After a disappointing loss in Corvallis last Saturday, things don’t get any easier this weekend for Herm and Arizona State (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) with No. 6 Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) coming to Tempe Saturday night. The Sun Devils have lost four straight, the longest slide of the Herm Edwards era up to this point. The Ducks meanwhile are undefeated in conference play and have not lost since falling to Auburn 27-21 all the way back in week one. Oregon has several talented players on both sides of the ball, as the team ranks top-15 in the country in scoring offense and top-10 in scoring defense. Here are the Ducks to watch out for on Saturday:
Senior quarterback Justin Herbert -- Soon to be playing on Sundays, Herbert is having a phenomenal senior campaign: He has slung the ball for 2,662 yards (3rd in Pac-12) and 28 touchdowns (2nd in Pac-12) this season. The senior is once again among the Pac-12 leaders in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Herbert has avoided turning the ball over as well: three interceptions through the course of ten games.
Herbert threw for over 3,000 yards last season, and he could very well hit that same number during Saturday’s game at Sun Devil Stadium. There really aren’t too many bad things to say about Herbert. He has the strongest arm in the conference, and he’s got a slew of talented receivers to throw the ball to. Herbert has never beaten the Devils in Tempe, but he’ll look to change that Saturday.
Sophomore running back CJ Verdell -- The sophomore enters the game against ASU as the team’s leading rusher with 814 yards on the ground this season. Verdell is currently fourth in the Pac-12 in terms of total rushing yards. After exploding for 257 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in Oregon’s game against Washington State, Verdell has been relatively quiet the past two games.
Even though Verdell did not find pay dirt in the games against USC and Arizona, he’s still Mario Cristobal’s go-to back. The Sun Devil defense will need to make sure they keep Verdell at bay on Saturday. Look for Verdell to share the rushing load with Travis Dye and Cyrus Habibi-Likio.
Sophomore safety Jevon Holland -- After an impressive freshman season in Eugene, Holland has picked up right where he left off. He has made a total of 41 stops (third best on the team), and he is tied with freshman corner Verone McKinley III for the most interceptions on the team (4). Holland should be involved in Oregon’s punt return game as well, an area he has greatly contributed to in 2019.
Jayden Daniels has only thrown two picks this season, but he will have to be extra careful with both Holland and McKinley lurking in the secondary Saturday evening.