Photo by Michael C. Johnson // USA Today
Oregon Football

First Look: Arizona State

September 19, 2017

It is a big week for Oregon football. Pac-12 play is about to begin and the Ducks will travel to Tempe for its first conference game.

While ASU isn't especially strong, it's no walk in the park. To this point, there are still real questions about how good this Oregon team is. 

How good is Nebraska? Wyoming? What about the second half skid in each game?

But as I remain with my key point above all else, Oregon is 3-0 on the season. That means they have gotten done what they needed to do to win. This key fact just can't be overlooked.

Meanwhile ASU is 1-2 to start the young season with losses to Texas Tech and San Diego State. Now before we go bashing them for losses to those two programs, both are undefeated. Additionally SDSU just beat Stanford, who may or may not be all that good. 

ASU's lone win came over New Mexico State 37-31 to start the season. 

While I wouldn't exactly call them good, I wouldn't overlook them either. (ASU, not New Mexico.)

Manny Wilkins has been effective throwing the ball with 924 yards on the year with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. His favorite target thus far has been receiver N'Keal Harry, who currently has 266 yards and 2 touchowns. Harry will be a load for the Oregon corners to deal with Saturday night.

ASU ranks No. 5 in the Pac-12 in pass offense, one spot behind Oregon. The Ducks have been strong thus far in pass defense allowing 194 yards a game. Which is impressive considering the talent at receiver for Nebraska and Wyoming having Josh Allen.

The difference however is in the run game. 

The Sun Devils leading runner is Kalen Ballage, who has only mustered 179 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first 3 games. ASU is No. 11 in the Pac-12 in terms of rushing offense and is averaging 97 yards a game on the ground.

Conversely Oregon ranks second in the conference with 285 yards per game and 18 touchdowns on the ground.

A quick look at the defense reveals some more problems for Arizona State. 

ASU is getting gouged through the air giving up 338 pass yards a game on average, second to last in the Pac-12. On the ground they are a little stronger, giving up only 167 yards per game on the ground. San Diego State's Rashaad Penny gashed ASU for 216 yards in week 2. It's not unrealistic to think Royce Freeman won't be able to put up similar numbers this weekend.

ASU's best defensive player, linebacker Koron Crump is questionable for this game.

Oregon appears to be in pretty good health with the only questions surrounding Charles Nelson and Austin Faoliu at the moment. Although Faoliu was seen at Oregon's practice Tuesday with no signs of injury.

This game is set to take place at 7:00 PM (PST) and will air on the fan-favorite Pac-12 Network.

Last season ASU was one of Oregon's 4 wins with a 54-35 victory in Eugene.


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