TEMPE – Arizona State handed Oregon (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) its first Pac-12 Conference loss of the 2019 season and snaps a nine game winning streak. The 31-28 loss kills Oregon’s College Football playoff hopes.
Here are the top three takeaways from the contest.
1. Jayden Daniels is the real deal
During preparation for Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels, Oregon defensive backs referred to him as the best freshman quarterback in the nation, impressed with his “veteran” qualities. Against Oregon, Daniels became the ASU freshman all-time passing leader.
The dual-threat threw dimes and bombs, including a 57-yard touchdown, the longest pass the Duck defense has allowed this season. Daniels went 12 of 13 for 191 yards and one touchdown in the first half, leading ASU to a 10-7 margin over Oregon. Daniels threw his first incompletion with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Oregon did not do a good job containing Daniels to the pocket, which allowed him to show off his playmaking abilities.
The dagger, or spear, if you will, came with 3:54 to go in the game when Daniels connected with Brandon Aiyuk for an 81 strike for the dagger to make it a 10-point game.
2. First half hole
Oregon’s first half was littered with bad plays. The Duck defense didn’t have an answer for Daniels, who they made look like a first round NFL draft pick. Oregon’s defensive backs got burned by ASU’s receivers, giving up uncharacteristic long plays and missing tackles.
The Duck offense was without wide receivers Mycah Pittman (injury) and Jaylon Redd (undisclosed) and only scored seven points off of 10 first downs in the first half. Oregon only had possession of the ball for three minutes in the second quarter, totaling 17 yards of offense. The Ducks fell to a 10-7 halftime deficit, needing major adjustments to attempts their third comeback win of the season (Washington, Washington State).
3. When it rains, it pours
With one quarter left, the Ducks trailed 13-7 and desperately needed a catalyst play or change of momentum to escape the desert without an upset. Quarterback Justin Herbert was not in sync with his wide receivers throughout the game, at times throwing erratically.
There was one connection that was working, however. Johnny Johnson III played out of his mind.
The Chandler, AZ native was clutch in crunch time. Johnson III finished the night with half of Herbert's completions (10), 207 of Herbert's 304 yards passing and two touchdowns. Playing in front of 40 members of his family and friends, Johnson III's effort cannot be understated.
In the end, though, the Ducks did not adjust and lost a devastating game in the desert.
More to come with quotes and videos from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players.