Sun Devil football’s ducks haven’t been in a row all season, with injuries and an inconsistent offense preventing the team from having linear success. This showed in all of the worst ways last Saturday in a beatdown at the hands of Oregon, 49-13.
The Sun Devil offense sought to win the second half of the game, according to head coach Kenny Dillingham, after the team failed to score a touchdown during the first half.
“That’s not a win … it shows the guys are actually trying to do what I ask,” Dillingham said. “They’re trying to compete, and that’s the big thing. They did that, and I was proud of them.”
There was a glimpse of that competitiveness on the scoreboard, with graduate student receiver Melquan Stovall scoring a rushing touchdown and graduate student kicker Dario Longhetto hitting two field goals in the second half. However, the Ducks almost doubled the Sun Devils’ total yards with 603 compared to ASU’s 316 yards.
After their successful performance last weekend, the offense continued to shake things up, but Dillingham’s bag of tricks didn’t yield the same result.
Tossed in Saturday’s mixed bag included redshirt junior quarterback Trenton Bourguet, junior running back Cam Skattebo, and redshirt junior tight end Jalin Conyers, alternating at quarterback during creative plays. Bourguet threw for 142 yards, completing 20 out of 37 passes.
Skattebo led the team in rushing yards, tallying 49 for the game. Conyers and Stovall followed behind with 34 and 15 rushing yards, respectively. Redshirt junior receiver Elijhah Badgers led ASU in receiving yards with 64, but it wasn’t enough to beat Oregon’s offensive explosion.
Bourguet related the game to the ups and downs of life and thought the team did a good job responding to this particular downside.
“I thought this team did a great job of coming out that second half and competing,” Bourguet said. “It was 42-0, and we very easily could’ve put our heads down and not even come out the second half to compete."
The defense was as futile as sitting ducks against Oregon senior quarterback Bo Nix and the Ducks’ offense. In the first half alone, the Heisman frontrunner put up six touchdowns, including 381 yards passing.
The strength of the Sun Devil’s defense has been their tackling, but Oregon’s dynamic set of weapons was tough to bring down all afternoon. Junior runningback Bucky Irving ran for 63 yards and hauled in 33 yards through the air. Junior receiver Troy Franklin racked up 128 yards with two touchdowns as well.
“There were a lot of times where you felt like they were going to the ground with you, then you look up, and they’re still getting yards after the carry,” graduate student defensive lineman Dashaun Mallory said. “The defense just didn’t execute gang tackling. We definitely spoke about that all week. We knew we must always get multiple bodies on the ball carrier.”
It’s back to square one as the team prepares for their last game of the season — the Territorial Cup against the University of Arizona on Saturday, or as Conyers puts it, “a team we all hate.”
Edited By Alfred Smith III, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.