Oregon looks to Stanford after ugly win

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It took three hours and 45 minutes. Oregon and Arizona State combined for over 1,000 yards. And 17 penalties for 172 yards. The Sun Devils offered up seven of the game's nine turnovers.

It was sloppy and, yes, sometimes a bit hard to watch.

When the clock mercifully struck zero, No. 5 Oregon had prevailed 42-31. It wasn't a work of art, but the Ducks won their Pac-10 opener on the road and now can turn their attention to a marquee showdown with Stanford, which visits Autzen Stadium on Saturday.

"It's great when you have teachable moments after a W," Ducks coach Chip Kelly said.

There are plenty of areas for attention. The Ducks entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring and total defense. They will yield those rankings on Monday after giving up 597 yards, the most yards the Sun Devils have accumulated since 2000.

"We didn't have a our best game," defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti noted.

Of course, it's hard to say your defense had a terrible day when it forces seven turnovers, including a pick-6 from safety John Boyett.

The offense was its flashy self at times, particularly when it needed less than two minutes to put together a pair of 80-yard drives late in the first half that turned a 10-point deficit into a 28-24 halftime lead -- an advantage the Ducks never surrendered.

Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas completed 19 of 33 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. LaMichael James finished with 114 yards rushing, including a 40-yard TD run.

"I had 100 yards?" he said. "It felt like 100 carries."

James called the Sun Devils defense "the best I've faced in my whole career at Oregon."

"It seemed like they were everywhere," James said. "They really had a great scheme for what we were doing."

Did we mention that Arizona State had seven turnovers? That's how a team that outgains Oregon 597 yards to 405 loses by double-digits.

“It’s very disappointing to play well and then make a couple plays that cost the team the game," said Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet, who threw for 387 yards and three touchdowns but also had four interceptions. "You’re not going to win the game when you turn the ball over seven times. I think that it’s plain and simple. It’s the only way to look at it.”

Stanford figures to rise from 16th in the polls after routing Notre Dame on the road. The Cardinal beat the Ducks 51-42 in 2009. Both teams are unbeaten. It's fair to say things could get fairly salty in Autzen Stadium.

"It's going to be a very big game," linebacker Casey Matthews said. "After what happened last year, we've definitely been looking forward to this game."

James, however, took a more philosophical view. He said last year's game means nothing for this year. And he didn't seem to worried about a sloppy win, as long as it was a win.

As for the lofty rankings: "Rankings are really nothing," James said. "You don't worry about rankings. How many ranked teams got beat today?"

And when you could answer, "Not Oregon," you knew that even a sloppy monstrosity of a win was just fine in the Ducks locker room.