Ducks carve up Sun Devils with sharp play

TEMPE, Ariz. — They sliced 'em, they diced 'em and never really gave 'em a chance.

The Oregon Ducks dominated Arizona State 54-20 Saturday to hand the Sun Devils their fifth straight loss.

Oregon jumped out to an early 20-0 lead, rushed for 304 yards and never let the ASU offense get anything going.

Anyway you cut it, the Ducks were the better team Saturday.

"Our defense played exceptional football tonight," Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said. "They did some amazing things. It doesn't matter where the drive starts, we're going to take the pride to keep them out."

Arizona State was finally able to put together a good series once the game had all but been decided. Its 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive made the score 37-13.

The Sun Devils also tacked on a harmless touchdown with 52 seconds left in the game. Their first score came after an interception by linebacker Morris Wooten set them up at Oregon's 1-yard line.

Oregon sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Masoli fooled the ASU defense on several occasions with his play-action fakes, while the Sun Devils had no answer for the Oregon running back duo of senior Jeremiah Johnson and junior LeGarrette Blount. Johnson and Blount carved up ASU for 116 yards and four touchdowns on 17 combined carries.

Johnson's 43-yard score on Oregon's initial drive foreshadowed the Ducks' blitzkrieg.

Masoli added a 3-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter before Blount ran one in from 10 yards out with 12:20 left in the half to give Oregon a 20-0 lead.

None of the Ducks' scoring drives lasted longer than 1 minute, 22 seconds.

"Offensively, we were explosive," Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said.

Masoli totaled 90 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while going 16 of 26 for 147 yards and a score through the air.


UNDER PRESSURE: While the offensive effort headlined Oregon's performance, the defense did its thing as well.

Once again, ASU senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter spent plenty of time picking himself up off the turf.

Senior defensive end Nick Reed was his usual reckless self, while well-called blitz packages kept Carpenter smothered.

Reed attributed the team's success to an intense week of practice.

Oregon amassed three sacks, including a vicious blindsiding hit by senior rover Patrick Chung early in the second quarter.

It didn't hurt to go against the ASU offensive line, a unit that has consistently struggled since the beginning of last season.

The Sun Devils finished No. 117 out of 119 nationally in sacks allowed in 2007 and have allowed 15 during their five-game skid.

Carpenter was replaced by junior Danny Sullivan during the fourth quarter, and finished 17 of 33 for 146 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

"Pressure was huge," Bellotti said. "Containing the run to put them in obvious passing situations is part of our game plan every week and we were able to execute that game plan tonight."


ROPER BACK: Sophomore quarterback Justin Roper played in his first action since injuring his left knee in a Sept. 13 win over Purdue.

Roper entered the game with 13:35 remaining and went 4-for-4 for 86 yards and one touchdown. He connected with former backup quarterback Chris Harper for a 62-yard score to put Oregon up 54-13.

"I'm just going to keep playing my game," Roper said. "I just need to make smart decisions, prove that I'm a leader. We just need to do what's best for the team, and as of right now Jeremiah is the best (quarterback)."

Roper said he experienced no setbacks and that his knee felt fine. He did mention that he felt "rusty" after playing his first series, however.

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