How Oregon can avoid disastrous defeat to Arizona State

Bri Amaranthus

No. 6 Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) looks to stay unbeaten in Pac-12 Conference play and avoid a disastrous defeat to Arizona State (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12). The Ducks have secured a spot in the Pac-12 title game as the North Division champions and are in the running as a College Football Playoff contender.

Numbers to know: ASU's run defense is currently fifth in the country with only 23 rushing plays allowed over 10 yards this season. With five rushing plays over 20 yards allowed this season, ASU is 7th in the country. 

[READ: Keeping up with the Johnsons: Best friends with a serious competition]

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Fun fact: Oregon has held six opponents under 10 points, which leads the nation and is a program best since 1960.

Betting line: Oregon opened as 14.5 point favorites over Arizona State.

An ASU victory would… Qualify the Sun Devils for a bowl game for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.

A UO victory would… Make Oregon the first Pac-12 team since the Ducks in 2010 to start 8-0 in conference play.

Sun Devil to keep an eye on

Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels is on milestone watch. Daniels needs 38 passing yards to set the ASU freshman school record. Daniels is particularly good at the end of games, recording seven fourth quarter passing touchdowns to one interception. 

Dual-threat Daniels excels at extending plays and improvising, adding 247 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns this season. Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. called him "the best freshman quarterback in the country."

3 keys to an Oregon victory

Finish the game

Arizona State closes games strong, allowing only one fourth quarter touchdown in the last seven games. At 3.3 points allowed per fourth quarter, ASU sits tied for 5th nationally and second in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils are on a four-game losing streak but they aren't getting blown out. Three of those games (UCLA, USC, OSU) came down to the wire, while wining dramatic games against Michigan State and Washington State.

In away games, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 56-20 in the second half. It's important for Oregon to not let off the gas on the road to fly out of Tempe victorious.

Get to Daniels

Oregon's 32 sacks ranks first in the conference and that stat must continue to grow on Saturday. Daniels has thrown for 2,236 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in nine games for ASU this season. The Ducks must contain the dual-threat quarterback to the pocket and stifle his impressive playmaking abilities.

Air it out

The best way for Oregon to move the ball against ASU's unconventional defense is an effective passing game. Lack of an Sun Devil pass rush (115th ranked pass defense) has allowed opposing Pac- 12 quarterbacks to rack up almost 300 passing yards per game.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and wide receivers Juwan Johnson and Johnny Johnson have found a groove. It's a prime occasion for Herbert to air it out. It's a substantial opportunity for the Johnsons to continue their battle for most yards.

How and where to watch

Time: Saturday, Nov. 23, 4:30 p.m. (PT)

Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

TV: ABC

Radio: KUGN-AM (590), KUJZ-FM (95.3), KZEL-FM (96.1)

How Oregon can avoid disastrous defeat to Arizona State originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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