ASU Football: Sun Devils look to avoid unwanted history against #24 Oregon

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Manny Wilkins
TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Manny Wilkins /

ASU football is 1-8 in their last nine games. The last time they lost nine of ten games as a program was all the way back in the 1929-1930 seasons.

The Devils will look to avoid the history as the 24th-ranked Oregon Ducks come to Tempe.

The Ducks come into the game 3-0 after back-to-back big wins over Nebraska and Wyoming where they scored 42 points in the first half in both games. They have been a first-half team early on this season as in they have only scored seven points in the second half the last two weeks.

Relatively new head coach Willie Taggart for Oregon will get his first taste of Pac-12 play against the Sun Devils who have lost ten straight games to the Ducks. Last year’s game saw Oregon win by the score of 54-35, a game in which quarterback Manny Wilkins did not get a chance to play in due to injury.

Wilkins has a tall task at hand as the improved Oregon defense from a year ago is his first big test of 2017. The Ducks allow just 194.7 yards per game through the air so far, this season and they shut down top draft prospect from Wyoming, Josh Allen, as he got just 64 yards.

Oregon has nine sacks this season which is tied for 21st in the nation. The ASU offensive line has had troubles early this year but Wilkins has stayed calm under pressure. He is one of nine FBS quarterbacks who has thrown three touchdowns and zero interceptions while under pressure.

While Wilkins is a key cog in the Sun Devils machine, wide receiver N’Keal Harry had his biggest game of his Sun Devil career last week against Texas Tech finishing with 13 catches for 148 yards and one touchdown. Harry will be a major player for ASU against Oregon.

For the Ducks, quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Royce Freeman lead the way as Freeman leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with nine already this season. Herbert is completing 72 percent of his passes this year and will look to improve his numbers against an ASU defense who has struggled against the pass.

In last year’s matchup, Herbert was 31-42 for 489 yards and 4 touchdowns, good for career bests in completions and yards.

Key Matchup: ASU Front Seven vs Royce Freeman

Freeman has run all over his opponents this season as he has 460 yards so far. The ASU front seven has had a tougher time against the last big running back they faced, SDSU’s Rashaad Penny who ran for 216.

But the Sun Devils defensive line is fifth in the nation in sacks with 13. The defensive front will be without Koron Crump who went down with an injury last week, but pressure and penetration will be key both in getting to Freeman to slow him down, but to also force Herbert into uncomfortable situations and make bad throws to help the ASU secondary as much as they can.

Next: ASU Football: A look at the Oregon Ducks

Kickoff between Arizona State and No. 24 Oregon is at 7 p.m. PST and can be seen on Pac-12 Network.