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  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL

    Defense the key again for Ducks in romp over ASU

    Oregon defense manhandles Arizona State in first-half runaway
  • TEMPE, Ariz. — So the Oregon offense scored 43 points. Ho hum. Whatever.
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  • TEMPE, Ariz. — So the Oregon offense scored 43 points. Ho hum. Whatever.
    Did you notice the Oregon defense dominate? Manhandling Arizona State Thursday night in a 43-21 win at a near-sold out Sun Devil Stadium?
    ASU's offense was responsible for just 14 of those points, with half of them coming in the second half after the game had been decided.
    "I think our defense is playing outstanding right now," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "And that's the key to a great football team."
    Kelly also said that the best defense his offense has faced is Oregon's own defense.
    This was an ASU offense that had scored the second-most points in the Pac-12. Its sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly was first in the Pac 12 in passing efficiency and, entering Thursday, Kelly hadn't thrown an interception in 180 consecutive minutes (99 consecutive passes).
    The Oregon defense rendered him useless. Kelly completed just 10 of 18 passes for 93 yards with one touchdown, which came on ASU's first offensive play of the game.
    Oregon (7-0, 4-0 in the Pac 12) intercepted Kelly twice, his fourth and seventh passes of the game. Oregon junior Avery Patterson hauled in the second pick and ended up one yard short of scoring in three straight games on an interception return.
    "I just couldn't finish it off this time," Patterson said, laughing.
    Oregon also registered five sacks with senior defensive end Dion Jordan, a Chandler, Ariz. native, recording two of those in the first half. Jordan now has five sacks this season.
    "Our defense is doing great because we're all just flying to the ball and the plays are just coming to us," Patterson said. "Opposing quarterbacks never really have time to throw the ball. That's the reason why we don't get a lot of downfield passes, because Dion and Boseko (Lokombo) and the rest of the defensive line get so much pressure on the quarterback."
    Oregon's two interceptions in the first half set up touchdowns. Lokombo intercepted a Kelly pass at ASU's 25-yard line and returned it to the 6. Three plays and 48 seconds later, Kenjon Barner scored to make it 29-7.
    Two ASU possessions later, Patterson got his third interception of the season, taking it back to ASU's 1. Barner scored from there as Oregon led 43-7 with 11:33 left in the first half.
    ASU coach Todd Graham confirmed why his team, now 5-2 (3-1 in the Pac-12), lost.
    "Oregon's defense," Graham said. "We just got whipped."
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    SENIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE Isaac Remington's suspension continued. He did not warm up with the team before the game at Sun Devil Stadium.
    Remington, a Queen Creek, Ariz., native, started the first six games of the season, recording 12 total tackles (eight solo) and one sack. But he was suspended indefinitely last week after being cited for suspicion of DUI in Eugene.
    Remington, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound senior, still practiced during the week in preparation for Arizona State and reportedly traveled with the team to Arizona. His court date in Eugene is Nov. 1, two days before Oregon plays Southern Cal.
    u
    THE NEW VAUNTED PASSING COMBINATION this season could be Bryan Bennett to Marcus Mariota.
    Well, not really. But the two quarterbacks did hook up for a touchdown in one of the most bizarre Oregon touchdowns you'll likely see this season.
    On third and goal on the ASU 2 in the first quarter, Bennett, Mariota's backup, lined up behind center and was called to keep the ball on a running play. Mariota tried the left side of ASU's defense, which stuffed him. Before going down, Bennett saw Mariota wide open a few feet away and flipped him the football. Mariota caught the pass and strolled into the end zone for a 22-7 lead with 1:11 to go in the first quarter.
    "That didn't come exactly how we planned it, but six points is six points," Bennett said. "I saw Marcus at the corner of my eye so I decided to get it out to him and give him a chance. Marcus did a great job of catching the ball and getting to the end zone."
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    PAC-12 COMMISSIONER LARRY SCOTT was present at Sun Devil Stadium Thursday night. He spoke to the media at halftime and instead of talking about the game at hand, he showed off the new Pac-12 mobile app on his phone. You would think he might be bored watching Oregon blow out yet another opponent. Not the case.
    "They're anything but boring to watch," Scott said of Oregon. "They're exciting. That's one of the things about watching the Pac-12, people look at the Pac-12 and see the different types of offensive schemes and some of the more innovative styles of play out there."
    Scott was then asked if he was surprised to see Oregon open at No. 3 when the first edition of the BCS rankings were released Sunday.
    "I think at this stage of the season, no one worries about that too much," Scott said. "There is a lot of football left. I think they're (Oregon) very well-positioned and they control their own destiny."
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