to a 43-21 victory. Oregon had 454 yards, 406 on the ground.
Kenjon Barner produced 143 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, and Mariota gained 135 yards on 10 carries.
"We have some guys, if you give them a crease, they have the ability to go the distance," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "One thing that happens when you blitz, you hear the band play, whether it is your band or theirs. We had a good scheme to attack them."
Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) won its eighth consecutive game in the series. It has won 12 straight road games, the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Mariota became the first Duck since Joey Harrington to throw and catch a touchdown pass and run for a score in the same game.
"It can get a lot better," Barner said of the Ducks' offense. "There are still things we can execute better."
The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in each of their last 10 games, and they had that many by halftime Thursday. They scored four touchdowns in a 4-minute, 11-second span for a 43-7 lead with 11:33 remaining in second quarter.
Mariota threw a touchdown pass midway through the first quarter. He completed nine of 12 passes for 46 yards and no interceptions.
His versatility showed when caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Bryan Bennett late in the first quarter and scored on an 86-yard option run with 12:26 left in the first half.
Barner scored two of his touchdowns in the Ducks' four-minute spree, during which Arizona State ran only seven offensive plays.
"You find out what you are made of when you are hit in the mouth. We got hit by a hammer tonight," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "No doubt in my mind they are one of the best, if not the best team in the country. We were dominated by a team that was a lot better than us."
Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) entered the game giving up an average of 272.7 yards per game, ranked first in the Pac-12, but Oregon had 325 total yards midway through the second quarter.
Sun Devils sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly threw a 28-yard touchdown pass four plays into the game but finished only 10-for-18 for 93 yards and a touchdown. Kelly, who entered the game with a conference-leading 175.98 efficiency rating, threw two interceptions and had a streak of 102 passes without an interception broken on the first play of the second quarter, setting up a Barner touchdown.
"They were blitzing three and four and dropping seven or eight, so they were covering the flats or hooks and deep coverage. They had a coverage game for us, and if the defense does that, I just have to go out and run," Taylor Kelly said.
Arizona State scored two touchdowns in the final 9:33, on Anthony Jones' 36-yard interception return and backup quarterback Michael Eubank's 23-yard pass to D.J. Foster.
The Sun Devils scored on their first play from scrimmage when Kelly hit Kevin Ozier only 49 seconds into the game. Sun Devils defensive end Davon Coleman recovered a fumble on the Ducks' second play of the game.
Barner ran 71 yards up the middle for a touchdown on the second play of the Ducks' second possession, and punter Jackson Rice, lined up in the shotgun formation, completed a pass to placekicker Rob Beard for a two-point conversion and an 8-7 lead.
The Ducks went 74 and 78 yards on their next two drives for a 22-7 lead after the first quarter. That sequence began after Arizona State missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt. Mariota threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Bralon Addison with 7:03 left in the quarter, then caught a short TD pass late in the first period to set off the four-touchdown surge.
NOTES: Both Arizona State's Kelly and Oregon's Mariota were added to the Manning Award watch list earlier this week. The award goes to the nation's top quarterback. Kelly and Mariota entered the game Nos. 1 and 2 in passing efficiency in the Pac-12, respectively. ... With his first-quarter touchdown, Barner passed Ahmad Rashad and Greg McCallum for fourth place in school history in scoring. ... Arizona State junior defensive tackle Will Sutton, who forced the fumble that set up Kelly's first touchdown pass, was helped off the field with an apparent right knee injury and did not return. Sutton had 8 1/2 sacks in the first six games, the third-best total in the FBS.

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