Arizona State lit up by Bo Nix and Oregon on Saturday
Nov 18, 2023, 5:26 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE – Arizona State football’s matchup against No. 6 Oregon was atrocious for the home team as the Sun Devils were blown out 49-13 in a game that felt over almost immediately after it started.
Oregon (10-1) quarterback and Heisman hopeful Bo Nix ripped through the Arizona State (3-8) defense. In the first half alone, Nix had 381 yards and six touchdowns. He was 22-of-27 in the half, giving him more touchdowns than incompletions in the first two quarters.
“He came out hitting all his reads,” said ASU defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory. “And it kind of felt like there was times where he was just making calls on his own. … It didn’t seem like he was necessarily looking toward the sideline. I think it was just more so his ability to truly be a mastermind out there. Get his o-line to hear what cues they need to pay attention to, get the running back to what side he needs to be on and then ultimately get the wide receivers the same play call as well.”
The ASU defense came out showing physicality on its first two defensive snaps. A big hit by cornerback Ed Woods forced an incompletion before Jordan Clark and B.J. Green combined to stop Oregon starting running back Bucky Irving for a loss of one yard. Those two plays would do it for ASU defensive success for the pretty much the rest of the game. On the next play of the drive, Nix completed to wide receiver Tez Johnson for an 18-yard first down and the Ducks never looked back.
The No. 2 total offense in the country cruised the rest of the first half, scoring touchdowns on each of its first six drives. Nix connected with tight end Patrick Herbert for a 23-yard strike on the Ducks’ first drive. On the next Oregon possession, Nix found Herbert again for short completion and Herbert and his blockers did the rest. He went down the field with little to no resistance from the Sun Devil defense for a 49-yard score.
After finding Herbert for back-to-back scores, Nix found wide receiver Troy Franklin for back-to-back touchdowns. Franklin’s first touchdown reception was a wide open 16-yard score and his second touchdown was probably Nix’s best throw of the game. Nix placed the ball perfectly into the arms of a well-covered Franklin for a 45-yard touchdown.
Nix’s fifth touchdown pass of the game magnified the ASU defense’s struggles in the game. Nix dumped the ball off to wideout Gary Bryant Jr., who broke numerous tackles en route to a 71-yard touchdown.
To cap off the amazing first half, Nix orchestrated an incredible 98-yard drive with just over a minute left in the second quarter. He capped off the drive with a pass to Tez Johnson, who got by ASU nickel Jordan Clark for the easy score. The drive was aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sun Devil head coach Dillingham and ASU went into the locker room trailing 42-0.
Nix ended his day in the third quarter, turning over the reins to backup Ty Thompson. Nix finished 24-of-29 with 404 yards and six touchdowns.
“When you can protect a four man rush or five man rush with five and you have really good wideouts, a really good quarterback, you can’t get to the passer, that’s a problem,” Dillingham said. “… They’re just a really good football team to be honest. That’s a team that can win a national championship. If that team runs the table, they deserve that opportunity because that’s one of the best football teams I’ve played, in my opinion, in my entire career.”
Offensively, ASU tried similar play calling to last week’s win over UCLA. Dillingham used running back Cam Skattebo and tight end Jalin Conyers at quarterback in addition to usual quarterback Trenton Bourguet. The trickery did not work this week as the Sun Devils struggled to move the ball, especially early in the game. They managed to score just 13 points.
The Sun Devils wrap up their season next Saturday at home with the toughest Territorial Cup matchup in years. Arizona is 8-3, ranked No. 17 and blew out No. 22 Utah, a team ASU lost to by a score of 55-3, 42-18 on Saturday.
“It’s U of A, it’s the team down south, it’s a game that everybody in Arizona’s going to come to, come watch,” said ASU tight end Jalin Conyers. “So, if you can’t get up for this game because we just got our tail whupped, then we shouldn’t be in that locker room.”