Oregon was able to solidify two positions riddled by injuries against Arizona State.
Sampson Niu started at inside linebacker and Calvin Throckmorton was back at left tackle Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
During the Ducks’ 32-25 loss at Utah, Throckmorton had to play center in the first half while Jake Hanson finished a suspension for a targeting penalty against UCLA.
Penei Sewell started the first six games at left tackle before suffering a lower-leg injury. Steven Jones started against Utah but suffered a concussion and was unavailable for the home finale.
Niu, who was also in concussion protocol during the week, was able to get back in the lineup at the inside linebacker spot opposite Troy Dye. He had eight tackles in the first half in Salt Lake City before getting injured.
Kaulana Apelu (fractured leg) and Isaac Slade-Matautia (shoulder) are already out with injuries.
“You hate it to hit this point in the season, where everybody’s down, but it is the game of football and you do understand it does come along with this game,” Dye said. “So you’ve got to take it and roll with it, but you definitely sit there and go, ‘Dang, why does it always gotta happen to us and why does it always gotta happen to our room?’”
As part of the pregame ceremony honoring the seniors before their final game at Autzen Stadium, the program paid tribute to former Oregon player Fotu Leiato, who was killed in a car accident near the stadium in June.
Four seniors from the defense — Justin Hollins, Jalen Jelks, Ugo Amadi and Apelu — were the Ducks’ captains for the coin flip.
With senior graduate transfer Kano Dillon unable to play due to injury, backup tight end Spencer Webb made his Oregon debut on special teams. The 6-foot-6, 234-pound true freshman from Sacramento will still be able to keep his redshirt, even if he were to play in the Civil War and the bowl game.
During the second quarter, Webb was called for running into the kicker, but the 5-yard penalty wasn’t enough to give Arizona State a first down.
Shorthanded Sun Devil defense
Arizona State was without safeties Jalen Harvey and Demonte King. Harvey led the team with 70 tackles and was sixth with 37 tackles.
The Sun Devils were also without their sack leader and second-leading tackler, Merlin Robertson, in the first half due to a suspension for a targeting penalty against UCLA.
Linebacker Darien Butler was helped off the field in the second quarter on Saturday.
Justin Herbert threw a touchdown pass for the 26th consecutive game, the nation’s longest active streak. … Justin Collins, a walk-on who began his career at Boise State, made his first reception for the Ducks in the second quarter to set up Jaylon Redd’s rushing touchdown. … NFL scouts from the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers were credentialed for the game. … A representative from the Holiday Bowl also attended the game. … Former Oregon standout Patrick Chung, now a member of the New England Patriots, announced the starting lineups during his bye week.