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Oregon powers its way to No. 20 in AP poll

Oregon's J.D. Nelson, left, and Justin Phinisee put the hurt on Arizona State's Derek Hagan. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Oregon's J.D. Nelson, left, and Justin Phinisee put the hurt on Arizona State's Derek Hagan. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
The Associated Press

Oregon turned to a new spread offense this season, but their most impressive win so far this season came the old-fashioned way.

The Ducks turned to power football, often using two tight ends, to beat Arizona State 31-17 on Saturday night. The victory moved the Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) up five spots to No. 20. The Sun Devils (3-3, 1-2), ranked 17th last week, dropped out of the top 25 for the first time this season.

“This game shows that we belong,” Oregon defensive end Anthony Trucks said. “People criticized our play against USC, but today we proved that we belong. This win raises the stakes for the rest of the season.”

The Ducks dropped out of the rankings after a 45-13 loss at home to No. 1 USC, a game Oregon led 13-10 at the half.

Against Arizona State, the Ducks fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter, then scored the next 24. Terrence Whitehead rushed for 122 yards in 21 carries. Overall, Oregon gained 235 yards on the ground, to ASU’s 53.

“Our ability to run the football was the difference in the game,” Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said. “It opened up a lot down the field. Certainly, I thought because of our line and because some of the things we’ve been able to do, that we would do that tonight.”

Arizona State was coming off an emotional 38-28 loss to USC. In that game, the Trojans outscored the Sun Devils 35-7 in the second half, thanks largely to the running game of LenDale White and Reggie Bush.

“It’s the first time they’ve lined up with two tight ends and consistently run the ball with Whitehead,” Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said. “We wondered if they would try to do that more after what happened with SC, and they did.”

With the running game going, the passing game clicked, too.

“I haven’t felt this good about a win in a long time,” said Clemens, who completed 20 of 39 for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

Penn State cracks top 10

Penn State is in the top 10, Michigan is out again and UCLA is on the rise in the Associated Press Top 25.

The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions (6-0) are off to their best start in six years and have their highest ranking since they were No. 6 in the Nov. 7, 1999, poll.

Southern California is No. 1 for the 25th straight poll, receiving 58 first-place votes in the media rankings released Sunday, with Texas and Virginia Tech holding onto the next two spots. The Longhorns received seven first-place votes, one more than last week.

Florida State is fourth followed by Georgia and Alabama.

Miami is No. 7 and Penn State, Notre Dame and LSU round out the top 10.

Penn State, which started the season unranked, beat Ohio State 17-10 on Saturday night in State College, Pa., to jump eight spots in the poll. Ohio State fell nine spots to 15th.

In the USA Today coaches’ poll, the top five was unchanged from last week – USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Florida State. The Harris Interactive poll put the top five in the same order, with Georgia moving up from No. 5 the previous week.

In the AP Top 25, No. 11 is Florida and UCLA is No. 12, moving up eight spots after beating California 47-40.

The Bruins (5-0) haven’t been ranked this high since the last poll of October 2001, when they were ninth.

No. 13 Texas Tech is followed by Boston College, Ohio State, Michigan State and Tennessee, which fell nine spots to No. 17 after losing 27-14 to Georgia.

Cal dropped eight spots to No. 18, and is followed by Louisville and Oregon. No. 21 Auburn gives the Southeast Conference six ranked teams, the most of any league.

Minnesota returns at No. 22, and No. 23 Wisconsin gives the Big Ten five ranked teams. No. 24 Colorado is in the rankings for the first time since early in the 2003 season.

No. 25 TCU was in the Top 25 for one week after beating Oklahoma to start this season, then lost to SMU the next week and fell out. The Horned Frogs have since won four straight.

Falling out of the Top 25 along with Michigan were Georgia Tech and Arizona State.

Peterson expected to play

Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson is expected to play next week at Kansas, coach Bob Stoops said Sunday, one day after the tailback was limited by a sprained right ankle in a loss to Texas.

Stoops said Peterson did not play enough during the 45-12 loss to the second-ranked Longhorns to make the injury worse and should be closer to full speed on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

Peterson had only three carries for 10 yards against Texas.

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