|A potent offense and now dangerous D, Ducks' look to Sun Devils|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 29 October 2007 02:11|
``Rose Bowl, national championship. You can't look ahead though,'' Oregon right tackle Geoff Schwartz said. ``We gotta take it game by game, which is what we've been doing. We got ASU this week. Our goal is always to win the Pac-10, and we're on the road for that.''
Oregon (7-1, 4-1) defeated USC 24-17 at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. As a result, they hopped up a spot in the AP poll to No. 4. The Trojans dropped from No. 9 to No. 13.
Arizona State (8-0, 5-0) defeated California 31-20 in Tempe and took over first place in the conference. The Sun Devils jumped a spot in the rankings, too, to No. 6.
Arizona State's victory put the national spotlight on this Saturday's game at Autzen Stadium. It also helped give the Sun Devils national credibility, running back Dimitri Nance said.
``It was great because they doubted us and we weren't getting a lot of respect,'' he said. ``They didn't think we were going to win the game. It is a great feeling to have.''
Oregon was ranked No. 5 in the latest BCS standings, while Arizona State was ranked at No. 4.
``Now we put a big target on our back. Everyone wants a piece. As a team, we gotta enjoy this team and then get ready to go for Arizona State because they're a great team as well,'' said Oregon's Dennis Dixon, who is getting Heisman Trophy talk for his play this season.
Dixon completed 16 of 25 passes for 157 yards against the Trojans (6-2, 3-2), who were ranked No. 1 to start the season and a heavy favorite to play for a national title.
Dixon also ran for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first Oregon player to run for 1,000 yards or more in a season since Terrence Whitehead in 2004.
The Ducks came into the game ranked second nationally in total offense but managed only 339 yards - more than 200 below their average - against the Trojans' third-ranked defense. It was turnovers, including a fumble recovery and a pair of interceptions, that gave Oregon the advantage.
USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, making his third start while John David Booty nurses a broken finger on his throwing hand, led the Trojans to the Oregon 33 on their final drive, but he was intercepted by Matthew Harper. It was Harper's second pick of the game.
Sanchez completed 26 of 41 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
``There's no excuse for picks like that. It kills the team. That let the other 10 guys on the field down and the 11 on our defense down,'' Sanchez said. ``There's just no excuse for that. It's tough. It's a bad feeling.''
USC return home to host Oregon State (5-3, 3-2) this week. The Beavers defeated Stanford 23-6 in Corvallis on Saturday.
Oregon, meanwhile, checked off the Trojans and were looking ahead to Arizona State.
``Right now, we think of the BCS a little, but not all the way because we want to win one game at a time,'' Harper said. ``And once you win one game at a time, it won't put nothing behind you. Hopefully we'll keep doing this every week.''