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d a i l y

vol. 112, issue 15

e m e r a l d

friday, september 24, 2010

PREVIEW forecast

101 degrees, sunny

at a glance Who: No. 5 Oregon Ducks at Arizona State Sun Devils What: Week 4 game, Pacific-10 Conference opening game for both schools When: 7:30 p.m., FSN Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

summary The No. 5 Oregon Ducks (3-0) open Pac-10 play when they go to Arizona State (2-1) on Saturday night. The last time the Sun Devils beat Oregon was Oct. 2, 2004.

INSIDE game preview Arizona State, coming off a one-point loss at No. 11 Wisconsin, plays host to No. 5 Oregon

LOCKING IT

DOWN Oregon’s sophomore cornerback motivates teammates with his locker room presence and big-play ability

ivar vong photo editor

LUCAS CLARK sports editor

Two years ago, a lanky 17-year-old from Fresno, Calif., stood up and addressed his teammates for the first time. “My name is Cliff Harris, and I’m here to lock shit down,” the newest addition to the Oregon secondary said. Harris then immediately returned to his seat without uttering another word. Some of the older players scoffed at the remark initially, before they recognized the newcomer’s incredible talent on the football field. Now, two years after that preliminary meeting, Harris is one of the most well-liked members of the Oregon football team. His flamboyant personality off the field and

nose for the end zone on it has Harris pinned as the Oregon’s next defensive star. Recruited as the top cover corner in the country, Harris has shown his knack for big plays, having found the end zone three times in 2010. His two punt returns for touchdowns in the season-opener against New Mexico set the Oregon record for most return touchdowns in a single season. His 76-yard interception return for a touchdown in front of more than 102,000 people at Tennessee just reiterated what defensive backs coach John Neal already knew. “There’s no question he’s going to intercept that ball and score,” Neal said reflecting back on the play. “And that’s his mind-set — that’s special. I

think Walter (Thurmond) had that. Jairus Byrd had that. Pretty exceptional players here. “You’ve got to be pretty much a step higher than the normal guy to have all that going for you.” For Harris, being a step ahead of his opponents, both figuratively and literally, began at an early age when his older brother, Mike, was playing high school football. Harris took it upon himself to compete and train the same way his older sibling did. “He was a football star,” Harris said. “So I always used to just hang around him every time he worked out. I started at a younger age.”

harris

continued on page 4

PAGE 2

oregon notes Ducks simulate simmering Tempe temperatures to prepare for road trip to Arizona State PAGE 3

asu notes Vontaze Burfict and the Sun Devil defense look to corral Oregon’s second-ranked rushing attack PAGE 3

pac-10 season Conference opener may be more indicative of Oregon’s Rose Bowl chances than non-conference play PAGE 4


2 Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, September 24, 2010

GAME DAY GAME PREVIEW Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson has plans to upend the No. 5 Ducks this weekend. The former Oregon State coach said Oregon may be the best team in the country and that the Ducks bring an array of talent on both offense and defense.

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aaron lavinsky the asu state press

Sun Devils’ speed concerning for Ducks Arizona State looks to contain an Oregon offense that leads the nation in both yardage and points robert Husseman

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Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson needs no special reason to get up for Saturday’s contest against the Oregon Ducks. “To me, (they) may be the best football team in the country,” Erickson told The Arizona Republic. “When you look at them on both sides of the football and in the kicking game, they’re so balanced it’s hard to decide what their strengths are.” The Sun Devils (2-1) will look to test the strengths of the Ducks (3-0) early and often in the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both schools. Low expectations may have sunk early opinions of an Arizona State team which finished 2-7 in the Pac-10 last season. But last week’s game at No. 11 Wisconsin opened eyes across the country. The Sun Devils overcame a missed 25-yard field goal, a kickoff returned to the Wisconsin 1-yard line to end the first half, and a punt return

touchdown negated by penalty to stay in contention. However, yet another miscue — a blocked extra point — had the Badgers celebrating a 20-19 win. “I don’t believe in moral victories,” Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet told The Arizona Republic after the close loss. “We played well. It just wasn’t enough.” Moral victories were also absent in Oregon’s 69-0 thumping of Portland State, a Football Championship Subdivision school, last week. Through three games, the only true adversity the Ducks have faced was a 13-3 secondquarter deficit at Tennessee. Kelly and the players kept their heads cool, and Oregon won 48-13. The national statistics have been staggering: The Ducks are the national leaders in total offense (611.67 yards per game), scoring offense (63.0 points per game), total defense (193.33 yards per game) and scoring defense (4.33 points per game). Oregon’s presence in the

statistical Big Four is subtly acknowledged by players and coaches, but — with just three games under their belts — not dwelled upon. “The hard part right now with statistics is that, people play so many different people, it’s hard to say (how much they matter),” Kelly said. “You’re comparing things that really can’t compare.” Those statistics will surely shrink after facing an ASU defense featuring middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and defensive end James Brooks. “Any time you’ve got three single-digit linebackers, that’s never good for the offense,” Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. The Sun Devils’ starting linebackers Shelly Lyons, Burfict and Brandon Magee are clad, respectively, in uniform numbers 6, 7, and 8 — numbers traditionally given to skilled offensive players. “They’re very fast. Their corners are outstanding. They play a ton of guys, and their depth is (real) depth,” Helfrich said. Kelly stressed the importance of the Ducks’ offensive

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line play against Arizona State in his Tuesday press conference. “That’s where the challenge is going to be, in how our O-line matches up against their front seven,” he said. This week in practice, the Moshofsky Center was converted into a literal hothouse. The high temperature for Tempe on Saturday is expected to be 105 degrees. Kelly and the football staff cranked up the heat lamps and sealed the doors on the players, hydrating them constantly. “It kind of feels like the summer down here in Oregon, actually,” defensive end Terrell Turner said. “I’m from LA, so I’m kind of used to a breeze, but it’s hot. Down here in Oregon, I really don’t get much of a breeze. But it’s kind of like practicing in the summertime. It feels great. We’re pretty much in Arizona every day.” Two weeks after a game in warm, muggy Tennessee, the Ducks hope their preparation will mitigate the heat factor — and the Sun Devils’ chances at a home upset. rhusseman @dailyemerald.com

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OREGON NOTES

‘‘

Friday, September 24, 2010 Oregon Daily Emerald 3

GAME DAY ARIZONA STATE NOTES

Kelly cranks up the heat Arizona State defense first real in preparation for Sun Devils challenge for No. 5 Oregon The Ducks get ready to square off against first Pac-10 team of the year Patrick Malee sports reporter

With the heat turned up in the Moshofsky Center during practice this week, and with Pacific-10 Conference play officially starting in Tempe on Saturday, it’s clear the pressure has ramped up for the Oregon football team as well. Like he did to prepare the team to compete in Tennessee, head coach Chip Kelly had the temperature in the team’s practice facility cranked up to nearly 100 degrees. This, of course, was meant to better prepare Oregon for the harsh Arizona heat, and most players agree that it worked. “It helped us all,” sophomore quarterback Darron Thomas said. “Because we (weren’t) tired at all. I know if we wouldn’t have prepared like this, we maybe would have been tired, just like (Tennessee). So it helped us a lot, and that’s why we’re doing it again.” Kelly did turn the heat down later in the week, giving the players a much-needed break. “We needed an extra day to recover from the heat,” Kelly said. “We lost a lot of weight

(Tuesday), so we get a chance to recover Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from that.” To be sure, the Ducks will have to be prepared for more than just scorching temperatures as they head into Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State has proved itself a feisty opponent through the season’s first three weeks, and is coming off a narrow 20-19 loss at No. 11 Wisconsin. More importantly, Saturday marks the beginning of what really matters: Pac-10 Conference play. As reigning champions of the conference, the Ducks have every right to be confident in a repeat performance. Picked by most in the preseason to finish near the bottom of the Pac-10, the Sun Devils do not seem particularly dangerous. Kelly, however, knows better than to take any opponent lightly, and his attitude has rubbed off on the players. “You’ve got to come ready to play every game,” tight end David Paulson said. “Because everybody’s bringing their best, trying to win the Pac-10, so (we) can’t take any Pac-10 team lightly.” Indeed, most players are far from looking past Arizona State. To a man, they appear to be excited to play in games that count.

“Now we get to go out, and really play for a real reason, try and win this Pac-10, and just win this game this week,” Thomas said.

“You’ve got to come ready to play every game, because everybody’s bringing their best.” DAVID PAULSON

tight end

Adding to this excitement, believe it or not, is the fact that the game will be played on the road. The Ducks have already faced one difficult test on the road, and they appear thirsty for another chance to prove they travel well. “We know that in order to win a Pac-10 championship, you’ve got to be able to win on the road,” wide receiver Jeff Maehl said. “And that’s something that Chip’s really enforcing on us. And it’s something that we’re going to take a lot of pride in.” One key factor in Oregon’s impressive win at Tennessee was a lack of turnovers. The Ducks committed only one, when Kenjon Barner fumbled a kickoff in the first quarter. From then on, the team played a clean game. The same was not

OREGON

continued on page 9

Sun Devils look to lock down Ducks’ dominating offensive attack in Tempe Robert Husseman sports reporter

The Arizona State football team was strongly represented last season by middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Burfict wreaked havoc on the football field with his NFL physique and running back speed, with 69 tackles (seven for loss), two sacks, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups. The latter two statistics were team highs for linebackers. However, Burfict gained a reputation for wild, undisciplined play, racking up personal foul penalties as quickly as highlight-reel hits. The Sun Devils went 4-8 last season, including 2-7 in conference play, in large part because of the team’s inconsistency and sloppiness. This year, the Corona, Calif. native leads ASU in tackles (23), tackles for loss (three) and pass breakups (three). Anecdotally, coaches have praised his limited mistakes and intelligent play on the field. “He’s the focal point of a lot of our attention,” Oregon

aaron lavinsky the asu state press Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet has been a revelation in his first year with the Sun Devils. Threet, a transfer from Michigan, has thrown for 841 yards and five touchdowns this season.

offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. Look out, Pac-10. Of course, Burfict is not alone in allowing just 103.33 rushing yards a game and 16.33 points per game. Those

marks are 34th and 30th, respectively, in the nation in a young season. “It’s not a one-person

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continued on page 10


4 Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, September 24, 2010

GAME DAY

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Patrick Malee Well, here we are. After three weeks of Portland States and New Mexicos, the Pacific-10 Conference schedule is finally upon us. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good blowout as much as the next person, and watching the Oregon offense (and defense, for that matter) work its magic was certainly a sight to behold. But the time has come for us, the media and fans alike, to see just how good this Oregon team really is. At first glance, a road game at Arizona State might not seem sufficient for this type of judgment. “Really?” you ask. “A matchup against a team that went 4-8

harris

continued from page 1

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A six-year age difference separates Harris from his older brother, which made playing with peers his own age less of a challenge growing up. Harris developed into one of the top athletes in the state of California during his prep career at Edison High School, recording 15 interceptions and four defensive/special teams touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons. For his efforts, Harris received scholarship offers from Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, USC and Utah, before deciding to head north and see what Oregon was all about. In the end, the Ducks just had to much to offer. “My relationship with the coaches and that it’s close to home,” Harris said of his final decision. “Not too far, but not too close. Just everything about Oregon — I love the green.”

A fair point, and the 48-13 win over Tennessee in Knoxville was certainly impressive. But that Tennessee team, now 1-2, appears to be heading backward. Arizona State, on the other hand, is one blocked extra point away from a potential 3-0 start. The Sun Devils came within two points of an upset win against No. 11 Wisconsin on the road, and it’s safe to say that they probably won’t finish 4-8 this year. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get one thing straight. I still think the Ducks will win this game, and in no way am I implying that they are pretenders boosted by

words like confident, flamboyant and fearless are commonly used to describe Harris’ performance. “He’s got a lot of talent and he just loves this game,” senior cornerback Talmadge Jackson III said. “Anytime he goes out on the field, he tries to make a big play.” Harris’ personality and energetic nature has caught a lot of attention during his short time with the Ducks. His ability to back up the talk and two-step the walk has already begun paying off on the field. Harris is not listed as a starter at any position on the depth chart, but his talent has made it hard to keep him on the sidelines. When Oregon lost both Thurmond and Willie Glasper to season-ending knee injuries last fall, Harris’ number was called and he hasn’t looked back since. “They helped me out tremendously,” Harris said of Thurmond and Glasper. “You know, they coached me throughout the whole year just

an easy schedule. My only point is that if Oregon does pull away from Tempe with a win, it will not have come easily. First of all, the Arizona State offense has been completely revamped this year. Gone are the days of Danny Sullivan throwing a costly interception while Dennis Erickson stood on the sideline looking like he might just put himself in at quarterback. The Sun Devils appear to have found a legitimate passer in Steven Threet, an imposing 6-5 Michigan transfer. The junior threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns against Northern Arizona (I know, I know) two weeks ago, and Duck fans will

like Coach Neal. They took me under their wing, and I’m thankful for that.” It’s relationships like those that keep Harris in such high spirits.

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Patrick MaleE is a junior journalism major from Chicago, now in his second year as an Oregon Daily Emerald spor ts repor ter. An avid Chicago spor ts fan, he aspires to one day cover spor ts for a national publication.

ivar vong photo editor Cliff Harris makes another high-flying play in Oregon’s victory over the Portland State Vikings. Harris has already scored three touchdowns this season for the Ducks — two as a return man and one as a defensive back.

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“I’m a team player,” Harris said. “I play for the dudes I work out with, you know, that I’m on the grind with.” sports @ dailyemerald . com


Friday, September 24, 2010 Oregon Daily Emerald 5

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6 Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, September 24, 2010

GAME DAY

150

Rushing yards gathered by LaMichael James last year against Arizona State

5

1

Length, in games, of Oregon’s winning streak against Arizona State. The Ducks have also won three straight at Sun Devil Stadium.

Oregon’s national rank in scoring offense (63.0), scoring defense (4.3), total offense (611.7) and total defense (193.3)

1.05

Points per minute scored by Oregon offense so far this season

14

Number of Arizona State players who have caught at least one pass this season

11

Number of plays resulting in no gain or negative yardage forced by Arizona State defense last week

0

Fourth quarter points allowed by Arizona State this year

VONTAZE BURFICT (7) Linebacker

LAMICHAEL JAMES (21) Running back

PLAYERS TO WATCH burfict photo by scott stuk the asu state press james photo by ivar vong photo editor

LaMichael James had one of his most productive games as a Duck last week against Portland State, rushing for 227 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. However, as even James would admit, the Viking defensive unit barely holds a candle to what he’ll face on Saturday at Arizona State.

The Sun Devil defense is led by sophomore linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the reigning Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Thus far this season, Burfict has totaled a teambest 23 tackles, along with three tackles for a loss and one forced fumble. At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 245 pounds, Burfict

cuts an imposing figure on the field, and will have his eyes trained on the elusive James. Further adding to the intrigue of this matchup is the history between the two players. Last year, James rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-21 victory over the Sun Devils. Though Burfict hardly stopped James in his tracks,

he led the team in total tackles that game with eight and also forced a James fumble in the third quarter. This year, both players once again appear to be at the top of their games. If the matchup this year is even half as interesting as last season’s, viewers could be in for quite a treat.

— patrick malee

starting lineups OREGON SPECIAL TEAMS PK: Rob Beard KO: Rob Beard P: Jackson Rice KR: Kenjon Barner PR: Kenjon Barner LS: Drew Howell HLD: Nate Costa

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arizona state DEFENSE DE: Terrell Turner DT: Brandon Bair DT: Zac Clark DE: Kenny Rowe OLB: Josh Kaddu MLB: Casey Matthews OLB: Spencer Paysinger CB: Anthony Gildon FS: John Boyett ROV: Eddie Pleasant CB: Talmadge Jackson III

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SPECIAL TEAMS PK: Thomas Weber P: Trevor Hankins KR: Jamal Miles PR: Jamal Miles LS: Thomas Ohmart HLD: Trevor Hankins

DEFENSE DE: James Brooks DT: Lawrence Guy DT: Bo Moos DE: Jamarr Robinson OLB: Shelly Lyons MLB: Vontaze Burfict OLB: Brandon Magee CB: Omar Bolden FS: Eddie Elder SS: Clint Floyd CB: Deveron Carr

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OFFENSE WR: D.J. Davis LT: Bo Thran LG: Carson York C: Jordan Holmes RG: C.E. Kaiser RT: Mark Asper TE: David Paulson WR: Lavasier Tuinei WR: Jeff Maehl QB: Darron Thomas RB: LaMichael James


Friday, September 24, 2010 Oregon Daily Emerald 7

GAME DAY 2010 Oregon Statistical leaders

30

374

12.0

3

72

K. Barner

27

201

7.4

4

41

passing

cmp

att

PCT

YDS

TD

D. Thomas

39

73

53.4

562

8

receiving

cat

YDS

AVG

TD

LONG

J. Maehl

13

223

17.2

2

47

D. Paulson

6

103

17.2

2

30

L. Tuinei

6

68

11.3

1

22.7

Defensive

Tkl

ast

INT

TFL/YDS

sacks

E. Pleasant

9

5

-

1.0-2

-

J. Boyett

6

8

-

1.5-3

-

M. Clay

4

9

-

0.5-1

-

B. Bair

8

4

-

6.5-24

2.0-9

C. Matthews

5

5

1

2.0-9

1.0-7

2010 asu schedule

2010 UO Schedule

september 4 vs. Portland State (W, 54-9) 11 vs. Northern Arizona (W, 41-20) 18 at Wisconsin (L, 20-19) 25 vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m. October 2 at Oregon State, 3:30 p.m. 9 at Washington, TBA 23 at California, TBA 30 vs. Washington State, TBA November 6 at USC, 7:30 p.m. 13 vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m. 26 vs. UCLA, 12:30 p.m. December 2 at Arizona, 5 p.m.

September 4 vs. New Mexico (W, 72-0) 11 at Tennessee (W, 48-13) 18 vs. Portland State (W, 69-0) 25 at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m. October 2 vs. Stanford, 8:15 p.m. 9 at Washington State, TBA 21 vs. UCLA, 6 p.m. 30 at USC, 5 p.m. November 6 vs. Washington, TBA 13 at California, TBA 26 vs. Arizona, 4 p.m. December 4 at Oregon State, TBA

2010 arizona state statistical leaders

Rushing

ATT

Yds

aVG

TD

Long

C. Marshall

26

167

6.4

5

50

D. Lewis

18

151

8.4

1

38

passing

CMP

ATT

PCT

YDS

TD

S. Threet

68

103

66.0

841

5

receiving

CAT

YDS

AVG

TD

LONG

A. Pflugrad

15

165

11.0

-

45

K. Taylor

13

180

13.8

1

37

M. Willie

13

155

11.9

1

37

Defensive

TKL

AST

INT

TFL/YDS

sacks

V. Burfict

15

8

-

3.0-5

-

O. Aaron

11

4

-

1.5-5

-

E. Elder

12

2

1

1.0-7

1.0 - 7

K. Johnson

8

4

-

0.5 - 1

-

B. Magee

8

3

-

0.5 - 4

0.5 - 4

Cal @ no. 14 Arizona

L. James

0

no. 24 oregon state @ no. 3Boise State

LONG

1

2

3

4

3

4

3

4

3

4

3

4

3

4

LUCAS CLARK ROBERT HUSSEMAN PATRICK MALEE

andy drukarev

0

no. 5 Oregon @ Arizona State

TD

1

2

LUCAS CLARK andy drukarev ROBERT HUSSEMAN PATRICK MALEE 0

no. 20 USC @ washington state

Avg

1

2

LUCAS CLARK andy drukarev ROBERT HUSSEMAN PATRICK MALEE 0

1

2

LUCAS CLARK andy drukarev ROBERT HUSSEMAN PATRICK MALEE

UCLA @ no. 7 Texas

yds

0

no. 16 Stanford @ Notre Dame

ATT

P ICK T H E PAC

Rushing

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Friday, September 24, 2010 Oregon Daily Emerald 9

GAME DAY Pac-10 Roundup

No. 24 Beavers travel to Boise to face off with No. 3 Broncos No. 24 Oregon State at No. 3 Boise State (5:00 p.m. Saturday) ABC The ESPN GameDay crew will visit Boise for a WAC/ Pac-10 showdown between two ranked teams. Star quarterback Kellen Moore has led the Broncos to a 2-0 start, with victories over then-No. 10 Virginia Tech and Wyoming. Although 20 starters return from last year’s Fiesta Bowl champion, questions remain about the Boise State’s soft schedule, especially in light of Virginia Tech’s loss to FCS team James Madison. Oregon State, alternatively, has faced one of the toughest non-conference slates in the nation. After a close loss to national power TCU to open the season, the Beavers edged Louisville 35-28 last weekend to even their record at 1-1. If Oregon State is to improve on that mark, first-year starting quarterback Ryan Katz will need to have a breakout game. Katz has great potential, but has only completed 47.1 percent of his passes this season. James and Jacquizz Rodgers have been solid as always (the brothers have combined for 351 yards of total offense this season), but will need help to notch the road upset. Key Fact: Boise has won 56 straight home games on its famed blue turf. No. 16 Stanford at Notre Dame (12:30 p.m. Saturday) NBC Although Stanford hasn’t beaten Notre Dame in South

Bend since 1992, the Cardinal enters Saturday’s contest as a slight favorite, and with good reason. The the Irish have struggled to a 1-2 start to its season while Stanford is 3-0 after defeating Sacramento State, UCLA and Wake Forest, each by at least 35 points. Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck, Stanford’s potent offense is averaging more than 51 points a game, while its defense ranks 15th in the nation in points allowed. That’s not to say the Cardinal is in for a cakewalk. Despite close, early-season losses to Michigan and Michigan State, Notre Dame seems re-energized under new head coach Brian Kelly, and the trio of quarterback Dayne Crist, wide receiver Michael Floyd and tight end Kyle Rudolph comprise a potent passing attack ranked No. 8 in the nation. That could pose problems for a Stanford secondary that has yet to truly be tested in 2010, but ranked eighth in the Pac-10 last season. Key Stat: Luck has 10 touchdowns and no interceptions this year, and has only thrown four picks during his 15-game college career. No. 20 USC at Washington State (12:00 p.m. Saturday) After a 3-0 start against less-than-stellar competition, USC has an opportunity to win its fourth game of the season against another abysmal opponent. The Trojans have wins against Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota, and

Quarterback Jeff Tuel has been somewhat of a bright spot for Washington State, with five touchdowns against one interception and a 54.9 percent completion rate. Running back James Montgomery, a Cal transfer, averages 4.8 yards per carry, but the Cougars will have their hands full against a high-powered USC offense with quarterback Matt Barkley at the reins and a powerful running attack that averages 196.7 yards per game. Key Stat: USC has won its past seven games against Washington State. UCLA at No. 7 Texas (12:30 p.m. Saturday) ABC After dropping their first two games to Kansas State and Stanford, UCLA rebounded in a big way with a 31-13 win over then No. 23 Houston last weekend. The Bruins’ next game against a team from the Lone Star State might not be as easy. The No. 7 Texas Longhorns are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball. The defense is ranked ninth in the country in points allowed and should have the advantage against UCLA’s new pistol offense that ranks 118th in the country in passing and averages only 17.7 points per game. The Bruins’ chance for an upset may lie in the inexperience of Texas

Pac-10 Roundup continued on page 10

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have to hope that Nick Allioti and Co. figured out a good way to stop Threet and the Arizona State spread offense. And then there’s the defense. Led by reigning Pac10 Defensive Freshman of the year, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the unit has allowed just 16.3 points per game this season. Against Wisconsin last week, Burfict totaled 10 tackles, including two for a loss, as well as two pass breakups. A player like Burfict, who is built like a brick at 6-3/245, could cause problems all over the field for the Oregon offense. So substantially improved is this Arizona State team that, were I not at practice in the Moshofsky Center this week, I might be truly concerned about an upset. Luckily for the Ducks, Chip Kelly is not one to take any opponent lightly, and it seems clear that he has driven home the point that this game will be both important and difficult.

“Better it happen here,” Thomas said, “than out on the field.” pmalee @ dailyemerald . com

To a man, Oregon players stress how seriously they take the prospect of facing any Pac-10 team, particularly on the road. It is this focus that ultimately leads me to believe that this team will be well prepared and ready to execute on Saturday. But make no mistake, this will be a test for the Ducks. To this point, most people (including me) are unsure as to exactly how high expectations should be set for this season. Another Rose Bowl? Dare we say … a shot at the national title? No one really knows, and to this point, any prediction regarding the fate of this team seems presumptuous. We will have a much better idea on Monday. Am I saying that a win means national title, or that a loss signifies a trip to the Sun Bowl? Of course not. But I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this Oregon team performs in the first scene of this Pac-10 season. pmalee @ dailyemerald . com

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necessarily true in a threeturnover showing against Portland State last weekend, and the Ducks have been working to polish up things before departing for Tempe. “We’ve got some things that we’ve got to correct,” Thomas said. “Me and the running backs (are) working on the exchange and things like that.” Thomas and sophomore running back LaMichael James botched a handoff against Portland State, and Thomas also threw an interception. Mistakes will be made, of course, but the Ducks intend to limit them as much as possible. Whether they will or not remains to be seen. One factor that should not play a significant role, however, is the heat. While freshman wide receiver Josh Huff briefly fainted during Monday’s practice, he quickly adjusted and felt fine the rest of the week. Asked about the incident, Thomas’ answer was simple.

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travel to Pullman to take on a Washington State team firmly entrenched in the Pac-10 cellar. The Cougars are 1-2 on the young season with losses to Oklahoma State (65-17) and Southern Methodist (35-21) sandwiched around a 23-22 win over FCS Montana State.

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10 Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, September 24, 2010

GAME DAY

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Oregon’s 72-0 win over New Mexico was particularly special for sophomore wide receiver Will Murphy. The walk-on from Albany, Ore., caught two passes for 22 yards against the Lobos, including the first catch of his career. Murphy is a lifelong Duck fan whose earliest memories of Oregon football include attending the 1994 Oregon-Washington game at Autzen Stadium. Oregon Daily Emerald: What do you remember from attending the game of “The Pick”? Will Murphy: Not a whole lot. I was only four or five years old. I just remember after the game, out at the tailgater with the parents and the friends, everyone was going nuts. I was just a little kid. I didn’t know how big a deal it was until I got older. ODE: What are your other

pac-10 roundup continued from page 9

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physical” players. “They’re athletic; they’re fast; they can run,” Kelly said of the Sun Devil defense. “They will obviously be the best defense we’ve faced in our first four games.” The defense was a consistent strong point for the Sun Devils last season, often propping up the offense. This year, Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has instituted a spread offense, with promising early results. Arizona State ranks 12th nationally in passing offense (305.33

continued from page 3

defense. I know Vontaze gets a lot of publicity, which is deservedly so,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said. “But they’ve got more than him, and you don’t finish near the top of this conference defensively, like they did last year, with just one guy.” Kelly praised the Sun Devils’ starting outside linebackers, Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee, calling them “very

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doing a little duck hunting around here. Also, steelhead fishing as well. I have an uncle that lives down in Coquille, Ore., who’s been fishing down there for years. ODE: What’s the biggest catch

a 34-27 decision over then No. 9 ranked Iowa. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has been the catalyst for his team’s hot start, completing a gaudy 78.6 percent of his passes with five touchdowns so far this season. A strong running game (running back Nic Grigsby is back averaging 5.7 yards per carry after an injury plagued 2009 season) and a defense ranked seventh nationally in points allowed complement the Wildcats’ passing attack (ranked sixth nationally).

yards per game) and 19th in total offense (461.00 yards per game). “They changed everything that Dennis has done in a long time,” Kelly said. “It’s a whole different operation.” Oregon will be a much bigger test of Arizona State’s mettle than even No. 11 Wisconsin was. After all, the Ducks’ defense went up against the spread offense in fall camp, and in preparation for New Mexico. “We’re pretty much looking at the same thing as our offense. It’s good that we get to go against our offense; they’re one of the best in the nation,” Oregon senior defensive end Terrell Turner said. “It’s just like getting us prepared. We’re in great condition right now.” After an intense three-way quarterback battle in fall camp, redshirt junior Steven Threet was named Arizona State’s starter. The Michigan transfer has not disappointed, completing 66.0 percent of

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Cal’s offense is also capable of putting up points in bunches (52 against UC Davis and Colorado) but it’s uncertain how the Bears will respond to their Nevada embarrassment. After getting destroyed 42-3 by Oregon last year, the Bears fell flat on their faces against a mediocre USC team the next weekend. Will this year’s Cal team have more resolve? Key Stat: Cal surrendered 497 yards of total offense in its loss to Nevada last weekend. adrukarev @ dailyemerald . com

his passes (68 of 103) for 841 total yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Threet is the biggest quarterback Oregon has faced this season. He is an adept scrambler from the pocket, but he isn’t considered a home run threat. “He’s pretty cool,” Turner said. “So far, he did a great job against the three teams they played.” Threet’s leading receiver is a former Duck, redshirt junior Aaron Pflugrad. Pflugrad, the son of former Oregon wide receivers coach Robin Pflugrad, has 15 catches for 165 yards this season. “Tough, hard-nosed, smart, intelligent, catches the ball extremely well, runs great routes,” Kelly said. “Great competitor. He’s going to be a test for us.” Pflugrad may want to exact revenge against his former team, and the Sun Devils would like to help him out. rhusseman@dailyemerald.com

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7:00 p.m. Saturday On the surface, Saturday’s contest between Cal and Arizona in Tucson looks like a matchup between two teams heading in different directions. After two easy victories over UC Davis and Colorado to open its season, Cal was upset 52-31 at Nevada last weekend.. The next day, the Wildcats moved to 3-0 by earning one of its biggest victories in recent history,

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sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who has only made three career starts. Gilbert, who replaced NCAA alltime winningest signal caller Colt McCoy, has only thrown three touchdowns against three interceptions while completing 60.6 percent of his passes. Key Stat: In UCLA’s last trip to Austin in 1997, Texas annihilated the Bruins 66-3

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favorite games that you attended at Autzen? WM: Definitely the Civil War in 2001 at Autzen — Keenan Howry taking the punt back for the touchdown to pretty much seal the game. Definitely Oklahoma (in 2006) — that onside kick was insane, even though after watching the film it really didn’t look like we got the ball. I’d say those two are definitely in my top two. ODE: What’s your major? WM: Sociology. ODE: What’s your favorite class within the major that you’ve taken? WM: I had a great sociology class with Chuck Hunt. ODE: What do you like to do during days off? WM: I really like to hunt and fish. I’m looking forward to duck hunting season getting started,

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Game Day vs. Arizona State University