Scoring, surprises and great special teams play were anything but absent from Sun Devil Stadium, as the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-2) scored three times in the first quarter to lead the No. 24 Oregon Ducks (3-0) 17 to 14 at halftime.
The Sun Devils were first to light up the scoreboard after linebacker Tyler Whiley blocked an Oregon punt that gave ASU field position at Oregon’s 40-yard line, setting up a 5-play, 40-yard drive, that ended in a 8-yard Manny Wilkins touchdown run. The Sun Devils led 7-0 with just under 12 minutes left in the first quarter.
Two minutes later, the Ducks struck back. Quarterback Justin Herbert connected with Dillon Mitchell for a 7-yard back shoulder grab on a drive that consisted of four Royce Freeman rushes for 32 yard and two catches from Mitchell, for 35 yards. The Ducks tied the score, 7-7.
Then, Arizona State answered. On a 3-yard roll out pass from Wilkins to N’keal Harry, ASU took a 14-7 lead with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. The Sun Devils’ drive started at the 25-yard line, but almost ended near midfield. On a 4th-and-2, from the Oregon 42-yard line, N’keal Harry caught a 16-yard pass to set up a first down from Oregon’s 26-yard line.
The Sun Devils then wasted no time getting back the ball. Freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz shocked the Ducks with an onside kick that was recovered by fellow freshman safety Evan Fields. The drive then ended with Ruiz as well, as Arizona State was forced to kick at the Oregon 11-yard line. Ruiz kicked a 29-yard field goal to put the Sun Devils ahead, 17-7, with a minute and a half left in the first quarter.
As the clock winded down to end the first quarter, the Sun Devils stopped the Ducks before starting the next drive on their own 7-yard line. The Sun Devils gained yardage to midfield when Wilkins connected with Harry for 32 yards, but Arizona State’s drive ended after Ryan Newsome lost 10 yards on a reverse running play and the Sun Devils couldn’t recover.
Michael Sleep-Dalton punted 31 yards to the Oregon 20-yard line, giving the Ducks the ball with around 12 minutes to play in the half.
Five scoreless drives went by before Arizona State nearly gained serious yardage, but the big play was called back.
Starting on their own 17-yard line with just under five minutes in the first half, the Sun Devils almost struck gold on a 36-yard pass from Wilkins to Harry in Oregon territory, but it was called back because Harry was called for pass interference. The Sun Devils then punted 37 yards to the Oregon 46 yard-line.
Then, after 16 minutes and 30 seconds of scoreless football, the drought ended.
Oregon went three-and-out, punted 40 yards, but recovered the ball on the ASU 12-yard line when Ryan Newsome muffed the punt. Royce Freeman then ran for 12-yard touchdown. The Ducks inched a bit closer, 17-14, with 30 seconds left in the half.
- Oregon had seven tackles for loss compared to Arizona State’s four.
- The Ducks (Jalen Jelks) and Sun Devils Devils (J’Marcus Rhodes) each have one sack.
- ASU linebacker Christian Sam led all players with six tackles and 1.5 for loss.
- Harry led all players with 61 receiving yards on four catches and a touchdown.
- Freeman led all players with 60 rushing yards and a touchdown.