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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / 1996

No Letdown for Arizona State

Pacific 10: Sun Devils come off upset of Nebraska with 48-27 victory over Oregon.

September 29, 1996|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — The letdown that Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder feared was coming after last week's upset of then-No. 1 Nebraska didn't materialize Saturday night for his No. 6 Sun Devils, who again used the passing of Jake Plummer for a 48-27 Pacific 10 Conference victory over Oregon.

Plummer passed for 282 yards and four touchdowns to lead Arizona State, which is off to its best start (4-0, 2-0 in conference) since 1982. The Sun Devils won their first nine games that season but finished 10-2.

"It was a circus around here all this week after we beat Nebraska," said Snyder. "I didn't know how many of our guys would be ready to play. I knew we'd have a difficult time and Oregon wouldn't go away.

"But we kept our poise and did the job. And I'll tell you what, this team has all the earmarks of being something special."

Arizona State hasn't been to a bowl since 1987 and had a 21-23 record in Snyder's first four seasons.

"We talked on the field about not letting our heads get too big after that Nebraska game," said junior tailback Michael Martin, who had a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries.

"We're stepping up big-time," said Plummer. "We knew we had to come out and perform well."

Plummer, who passed for 292 yards against Nebraska, completed 21 of 37 passes and Terry Battle had two second-half touchdown runs to turn back a Oregon comeback bid led by Ryan Perry-Smith's career-high 468 passing yards. Perry-Smith also two second-half interceptions inside the Arizona State 20.

"Yards don't win games. You got to score touchdowns in the red zone," said Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti. "We also just gave up too many big plays."

Perry-Smith completed 29 of 56 attempts and had touchdown passes of 66 and 19 yards to Damon Griffin, who had 177 yards in eight catches.

Oregon (3-2, 0-2) scrapped its unorthodox defensive front for this game--with linemen setting up one yard off the line of scrimmage--after allowing an average of 447.3 yards. The Ducks still gave up 591 yards.

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