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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Oregon Ducks

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The Kings in the North?

Redbox Bowl - Michigan State v Oregon Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Arizona State 2019 Schedule

Kent State (Aug. 29) - Read

Sacramento State (Sept. 6) - Read

At Michigan State (Sept. 14) - Read

Colorado (Sept. 21) - Read

At Cal (Sept. 27) - Read

Washington State (Oct. 12) - Read

At Utah (Oct. 19) - Read

At UCLA (Oct. 26) - Read

USC (Nov. 9) - Read

At Oregon State (Nov. 16) - Read

Oregon (Nov. 23)

Arizona (Nov. 30)

Oregon’s 2018 Season

The Ducks started their 2018 campaign by winning three straight games before dropping their fourth and their Pac-12 opener to No. 7 Stanford at home 38-31. Pac-12 play would be a rollercoaster for Oregon as they peaked at No. 12 after defeating the No. 7 ranked Huskies 30-27 week 7 and plummeted out of the Top 25 permanently two games later, losing to UofA 44-15.

After falling out of the Top 25 and splitting their next two games against UCLA and Utah, the 6-4 Ducks hosted the 6-4 Sun Devils in what would turn out to be one of the more exciting matchups in the Pac-12 last season as Oregon pulled out a 31-29 victory. The Ducks would go on to finish the season with two more wins culminating in a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl.

Key Returners

QB Justin Herbert — Herbert had a chance at being the first QB off the board in the 2019 draft but instead decided to return for his senior season at Oregon. In 2018, the Eugene native posted 3,151 yards through the air, including 29 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Herbert’s return brings a sense of safety as he should be a key contributor every night and could still end up being one of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft.

LB Troy Dye — Dye is a similar case to Herbert, the second team all-Pac-12 linebacker decided to return to Oregon for his senior campaign with hopes of a top-10 or possibly top-5 season. Dye and the Ducks hopes aren’t out of the question at all, ever since Dye broke into the starting lineup in 2016, Oregon has improved every year. Dye has racked up 302 tackles, 32 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions during his time at Oregon and he shouldn’t have a problem adding to those stats this year.

Biggest Losses

WB Dillon Mitchell — Mitchell’s departure for the NFL was one of the few negatives this offseason for the Ducks. Mitchell had a record-setting year in 2018 breaking the schools record for receiving yards in a season, posting 1,184 yards from 75 receptions along with 10 touchdowns. However, Herbert will still have a solid group of receivers to throw to. Mitchell’s loss will without a doubt be felt this season but Oregon has plenty of talent to try and fill that void.

DE Jalen Jelks— Jelks was a key cog in the Ducks defense last season posting 56 total tackles with over half being unassisted and 7.5 of them for a loss. While he wasn’t the best player on the defense, Jelks was still an important contributor and one of the few players the Ducks will have to replace this season.

Reasons why ASU Could Win

Ever since the Herm Edwards era has taken tempe by storm, the Sun Devils have been playing with passion. ASU has a lot of upside going into the 2019 season but Oregon seems to be a better team in most aspects. However, that passion is what might give the Sun Devils an edge. Their loss to Oregon last season officially ended their hopes of winning the Pac-12 South and if you don’t think that will add a little extra fuel to the Herm Train this season then I have some bad news for you.

Reasons why ASU Could Loss

Oregon has a lot of great things going for them this season, but none greater than consistency. With many key players returning to the program, Oregon has a much higher floor than the Sun Devils. While ASU can win, Oregon is a dark horse playoff candidate this year and their overall talent level with players like Herbert and Dye will likely be too much for ASU.