2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Arizona State at Oregon
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Oct. 15 at Oregon 41 … Arizona State 27
CFN Analysis: The system works, and while the players make the thing go, the thing also makes the players. The running game rolled without LaMichael James, but more impressively, it actually picked up a bit when Darron Thomas went out after completing 13-of-17 passes for 187 yards and two scores with a pick. Going forward, the offense will miss Thomas more than James, if Thomas is seriously hurt, but Bryan Bennett proved that he could step in and keep things moving. The defense that was getting gouged early stepped up its play in the second half when Thomas went down as the Ducks went from down three to a 20-3 run to close things out. Cliff Harris proved once again he’s a difference maker on a team of difference makers. Now the goal is to stay healthy over the next few weeks against Colorado and Washington State before back-to-back battles at Washington and Stanford.
The Sun Devils fell flat in the second half, but everyone falls flat in the second half at Autzen Stadium. Carmon Marshall ran for 97 yards and Brock Osweiler held up well, throwing for 291 yards and two scores, but he had to start forcing things late and the offense stopped working. The defense played with too much of an attitude with too many dumb penalties, but it’s understandable; it was trying to set a tone in a hostile environment. This was a blip. It’ll take a total gack to not win the South title. With Colorado up next in two weeks, there won’t be any problem getting back on track.
(AP) EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas was smiling despite his injury Saturday night -- much like teammate LaMichael James the game before.
Thomas became the second star player to go down in two weeks for the No. 9 Ducks during their 41-27 victory over No. 18 Arizona State. Thomas threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns before he came out with a left leg injury early in the second half.
"I'm going to be all right, just to let everybody know," he said, adding that he didn't return as a precaution.
James dislocated his elbow in Oregon's last outing, a 43-15 win over California on Oct. 6. Afterward, he greeted his fellow players outside the locker room, and told reporters it wasn't so bad.
In fact, James wouldn't rule himself out of the game against the Sun Devils, but when game time came Saturday he was on the sideline in sweats.
Kenjon Barner, who started in place of James, ran for 171 yards and a touchdown, while freshman De'Anthony Thomas ran for 73 yards and two scores for Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12).
Brock Osweiler threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns for the Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1), who have lost seven straight to the Ducks.
It was Oregon's 20th straight victory at Autzen Stadium, as well as the Ducks' 15th straight win over a conference foe.
Without James, Oregon had a tough time getting its vaunted running game going against the Sun Devils, but the Ducks ended up with 327 yards rushing -- 269 in the second half.
"The bottom line is with Oregon, you're playing one of the best teams in the country, and if you allow them to run the football you've got problems," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said.
Bryan Bennett, who replaced Thomas at quarterback for the Ducks, completed two of five passes for 22 yards. He also ran for 65 yards.
"When one guy goes down the other guy feels like he's got to pick up the slack," Barner said. "That's what Bryan did and that's what I did."
On the first series of the game, Barner's fumble was recovered by the Sun Devils, who went on to take the early lead with Osweiler's 20-yard touchdown pass to Gerell Robinson.
Oregon tied it midway through the first quarter when De'Anthony Thomas ran a pitch from Darron Thomas 16 yards for a touchdown.
The Sun Devils went up 14-7 on Osweiler's 26-yard pass to Mike Willie. It looked as though Oregon had evened it again when Barner broke away with a 59-yard scoring run, but the TD was called back because of an illegal block.
The Ducks tied it at 14 on Darron Thomas' 28-yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei. The junior quarterback, who had just connected with Josh Huff on a 45-yard pass, was on the run and looked almost as if he were throwing the ball away -- but he caught Tuinei streaking across the back of the end zone.
Linebacker Shelly Lyons intercepted Thomas on the 41-yard line and ran it back to the Oregon 20, putting the Sun Devils in position to score again -- but they settled for Alex Garoutte's 47-yard field goal to pull back in front 17-14.
It was the 11th interception for Arizona State this season, surpassing last year's total.
Oregon answered when Cliff Harris, suspended to start the season after he was cited for speeding on a suspended license over the summer, intercepted Osweiler and ran it back 50 yards. The Ducks went on to score on Darron Thomas' 16-yard pass to David Paulson and take a 21-17 lead into halftime.
Arizona State regained the lead early in the second half on Cameron Marshall's 4-yard scoring run. But just a few plays later, Sun Devils linebacker Colin Parker fell on Thomas' legs, and the Oregon quarterback did not get up.
Darron Thomas grimaced as he was attended to by team trainers, but he got up and jogged off the field. He received further treatment on the sidelines before limping off to the locker room.
He was replaced by Bennett, who led the Ducks on a scoring drive that ended with De'Anthony Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run.
The Ducks extended their lead to 35-24 on Barner's 7-yard scoring run. Alejandro Maldonado had a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Garoutte added a 30-yard field goal for the Sun Devils, and Maldonado came back with a 24-yarder for the Ducks for the final margin.
After rushing for 23 yards in the first half, Barner got 148 in the second.
"I just had to let the game come to me rather than force it," he said.
Darron Thomas, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 straight games, eventually returned to the sidelines with a brace on his left leg. He watched with James, both players wearing dark green raincoats.
After the game, Thomas said both knees were hit.
"It didn't get twisted," he said. "I got landed on."
The Sun Devils have lost 16 straight games to teams ranked in the top 10.The announced crowd was 60,055, the largest ever at Autzen Stadium.
Oct. 15 Stanford 44 … at Washington State 14
CFN Analysis: Andrew Luck actually screwed up and threw a bad pass. And then he completed 23 of his next 25 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns in a masterful performance. Once again, the Cardinal won with such shocking ease that it didn’t do the final score justice. At least, the team was unstoppable in the second half after taking a 10-7 lead into the locker room. The offense came out and Luck quickly moved the ball down the field and put the game away with a 28 point run. No one’s coming close to challenging Stanford so far, but it also hasn’t played anyone with a pulse. Beating Washington and USC over the next few weeks would bring more respect, but as long as Luck keeps playing like this, the BCS ranking will take care of itself.
Washington State did what it could early on, but the offense couldn’t get the passing game going and seemed to lose its rhythm with Jeff Tuel in for Marshall Lobbestael. Tuel, back from a broken collarbone, completed 17-of-30 passes for 145 yards, while Lobbestael hit on 7-of-9 throws for 64 yards and ran for a score. The coaching staff might have an issue; the offense was working fine over the last few weeks under Lobbestael, and Tuel has to prove he can be back to form. With Oregon State up next, getting the ball moving won’t be a problem with either quarterback. 257 yards of total offense was almost 240 under the average, but after losing three of the last four games, just finding a way to get a win again to get back in the bowl hunt is a must. Again, that’s what the Beavers are for.
(AP) PULLMAN, Wash. -- Andrew Luck threw an interception on his first pass against Washington State.
But that was about his only misstep in a masterful performance.
Luck finished with 336 yards and four touchdowns as No. 7 Stanford beat Washington State 44-14 on Saturday. The victory extended the nation's longest winning streak to a school-record 14 consecutive games.
"We played great tonight in the second half," Luck said.
In fact, he threw all four of his scoring passes in the final 30 minutes, when Stanford outscored the Cougars 34-7.
The opening half was a different story. Stanford (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) led just 10-7, its lowest first-half output of the season, as both defenses clamped down.
"It was just little mistakes," Luck said. "It was my fault for not putting the ball where it was supposed to be."
Luck, one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates, completed 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards with one interception.
Stanford's defense, which allows just 10 points per game, kept Washington State (3-3, 1-2) from getting untracked. That forced the Cougars defense to stay on the field far too long, and Stanford wore it down.
"I love what our defense was doing," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We make adjustments and they get it."
Washington State was held to just 257 yards of total offense, compared to 475 for Stanford.
Washington State defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi pointed to Stanford's quick touchdown on its first series of the second half as a turning point.
"We came out and they scored on us right away and we lost momentum," Laurenzi said. "I felt like we got flat after that touchdown. When our offense couldn't counter after that, we fell apart."
Washington State hoped to get a boost from the return of quarterback Jeff Tuel. Tuel, who fractured his collarbone on his first series of the season, finally was cleared to play and started in place of Marshall Lobbestael. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 145 yards.
Leading 10-7 after the half, Stanford drove 85 yards on its first possession of the second half, with a 62-yard pass play from Luck to Coby Fleener covering most of the distance. Luck fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Toilolo for a 17-7 lead.
After punting on its next series, Stanford scored on a 62-yard drive late in the third when Luck hit Toilolo for a 26-yard scoring pass and a 24-7 lead. Luck also fired an 8-yard scoring pass to Stepfan Taylor and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Fleener in the fourth.
Lobbestael scored on a short run for Washington State.
In the first half, Jordan Williamson kicked a 23-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the first quarter to give Stanford a 3-0 lead. The Cardinal has not been scored on in the first quarter all season.
Washington State's Jared Karstetter caught a pass from Tuel but fumbled after he was hit at midfield. The ball was scooped up by Stanford's Michael Thomas, who ran down to the Cougars' 20. On 4th-and-goal from the 1, Jeremy Stewart bulled over to give Stanford a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Taylor fumbled on a run and Chester Su'a recovered for Washington State on Stanford's 40. Aided by two pass interference calls on plays to Karstetter, the Cougars drove to Stanford's 2. Carl Winston ran up the middle to cut Stanford's lead to 10-7 at the half. It was the fewest points either team has scored at the break this season.
Luck had just 89 passing yards in the first half, on 10-of-16 passing, and the Cardinal had just 165 yards of offense. Washington State was held to 94 yards of offense in the first half.
The Cardinal leads the Pac-12 in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and sacks per game. They have allowed just six points in the third quarter all season.
Arizona State (5-1) at Oregon (4-1) Oct. 15, 10:15, ESPN
Here’s The Deal … The game of the week in the Pac-12 could
wind up being a prequel. The sequel, both programs
hope, will come in the league championship game in
Arizona State and Oregon are two of the favorites to
represent the South and North divisions,
respectively. The Sun Devils are slaying many of
their old bad habits with each passing game, pulling
away from the rest of the divisional competition
with decisive consecutive wins over USC, Oregon
State and Utah. This is no longer the hapless
program that can’t win the big win game, or come
through on the road. Surging up to No. 18 in the AP
poll, ASU has an opportunity to exponentially
increase its number of believers with a win this
weekend at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks have regrouped swimmingly since losing the
opener to Oregon, winning its last four games
without breaking too much of a sweat. Oregon is
back; back in the national discussion, back to
piling up points and back in the Pac-12 driver’s
seat along with Stanford. Staying there, though,
might have to happen without RB LaMichael James. The
star of the show on offense suffered a gruesome
hyperextended elbow in last week’s Cal win that’s
expected to sideline him for an unspecified period
Why Arizona State Might Win: The Sun Devils are getting it
done on both sides of the ball, the characteristic
of a program with bona fide championship
aspirations. The offense has been held below 35
points just once all season, stretching defenses
with speed and the big arm of QB Brock Osweiler.
Compared to a year ago, the Oregon D is average, and
vulnerable to the weapons that Arizona State will
unleash. Powerful RB Cameron Marshall can drop the
hammer between the tackles. Osweiler’s quartet of
receivers, Gerell Robinson, Mike Willie, Aaron
Pflugrad and Jamal Miles, is collectively off the
The Devils' D has stepped up as well, ranking second
in the league in points and yards allowed. Led by
intimidating LB Vontaze Burfict, ASU can fly all
over the field to somewhat neutralize the Ducks
explosiveness. The linebackers and safeties have
terrific range, helping elevate the Devils to No. 3
in the country in third-down defense.
Why Oregon Might Win: You don’t get better by losing a player
like James. Only in Eugene do you not get markedly
worse. Yes, the Ducks would love to have No. 21
healthy, but the injury will open the door for
Kenjon Barner to display why he’s one of the premier
No. 2 backs in America. Both he and electrifying
rookie De’Anthony Thomas will excel in a
plug-and-play offense designed to create wide
running lanes for the skill players.
Arizona State must also contend with versatile QB
Darron Thomas, who’s opened his second season as a
starter with 15 touchdown passes and only a pair of
picks. Erratic at times with his throws, he’s very
comfortable at the controls of this attack. In their
toughest road game of the year, the Sun Devils
offense went south, scoring just 14 points at
Illinois. The Ducks D will aim for a repeat
performance, pressuring a gimpy opposing line with
DE Dion Jordan around the edge, and LB Josh Kaddu
coming hard on the blitz.
What To Watch Out For: The key for Oregon on this night will
be the play of Thomas, who can be spectacular on one
series, and maddeningly inconsistent on the next. He
has to be sharper, especially without James as a
safety net. He made some bad reads in the Cal game
that didn’t cost him. Against this week’s opponent,
sloppy decisions could completely alter the tenor of
Arizona State will be holding its breath whenever
Osweiler drops back to pass. Its O-line is unstable,
a situation exacerbated by an injury to starting LT
Evan Finkenberg. Not only is Jordan having a career
year so far, but coordinator Nick Aliotti has access
to enough good athletes to keep Osweiler from
setting his feet on throws.
What Will Happen: Venue is going to be huge. The crowd at
Autzen Stadium, sensing a need to energize the
James-less Ducks with Arizona State visiting, will
give the visitors an earful from wire-to-wire. The
Oregon players will be pretty effective as well.
Head coach Chip Kelly will get a collective effort
out of his kids, including frenetic play from his
defense, and a next-man-in performance from Barner.
There might even be a sighting of Cliff
Harris, the exiled cornerback and special teams ace.
The Ducks will rise to the occasion at home, using
big plays on both sides of the ball to hold off the
Sun Devils’ challenge.
CFN Prediction: Oregon 48 … Arizona State 28
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