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Nov. 15, 1997

Sun Devils Dominate Oregon, 52-31

TEMPE, Ariz. - A hot oven is just not a good place for a duck to be as the Oregon Ducks found out against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils turned up the heat at Sun Devil Stadium and roasted the Ducks, 52-31, in front of 64,779 fans to improve to 8-2, 5-1 in the Pac-10. The Ducks fall to 5-5, 2-5 in the conference.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns for ASU. (File Photo)

The Sun Devils finished the game with 623 yards of total offense on 75 offensive plays while Oregon had 408 yards of total offense with the same number of plays. Even 16 penalties for 152 yards could not slow the Sun Devils down. ASU's running game steamrolled through the Oregon defense, racking up 405 yards.. The Sun Devils also converted 10 of 14 third down conversions.

"I'm pleased with the development of the offensive line, especially with Marvel (Smith) and Victor (Leyva)," said head coach Bruce Snyder. "Of course, we have a lot of confidence in Murphy, Ruegamer and Gable. That line is doing a nice job, along with the tight ends, and there's no question that we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball."

Individually, the Sun Devils were led by the tailback tandem of Michael Martin and J.R. Redmond. Martin finished with 158 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns, one of which came on an 83-yard run. Redmond finished with 127 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. ASU is now 17-1 when Martin is in the starting lineup. This is also the second time this season that the duo has had more than 100 yards each.

Linebacker Pat Tillman said of his teammates, "Both of them have moves and both can run over you. It must be like fighting a guy with two right hands."

Junior tailback Marlon Farlow also got into the act with 85 yards on 6 carries and one touchdown. All three backs had a big play for over 50 yards.

Quarterback Ryan Kealy led all passers with 218 yards, completing 17 of 30 with one interception and two touchdowns.

The Sun Devil receiving corp played a key role in the win as well. Junior Lenzie Jackson caught five passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. This is the 23rd consecutive game that Jackson has had a reception. Junior Ricky Boyer had three receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown and tight end Kendrick Bates also had three receptions for 43 yards.

Head coach Bruce Snyder said, "We're extremely pleased with the development of the entire receiving corps.

The Ducks were led by quarterback Akili Smith who had 117 yards rushing on 10 carries and also threw 14 for 34, with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Aside from an interception, the first half belonged to the Sun Devils. ASU's offensive production eclipsed Oregon's, 268 yards to 126 yards. The Sun Devil offense was firing on all cylinders, as it plowed past the Oregon defense, converting five of six third down conversions and moving the chains 15 times.

ASU was first to score with a 24-yard Robert Nycz field goal. After a futile Oregon drive, ASU regained possession and marched to their own 46-yard line. On the next play, tailback J.R. Redmond broke through the line of scrimmage and zig-zagged down the field for a 54-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, ASU continued its domination, moving deep into Oregon territory on a 28-yard pass from Kealy strung out along ASU's sideline for Lenzie Jackson. Kealy found junior Ricky Boyer moving down the middle into the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown pass to make the score 17-0.

Oregon gained its first score late in the second on a 32-yard Josh Frankel field goal. The Ducks looked to be making a comeback, intercepting Kealy at the Oregon 18-yard line, but ASU linebacker Joe Cesta would return the favor, hauling in a batted ball on the next play.

"I read the quarterback and looked into his eyes and dropped to the area he might throw the ball," said Cesta. "He threw it right to me."

ASU would capitalize by marching into the endzone on a one-yard run by Michael Martin. The first half came to a close with ASU leading 24-3.

The second half saw Oregon scoring first on a six-yard run by Saladin McCullough over the right end to bring the score to 24-10. ASU widened the gap later in the quarter when Michael Martin danced through a hole in the line and rumbled 83 yards before being tackled into the endzone. This is the longest run of Martin's career.

"I've been with Michael Martin a long time," said cornerback Jason Simmons. ""He's a person I really look up to as the heart and soul of this team. He may be tired, but he'll go out there and it's the last thing on his mind."

The fourth stanza opened with an ASU drive into Oregon territory to set up a 20-yard touchdown pass, down the middle, to Lenzie Jackson. Safety Damien Richardson pounced on a poorly thrown pass by Smith to haul in his first interception of the season and close out Oregon's first drive of the quarter.

The Sun Devils moved down the field and capitalized on the pick-off with a two-yard touchdown run by flyback Jeff Paulk to make the score 45-17.

With seven minutes left in the game, ASU inserted its back-ups into the game and ran the score up 52-17 on a one-yard touchdown run by Farlow.

Oregon scored twice more before ASU ran the clock out to make the final 52-31.

This was head coach Bruce Snyder's 200th career game. Snyder's overall record as a head coach is now 108-87-5.

Tailback J.R. Redmond said after the game,"We have to practice hard this week. Our focus is to get back to the Rose Bowl."

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