TEMPE – Arizona State (3-7, 2-5 Pac-12) welcomed No. 6 Oregon (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) to the desert, but the welcome was short-lived as Oregon cruised to a 49-13 victory. It was the Sun Devils sixth conference loss and eight overall on the season.
In Oregon’s first drive, Heisman candidate Bo Nix made quick work of the Sun Devil defense. Striking with four completions, the Ducks offense swung the ball wide and beat the Devils to the edge, leading to a 75 yard, 9-play scoring drive to begin the afternoon.
ASU’s trickery continued as the Sun Devils first play from scrimmage featured junior running back Cam Skattebo with a deep pass attempt, bailed out by a pass interference penalty. Eventually, the ASU drive stalled at the Oregon 25-yard line, resulting in a 43-yard field goal attempt. Graduate student placekicker Dario Longhetto pushed the ball wide right as ASU failed to score on their first drive of the day.
Later in the first quarter, Oregon struck again with a 49-yard dump off to junior tight end Patrick Herbert, his second of the day in as many drives. With blockers ahead, the Ducks capitalized off a misdirection motion, creating nothing but green ahead of Herbert and the Sun Devil end zone to extend their lead to 14.
Nix’s day was just beginning as the senior quarterback slung his third touchdown to the left side, splitting two Sun Devils defenders in the third OU drive. The drive was led by an efficient running attack by junior running back Bucky Irving, Irving had 20 yards on only two carries to set up the eventual dart to the end zone. As the end of the quarter came to a close, the Sun Devils scrambled on all ends to find an answer.
Facing two separate fourth downs on the drive, Oregon continued to have their way with the Sun Devils defense, converting on both occasions to contribute to Oregon’s fourth scoring drive on their fourth possession. The drive ended with a 45-yard bomb down the middle of the field to junior wide receiver Troy Franklin, and with no safety help over the top, the tightly contested ball gave Nix another highlight in the game.
Nix’s fifth touchdown came on the second play of the Ducks fifth possession. A 71-yard pass began at the Arizona State 35-yard line where sophomore wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. took it to the house and extended the Duck lead to 35. Bryant broke through four arm tackles en route to his season-long catch and touchdown.
In ASU’s final possession of the half, and with the Sun Devils offense driving for the first time all afternoon, Skattebo hesitantly rolled to his left. His pass fluttered to the hands of the waiting Oregon defensive back Cole Martin. The helpless attempt into the end zone was the last breath for a suffocating Sun Devil offense in the first half.
Offensively, Arizona State was a mess of inconsistency. Between junior quarterback Trenton Bourguet and Skattebo, ASU was 11-22 for 99 yards and one interception. The trickery that fooled UCLA a week prior, didn’t trick the Ducks in the first half as Oregon looked as comfortable as can be.
Nix was 22-27 for 381 yards and six touchdowns, adding a stat line good enough for a full four quarters of play, in only 16 minutes and 55 seconds of possession. Oregon faced only four third downs in the first half in six possessions.
An unreal first half from Bo Nix— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 18, 2023
6 TDs | 22/27 | 381 Pass Yards pic.twitter.com/lMZgCCNKWj
At half, the Arizona State passing leader was a running back in Skattebo, and the rushing leader was a tight end in senior tight end Jalin Conyers.
A short three and out for ASU offensively to begin the third quarter, led to another threatening Oregon possession to open the second half. In Oregon’s first possession all afternoon not putting up points, sophomore defensive linemen Cameron Smith got to Nix for the first and only time of the game to force Oregon’s first field goal attempt. The faulty snap on the 47-yard attempt led to a pass attempt by the placeholder that was intercepted by junior defensive back Ed Woods.
Not exactly how Oregon planned this one to go pic.twitter.com/R0wI3LGmwL— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 18, 2023
ASU’s only scoring drive of the game resulted in a field goal with 5:33 left in the third quarter. A sarcastic uproar from the few remaining fans in the stands on the home side followed a Longhetto 38-yard field goal for the Sun Devils first points on the board, making it 42-3 at the time.
The Sun Devil end zone welcomed the Ducks for their seventh touchdown in the first play of the fourth quarter. An in-stride ball, placed above the Sun Devil defender’s head, came from the backup quarterback sophomore quarterback Ty Thompson for the 19-yard touchdown and extended the lead to 46 points.
The Sun Devils second scoring drive and first touchdown of the day came from a 15-yard completion to graduate student Melquan Stovall with 8:39 remaining in the game.
ASU’s lone takeaway would come moments later when Thompson’s pass was intercepted by freshman defensive back Keith Abney II.
Later in the fourth, Longhetto’s 34-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights to make the score 49-13.
The Sun Devils lost their fifth home game of the season Saturday with Oregon going for a total of 603 offensive yards and seven touchdowns, six of them coming from Heisman frontrunner Nix.
ASU will look to complete their season on the highest of notes by battle rival Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Mountain America Stadium.