With both teams playing well through the first half of the season, Thursday night’s nationally televised showdown between Arizona State and Oregon should not disappoint. ASU is coming off of a 51-17 victory over Colorado while undefeated Oregon had a bye last week. This game carries conference title implications for both teams, as Arizona State is looking to stay atop the South, while Oregon looks to continue their dominance in the North.
Who to Watch
RB De’Anthony Thomas (Soph.)- One of the most explosive players in college football, Thomas is definitely a game changer and will be a huge problem for ASU. There is a reason that Snoop Dogg called him the “Black Mamba”. He is a Heisman contender and does everything for the Ducks. He has 6 rushing touchdowns and 3 receiving touchdowns through 5 games.
RB Kenjon Barner (Sr.)- Another asset out of the backfield, Barner is more of a pure rusher compared to Thomas who does more of everything. Barner is also being considered as a Heisman contender and Doak Walker recipient, which is awarded to the nation’s best running back. His explosiveness out of the backfield on zone reads make it difficult for opposing defenses. Through 6 games so far, Barner has 727 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns.
QB Marcus Mariota (Fr.)- After quarterback Darren Thomas left a year early for the NFL Draft, it seemed as if sophomore Bryan Bennett was head coach Chip Kelly’s next signal caller. But Mariota played well during spring practice and never looked back. He has 1301 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and 5 INT and ranks second in the conference behind ASU’s QB Taylor Kelly in quarterback rating at 156.43.
Oregon- Oregon had one goal entering the season, a BCS National Championship berth.They are second in the nation at 52.3 points per game. However this will be Oregon’s first true road test. The question is how will their young freshman quarterback handle the pressure of a huge road game?
Arizona St.- The Sun Devils to play a complete game against Oregon. QB Taylor Kelly does not need a Heisman like game, but instead just needs to keep the chains moving. As for the defense, they have to control the line, as Oregon will look to impose their will up front in the run game.