Oregon-Arizona St. Preview
An undefeated run through the Pac-12 would help Oregon position itself for a shot at a national championship.
The second-ranked Ducks continue their quest for both Thursday night when they try for an eighth consecutive victory over host Arizona State, which is tied with Oregon for the best record in the conference.
Oregon (6-0, 3-0) is No. 2 in the Top 25 for a fourth straight week and third in the first BCS standings, in which they trail Florida and Alabama.
With games versus No. 22 Stanford, No. 11 Southern California and eighth-ranked Oregon State on the schedule, the Ducks should have a good chance to take over one of those top spots.
"We are 6-0 and the team understands that we control what we can control," coach Chip Kelly told Oregon's official website.
In a tie for first place in the North Division with the archrival Beavers, Oregon puts its 10-game conference road winning streak on the line in its first true away game of the season. The Ducks' last league loss on the road came against Stanford, 51-42 on Nov. 7, 2009.
Oregon has outscored Arizona State 175-81 during a four-game winning streak in Tempe. The Sun Devils (5-1, 3-0) lead the South Division and just missed cracking the Top 25 this week, but their seven consecutive defeats in this series have come by an average of 20.4 points.
Oregon has scored at least 41 points in each of the last four meetings.
"We can't have any mishaps or anything like that," Sun Devils safety Chris Young told Arizona State's official website. "The only thing that goes through my mind is preparation and determination. We just need to find a way to win when we play Oregon."
That may prove to be a difficult task, as the Ducks rank second in the nation with 52.3 points per game and fourth with 302.3 rushing yards a contest.
Oregon also should be well rested coming off a bye week that followed a 52-21 win over then-No. 23 Washington on Oct. 6.
"It is good for everyone to get back to 100 percent and get ready to play Arizona State," said freshman Marcus Mariota, who threw four touchdowns against Washington.
Among the FBS rushing leaders, Oregon's Kenjon Barner has gained 317 of his 727 yards in the last two games. He ran for 171 yards and a touchdown in a 41-27 win over Arizona State on Oct. 15, 2011.
Teammate De'Anthony Thomas rushed for 73 yards and two TDs while catching four passes for 24 yards in that game.
The Ducks have allowed a total of 28 points in the second half of their last four games. Oregon, though, will be without defensive tackle Isaac Remington after the senior was suspended indefinitely for driving under the influence. He has 12 tackles - four for loss.
Despite Oregon's recent dominance in this series, the Sun Devils will be trying for a third straight home victory over a Top 25 opponent.
"It's a big time matchup," Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee said. "I'm excited to play them, who wouldn't be? We're ready."
The Sun Devils certainly appear to be after outscoring their first three conference opponents 115-41. Taylor Kelly was 20 of 28 for 308 yards with five touchdowns in a 51-17 victory at Colorado last Thursday.
In his first season as the starter, the sophomore has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 926 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in league victories over Utah, California and the Buffaloes.