No. 18 Arizona State falls to No. 9 Oregon 41-27
Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler was already looking forward to the possibility that he might see Oregon again.
Osweiler threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns, but also tossed two interceptions in the No. 18 Sun Devils' 41-27 loss to No. 9 Oregon on Saturday night.
If it plays out, Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) could face the Ducks again - in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game. Of course, everything would have to fall in line for both teams.
The Sun Devils have next weekend off to ponder it.
''I felt like there were points left out on the field, so offensively I think we really need to diagnose the team tomorrow and this week, throughout the bye week, and see what we missed and get that cleaned up,'' Osweiler said. ''Because we're all hoping for another shot at these guys later in the year, and we'll get things cleaned up and take care of business then.''
Darron Thomas threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns before he came out with a left leg injury early in the second half - the second straight game in which Oregon lost a star player to injury. Running back LaMichael James dislocated his elbow in Oregon's previous outing, a 43-15 win over California.
Kenjon Barner, who started in place of James against ASU, ran for 171 yards and a touchdown, while freshman De'Anthony Thomas rushed for 73 yards and two scores for Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12).
It was Oregon's 20th straight victory at Autzen Stadium, as well as the Ducks' 15th straight win over a conference foe.
Gerell Robinson had six catches for 120 yards and a score for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils have lost 16 straight games to teams ranked in the top 10. They were hurt against Oregon by eight penalties for 95 yards and the interceptions, including a key pick just before halftime.
''We talked about the mistakes; they know. The bottom line right now for us is we got beat by a good football team, we've got five football games left and we've got a bye,'' coach Dennis Erickson said. ''We've got a lot left to play for so we've got to get back and correct some of those things next week and get ready to play five more football games.''
After the bye, the Sun Devils host Colorado.
Without James, Oregon had a tough time getting its vaunted running game going against the Sun Devils in the first half, but the Ducks ended up with 327 yards rushing - 269 in the second half.
On the first series of the game, Barner's fumble was recovered by the Sun Devils, who went on to take the early lead with Osweiler's 20-yard touchdown pass to Robinson.
Oregon tied it midway through the first quarter when De'Anthony Thomas ran a pitch from Darron Thomas 16 yards for a touchdown.
The Sun Devils went up 14-7 on Osweiler's 26-yard pass to Mike Willie. It looked as though Oregon had evened it again when Barner broke away with a 59-yard scoring run, but the TD was called back because of an illegal block.
The Ducks did pull even on Darron Thomas' 28-yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei. The junior quarterback, who had just connected with Josh Huff on a 45-yard pass, was on the run and looked almost as if he were throwing the ball away - but he caught Tuinei streaking across the back of the end zone.
Linebacker Shelly Lyons intercepted Thomas on the 41-yard line and ran it back to the Oregon 20, putting the Sun Devils in position to score again. But they settled for Alex Garoutte's 47-yard field goal to pull back in front 17-14.
It was the 11th interception for Arizona State this season, surpassing last year's total.
Oregon answered when Cliff Harris, suspended to start the season after he was cited for speeding on a suspended license over the summer, intercepted Osweiler and ran it back 50 yards. The Ducks went on to score on Darron Thomas' 16-yard pass to David Paulson and take a 21-17 lead into halftime.
Arizona State regained the lead early in the second half on Cameron Marshall's 4-yard scoring run. But just a few plays later, Sun Devils linebacker Colin Parker fell on Darron Thomas' legs, and the Oregon quarterback did not get up.
Darron Thomas grimaced as he was attended to by team trainers, but he got up and jogged off the field. He received further treatment on the sidelines before limping off to the locker room.
He was replaced by backup Bryan Bennett, who led the Ducks on a scoring drive that ended with De'Anthony Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run.
The Ducks extended their lead to 35-24 on Barner's 7-yard scoring run. Alejandro Maldonado had a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
''When one guy goes down the other guy feels like he's got to pick up the slack,'' Barner said. ''That's what Bryan did and that's what I did.''
After Garoutte added a 30-yard field goal for the Sun Devils, Maldonado came back with a 24-yarder for the Ducks to make it 41-27.
Darron Thomas, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 straight games, eventually returned to the sidelines with a brace on his left leg.
''I'm going to be all right, just to let everybody know,'' he said, adding that he didn't return as a precaution.
The announced crowd was 60,055, the largest ever at Autzen Stadium.