TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The 14th-ranked Oregon Ducks wanted to
answer critics who called their controversial victory over Oklahoma
two weeks ago a fluke.
Oregon did more than that in a 48-13 rout of Arizona State. On a
95-degree afternoon in the desert, the Ducks (4-0, 2-0) also
stamped themselves a contender for their first Pac-10 title since
"I thought our players played with great purpose today," said
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, whose team set up a Top 25 showdown
against California next Saturday in Berkeley. "I told our players
that we have to understand we are the hunted."
It was Oregon's first game since the officials erroneously
awarded them possession of an onside kick in a 34-33 victory over
Oklahoma Sept. 16 -- a mistake that resulted in Pac-10 suspensions
of on-field officials and two replay officials.
All week Bellotti had said his team didn't receive credit for
its play against the Sooners. That will change after the Ducks used
a balanced attack and a relentless defense to overwhelm the Sun
Devils (3-2, 0-2).
Dennis Dixon threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns, Jonathan
Stewart ran for 142 yards and Jaison Williams caught 10 passes for
137 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense registered six sacks and limited the once-potent
Arizona State attack to 175 yards and a pair of field goals. Terry
Richardson returned a kickoff 100 yards for ASU's only touchdown.
"As a team on defense, we were able to dominate the line and
really put some pressure on the quarterback," said Ducks defensive
end Dexter Manley II, who had three sacks.
Arizona State suffered its worst home loss in six seasons under
coach Dirk Koetter, and its worst defeat in Sun Devil Stadium since
a 59-23 loss to UCLA Nov. 12, 1994. Koetter fell to 2-18 against
Top 25 opponents.
Koetter called the loss "horrendous."
"I apologize to our fans," Koetter said. "We should be paying
them for making them sit through that."
Arizona State, after being ranked 22nd two weeks ago, has been
outscored 97-34 over the last two Saturdays.
Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who led the nation in
passing efficiency last season, continued his recent struggles.
Carpenter completed 6 of 19 passes for 33 yards and threw an
interception in the end zone.
Junior tailback Ryan Torain, who ran for 113 yards, was ASU's
lone offensive bright spot.
Offense was only part of the problem for the Sun Devils. After a
49-21 loss at California last weekend, the Sun Devils had pledged
to shore up their defense after that humiliating loss.
But they had no answer against a balanced Oregon attack directed
by Dixon, a junior who leads the conference in total offense. Dixon
was 19-of-30 for 215 yards and three touchdowns and did not throw
"If the running game is not there, you've got to be able to
throw the ball too," Dixon said. "Having that combination is
The running game was there on this day. Despite being slowed by
an ankle injury, Stewart gained 142 yards on 12 carries, an
11.8-yard average, while back-up Jeremiah Johnson rushed for 89
yards on six carries, a 14.8-yard average.
"Me and J.J. have been producing, especially today," said
Stewart, whose 63-yard run was the longest by an Oregon player in
five years. "We both saw eye-to-eye and said, 'We're doing it
Using a mix of short passes and misdirection runs, Oregon
marched 76 yards on nine plays on its first possession, with Dixon
throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
On the next series, Oregon cornerback Terrell Ward, making his
first college appearance, intercepted a Carpenter pass in the end
zone. Then Dixon connected with Williams again to give Oregon a
14-0 lead with three minutes to go in the first quarter. That
capped an eight-play, 80-yard march.
Williams, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, caught seven passes for 100
yards and two touchdowns in the first 12 minutes.
"I just think that all facets of our offense are coming
together right now," Williams said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... QB Dennis Dixon and Jaison Williams connected for two touchdowns to give Oregon an early 14-0 lead.
Gameball goes to... Dixon, who led the Ducks with three touchdowns on 20-for-31 passing for 214 yards. He also rushed for 31 yards in the 48-13 win.
Stat of the game... 44.4: Rudy Carpenter, one of the nation's most efficient passers as a freshman, completed just 44.4% of his passes against Oregon.