Well, the undefeated dream is over. We're now all left to wonder what could have been had the Sun Devils emerged from Eugene victorious, but the Nation recognizes just how difficult it is for a team to go 12-0 in this day and age of NCAA Football, especially with the parity we've seen in the Pac-10 this season.
Arizona State lost to and was outplayed by, frankly, a better team. And we all knew it going in. Oregon has, without a doubt, one of the most amazing offenses I have ever seen. I lost track of how many times I turned to a friend today and said, "You just can't stop that!"
Oregon is a hard-playing, fast-moving and, most importantly, very disciplined team. ASU learned that for the third consecutive season today. I wish best of luck to the Ducks for the rest of the season and our friends over at Addicted to Quack because I now would LOVE to see Oregon take on all-comers in the National Championship.
A few observations:
1) While it seemed like there were no physical ill effects of Rudy Carpenter's sprained thumb, you could see it was messing with his head. He was sacked nine times, and I counted at least six of them in which he curled up to protect the injured hand. Otherwise, Rudy had a very fine game. You can't argue with his two touchdown passes and over 370 yards.
2) Remember a few weeks ago when I said on this blog that losing Ryan Torain wasn't the deal-breaker for ASU? I still stand by that statement. They might have probably still lost with the Train in the backfield, but he certainly would have made some sort of difference tonight between the tackles.
3) I really do think Arizona State played a good football game today. While the final score read 35-23, the Sun Devils were in it. Don't lose sight of the fact that the game was still 21-13 at the half, and the team was showing all signs of their usual post-1st quarter domination. The only difference is...well...the Devils were not going to hold Oregon scoreless in the 2nd half.
4) I said today that the winner of the turnover battle would win this game. The Devils turned the ball over twice in pivotal moments where they could have scored points, and that was your ball game.
5) If you don't think Dennis Dixon is a Heisman front-runner, you might as well not be watching American football.
More detailed analysis to come later this week, along with a preview of UCLA, who looked like Karl Dorrell-style trailer trash down in the Old Pueblo today.