By DAVID BRANDT – AP Sports Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Coach Dan Lanning watched with pride as his veteran quarterback threw touchdowns all over the field, admiring his plays as they made tough catches and marveling as his defense adapted to anything and everything Arizona State tried to pass.
For two glorious quarters on Saturday, the Oregon Ducks achieved football nirvana.
Bo Nix threw for 404 yards and a career-high six touchdowns, Patrick Herbert and Troy Franklin caught two touchdown passes and No. 6 Oregon with a 49-13 win.
“We talk about playing to our standard,” Lanning said. “I think the first half is the definition of that quality.”
The Ducks overwhelmed the Sun Devils with a barrage of offense en route to a 42-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on their first six drives and gaining 444 total yards. Nix – a Heisman Trophy candidate – had touchdown passes of 23, 49, 16, 45, 71 and 16 yards.
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And then the second half began.
“It feels great — it’s a total team win,” Nix said. “We played really well on offense, they defended great, ran the ball great and our receivers do what they do every week.”
The pace slowed considerably after the half-time break, but the Ducks were still on course for victory. Franklin caught eight passes for 128 yards and was the school’s single-season leader for receiving yards with 1,221. Nix completed 24 of 29 passes.
Oregon (10-1, 6-2 Pac-12) entered the game with the No. 1 offense. 1 in the nation, averaging over 46 points per game.
The Ducks opened with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Nix hitting Herbert for a 23-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Herbert caught a short pass and raced 49 yards down the sideline for another score, escorted by a pair of blockers who kept the tight end untouched.
A few minutes later, Nix threw a perfect 16-yard touchdown to Franklin, splitting two Arizona State defenders for a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The chase was in full swing.
Oregon finished with 603 total yards and it was nearly nine yards per play. Bucky Irving led the team with 63 yards rushing to surpass 1,000 for the season.
It would be understandable if Oregon overlooked Arizona State, especially considering the placement of the game on the schedule. The Sun Devils have struggled for much of the season, the Ducks had an emotional win over USC and now they have to prepare for a game against their rivals Oregon State.
But it was clear after a few minutes that Oregon wasn’t going through the motions.
“We don’t play down to a level,” Franklin said. “We are a consistent team when we play.”
Arizona State (3-8, 2-6) looked like it might be ready to give Oregon a good game after an unexpected 17-7 win over UCLA last week, surprising the Bruins with a variety of offensive formations .
The Sun Devils and first-year coach Kenny Dillingham continued the no-nonsense approach on Saturday — and even had some success on the first drive — but a missed 43-yard field goal deflated and Oregon’s offense put the game away. fast.
“They’re a really, really good football team,” Dillingham said. “That’s a team that could win the national championship. If they run the board, they deserve that opportunity.”
Arizona State got on the scoreboard with a 38-yard Dario Longhetto field goal in the third quarter. The Sun Devils scored late on Melquan Stovall’s 15-yard run.
Arizona State’s Trenton Bourguet completed 20 of 37 passes for 142 yards.
Oregon: The Ducks put on an offensive show to win their fifth straight game. Nix has now thrown for 35 touchdowns and just two interceptions this year, adding to a sparkling resume in his fifth college season.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils have been much more competitive over the last few weeks with strong wins over Washington State and UCLA, but they’re not quite ready to handle a team playing at Oregon’s elite level. Give Dillingham a few recruiting classes and that could change.
Oregon may not rise in the polls, but it sure doesn’t look like it will fall. The Ducks are still in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Oregon: Hosts Oregon State on Friday.
Arizona State: Hosts Arizona on Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football
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