"Charles (Nelson) is an incredible player, and we miss him".
Then there's Arizona State, who are struggling still to find their footing under head coach Todd Graham.
The Oregon football team improved to 3-0 start with a 49-13 win at Wyoming last Saturday. OR would start with the ball. OR has won its last 10 against Arizona State and the Ducks have covered the spread in the last three meetings. Manny Wilkins wasted no time with a short field off a blocked punt. Previously, Arizona State had never had more than four players with more than 100 receiving yards in a game during an entire season. It's a recipe that has worked against OR: defense, running game, time of possession.
Following a muffed punt by Ryan Newsome just before the half that allowed OR to close within 17-14, Wilkins responded by hitting receiver Jalen Harvey for 63 yards and then he snuck in from two yards out for a 24-14 lead on ASU's first drive of the second half. Oregon's defense, which was allowing opponents to convert on only 20% of third downs, gave up 40% in last night's game.
For Oregon to come out on top here, they will have to control the line of scrimmage and contain Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard. Herbert found Johnny Johnson to cap off a 7 play drive to pull the Ducks back within 10 points.
Tony Brooks-James knew it was a penalty to spike the football.
Arizona State redshirt junior WR Jalen Harvey caught eight passes for 130 yards in a 37-35 victory over OR on Saturday. The Ducks' defense is giving up 23 points and 303 yards per game through three contests. Two possessions later, tight end Jacob Breeland broke a Das Tautalatasi tackle on the way to a 51-yard gain, and a Herbert rushing touchdown soon followed. After an OR three-and-out on the next possession, ASU struck again.
The Arizona game was far from pretty, but today's game against UW showed that the team has a high ceiling and the potential to win more games than the team did past year. OR lost one of its top third down targets when wide receiver Charles Nelson left with a right ankle injury in the first half against Wyoming on Saturday.
Freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz connected on a 41-yard field-goal attempt with less than three minutes to play, and ASU's defense held firm to prevent a last-minute game-winning drive by the Ducks in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. Arizona State's defense is ranked No. 121 in the country, relenting 505 yards per game. Herbert called his own number to tie the game at 34 and Aiden Schneider added the extra point putting the Ducks up one, 35-34. The Ducks entered the game third in the nation at 56 points per game, yet OR trailed ASU 17-14 at the half to a defense playing without Koron Crump, and seven of those points came courtesy of a muffed punt by Ryan Newsome that never should have been fielded in the final minute of the first half.
OR would likely have the ball last with 2:25 remaining in the game.
When the Sun Devils defense broke and OR pulled ahead, 35-34 at 6:41 of the fourth quarter, Wilkins led Arizona State on an 11-play, 57-yard drive to set up Brandon Ruiz's game-winning, 41-yard field goal with 2:33 remaining.
Defensively, Phoenix product Jalen Jelks delivered a memorable performance in front of family and friends. He had 8 tackles, 7 of them were solo to go with three sacks on Manny Wilkins on the night.
The UO offense is led by Royce Freeman, a probable contender for Heisman title, tops the nation with 18 rushing touchdowns. OR welcomes Cal to Autzen Stadium next week.