TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Bralon Addison got his foot down just in time, barely missing the back line of the end zone. Arrion Springs timed his move just right, snagging an interception in the same end zone.
Two big plays on a night filled with them may have saved Oregon’s season.
Addison scored on a 20-yard pass in the third overtime on a play upheld by review and Springs intercepted Mike Bercovici’s pass in the end zone, lifting Oregon to a wild 61-55 win over Arizona State Thursday night.
“We knew this we going to be a back and forth type of thing,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “We didn’t know it was going to be 61-55 back and forth.”
Two teams clinging to hopes in their respective divisions, the Sun Devils and Ducks traded explosive plays in a game that featured 1,243 total yards and 177 combined plays.
It came down to a pair of plays in the third overtime.
Addison appeared to touch the back line on his TD catch, but one view of the play was blocked by a camera and the officials upheld the original call upon review.
After Oregon (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) failed on the mandatory 2-point conversion, Springs sealed it with an interception, sending the Ducks racing onto the field.
“I knew it was coming the whole way – the whole way,” Springs said.
Oregon had 501 total yards and needed another big play just to get into overtime. Dwayne Stanford pulled it off, grabbing Vernon Adams’ fourth-down, desperation pass for an 8-yard touchdown despite being run into by teammate Johnny Mundt.
Charles Nelson had a 100-yard kick return touchdown, and Adams threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Royce Freeman added 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns – one in the second overtime – in Oregon’s ninth straight win over Arizona State.
Despite their struggles – No. 7 in the preseason poll to unranked – the Ducks still have a shot at the Pac-12 North title should they keep winning and No. 8 Stanford falters.
The Sun Devils (4-4, 2-3) had 742 total yards – one short of the school record – and scored touchdowns in the first two overtimes, yet still couldn’t stop the Ducks when they needed to.
Bercovici threw for 398 yards and five touchdowns, and added an 18-yard scoring run in the second overtime. Demario Richard ran for 136 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The difference for the Sun Devils was the mistakes: numerous defensive breakdowns, three missed field goals, key penalties and Bercovici’s two interceptions.
“That one hurt about as bad as any one since I’ve been here,” Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said.
Using white sheets to protect their offensive signals – after Utah accused the Sun Devils of stealing signs on Oct. 17 – the Ducks hit big plays right out of the gate.
Adams hit Darren Carrington for a 46-yard completion on the game’s second play, setting up Aidan Schneider’s 24-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, Freeman raced for a 64-yard touchdown. Carrington later broke free after a defensive breakdown, scoring easily on a 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Ducks up 17-7.
Arizona State wasn’t bad, either.
Bercovici drilled a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devin Lucien against tight coverage, and then found Gary Chambers down the sideline for a 39-yard score before halftime.
It turned into a game of “can you top this?” in the second half.
Zane Gonzalez hit a 28-yard field goal and Richard scored on a 22-yard run after an interception by Kareem Orr. Bercovici followed with a 1-yard TD pass from Richard, but the Ducks snatched momentum right back.
Nelson raced for his 100-yard kick return TD and Kani Benoit scored on a 62-yard touchdown to put Oregon up 34-31.
Arizona State’s turn.
Gonzalez hit a 33-yard field goal after an interception in the end zone by Reggie Daniels was overturned on replay. A misdirection play set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Bercovici to Kody Kohl to make it 41-34 Sun Devils.
An interception on an ill-advised pass by Bercovici gave the Ducks a chance in the fourth quarter and they capitalized with Stanford’s improbable touchdown catch. Bercovici’s second interception, on an attempted slant pattern, ended the game – and probably Arizona State’s chances at the Pac-12 South title.
“As a quarterback, it’s on myself to make sure it’s complete or throw it away,” Bercovici said. “That’s on me at the end of the game to put it in jeopardy like that.”
Oregon 61, Arizona St. 55, 3OT. Edits lead and updates with Arizona State’s missed field goals. With AP Photos.
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