Desperate times call for desperate measures in football. When you’re 1-2 and heading into conference play with the Oregon Ducks you muster up everything you have for a victory. That’s where the Arizona State Sun Devils found themselves on Saturday night in Tempe, Arizona.
Heading into the Oregon game, the Sun Devils were a team that needed to play well and get a quality win over a somewhat surprising Oregon team.
Having lost two of their first three games Arizona State was a desperate team looking for anything positive to build on and come out a victor.
The first half of play for the Sun Devils was the best half of football I have seen this Sun Devils team play so far in the young 2017 season.
On the first possession for the game for the Devils it only took them five plays to put a touchdown on the board. In a blink of an eye, it was 7-0 Arizona State.
After a bad first possession for the Ducks where there punt seemed to be tipped, the second possession went much better for Oregon.
The Ducks drove the ball 75 yards, in eight plays, and it only took 2:45 off the clock and it was all tied at 7-7. Justin Herbert threw a seven yard touchdown pass to Dillon Mitchell.
From there, the Ducks just struggled to really put any offense together. I would call the Oregon offense stagnant for most of the first half.
The Sun Devils on the other hand were a bit creative to get more scoring opportunities.
Manny Wilkins, quarterback for the Sun Devils, threw a touchdown pass to N’Keal Harry and it was 14-7. The Sun Devils had the momentum and were looking for more.
The Sun Devils went with the on-side kick in the first quarter.
It worked. Momentum gained again.
The Sun Devils were looking for a touchdown, but managed a field goal. It was 17-7 Arizona State and they appeared to be in control of the game.
Right before the half, the Sun Devils had a “hold my beer” moment. The Sun Devil punt returner who is inside his own 10 yard line fumbles the punt.
In that situation, you let it go into the end zone and burn the clock out to halftime.
The Ducks take the gift wrapped possession and hand it off to Royce Freeman for a 12 yard touchdown. The momentum was gained back for the Ducks.
Arizona State goes into the half up 17-14.
Football is a game of adjustments and which team would make the better adjustments?
The Devils came out quick and put two quick touchdowns on the board in a span of about four minutes. It was 31-14 and it looked like the Devils had taken all the wind out of the Ducks sails.
The Oregon quick strike offense reared it’s head again for the Duck faithful. The Ducks pulled within 31-28 on the back of their quarterback, Justin Herbert. A couple of 20 passes by the Duck quarterback to Johnny Johnson III and Tony Brooks-James and Oregon was looking to pull off an amazing comeback.
On the other side of the field, the Sun Devils looked shell-shocked. The Devils were not sure what hit them.
Going to the fourth quarter it was ASU ahead 31-28.
Manny Wilkins connected with stud receiver N’Keal Harry and the Devils were in business.
However, the Sun Devils could not punch it in for a touchdown. ASU got a field goal out of it and created a little breathing room at 34-28.
That breathing room was exhausted with about 6:41 left in the game when Oregon quarterback, Justin Herbert scampered four yards for a touchdown. The Ducks went 74 yards in six plays to take a 35-34 lead.
It was Pac-12 After Dark in Tempe.
The Sun Devils needed a drive. The drive of their season up to this point.
Arizona State takes over three minutes off the clock and take the lead on a 47 yard field goal by Brandon Ruiz. It was now 37-35 Sun Devils.
With 2:33 left in the game and with the ability of Oregon to score quick, there was plenty of time for the Ducks to pull this game out.
Now it was the Ducks turn for a scoring drive.
It wasn’t meant to be for Oregon on this night in Tempe.
The Ducks tried to muster one last drive, but turned it over on downs.
Arizona State comes out with a 37-35 win which some may say is a bit of an upset, but for the Sun Devil players, coaches, and fans it was a win. A win that was desperately needed.
Forks Up Sun Devil fans.