Oregon’s miscues kept putting its defense in tough spots.
After Arizona State turned Oregon’s first three turnovers into points, the Ducks’ fourth turnover was quickly followed by Oregon’s first takeaway to seal a 31-29 victory over the Sun Devils Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
Arizona State got the ball for the final time at its own 46-yard line with 3:47 left to play when Cam Phillips intercepted Justin Herbert. The Sun Devils needed a field goal to take the lead, but couldn’t reach Oregon territory before La’Mar Winston sacked Manny Wilkins and forced a fumble that Gus Cumberlander recovered.
Arizona State punted on half of its 16 possessions, including five three-and-outs. The Sun Devils had two drives that lasted longer than seven plays and only one that went beyond 55 yards.
ASU running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver N’Keal Harry put up their typical statistics, but the Ducks kept the ASU stars out of the end zone.
Benjamin ran for 149 yards on 29 carries while Harry had seven catches for 105 yards. Harry was targeted 15 times, but Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham deflected a couple of those passes.
Wilkins threw for 182 yards while completing 15 of 32 passes.
“I can’t speak enough about Thomas, Deommodore (Lenoir) and Mattrell McGraw made some plays out there and Nick Pickett,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said. “I thought those guys played outstanding and that was one of the biggest keys to the game.”
Graham was credited with six of Oregon’s 12 pass breakups while Lenoir had three.
“The first thing to keep in mind, those guys are true sophomores,” Cristobal said. “They are 19-year old guys who are seasoned a bit now. Throughout the spring and the entire season what I have seen is a couple of guys working on their craft.”
The 6-foot-6 Cumberlander had two of Oregon’s four sacks.
“He uses his long arms and full extension to get rid of blockers,” Cristobal said. “Gus is just scratching the surface. I think his best football is ahead of him.”
Oregon appeared to be headed to the locker room at halftime with a big lead after holding ASU to two field goals, but then Herbert threw an interception in the final minute of the half that Aashari Crosswalk returned 50 yards to the UO 22-yard line.
On the next play, Wilkins threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Frank Darby that got ASU within 21-13.
Brandon Ruiz’s third field goal of the game was ASU’s lone score in the third quarter before another mistake by the Ducks led to a touchdown for the Sun Devils in the fourth quarter.
Ugochukwu Amadi fumbled a punt that gave ASU the ball at the Oregon 47-yard line.
On fourth-and-three, Wilkins found Brandon Aiyuk for a 25-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 28-23.
After Adam Stack made a field goal for Oregon, the Sun Devils put together their longest drive of the game by going 75 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown that got the Sun Devils within 31-29.
On the two-point attempt, Oregon stayed with N’Keal Harry and Wilkins threw a pass to the back of the end zone that Darby caught out of bounds.