Video: Can USC bounce back?

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
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Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore break down USC’s loss to Arizona State.

Final: Arizona State 43, USC 22

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
1:45
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video
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State is beaten-up but winning nonetheless.

Despite numerous injuries to key players, the Sun Devils turned in a strong effort on both sides of the ball in an 43-22 win over USC.

The win ended an 11-game USC winning streak in the series.

The Sun Devils improved to 3-1 and 1-0 in Pac-12 play. USC falls to 3-1 and 1-1 in the conference.

Much more later ...

ASU asserts itself, now can it hold on?

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State drove 82 yards to go up 36-22 over USC, and then the Sun Devils defense made a play that might have ended this one.

Shelly Lyons got a 41-yard pick-six on Matt Barkley to make the score 43-22 with 6:37 left.

Will folks in Tempe start to believe? This injury-riddled team just ended USC's 11-game winning streak in the series. It also could climb back into the national rankings. And it just became the favorite in the Pac-12 South Division.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler's numbers aren't huge, but he and running back Cameron Marshall have taken this team on their shoulders. They also got an assist from Greg Smith, who replaced injured defensive end Junior Onyeali. Smith made two big plays to stop a USC drive deep in Sun Devils territory.

Third quarter: ASU 28, USC 22

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
1:05
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- We enter the fourth quarter and it's anybody's game.

Both quarterbacks have picked up their games in the second half, so it's not unreasonable to think the quarterback that wins the fourth will win the game.

Both defenses look tired. Both offenses are surging.

USC begins the fourth on its 37-yard line, looking to take back the lead.

Here's a guess there might be more than one lead change in this final frame.

Last possession wins?

ASU counterpunches

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
12:56
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Are we headed for a wild one?

Arizona State answered USC's fast start to the third with an impressive 76-yard TD drive to go back up 28-22.

Then USC's Robert Woods returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards into Sun Devils territory.

But just as you thought the Trojans would return fire, Marc Tyler fumbled on the Sun Devils' 25.

Back and forth, back and forth... where will it stop?

USC jumps ahead

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
12:45
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- USC used halftime to completely transform from a flat, sloppy team to a cooly-efficient, and even dominant, one.

Using the pass to set up the run, the Trojans put together touchdown drives of 65 and 80 yards to jump ahead of Arizona State 22-21 -- a 2-point conversion attempt failed.

To steal a Doug Haller tweet: "USC had 142 total yards in first half. In their first two second-half drives, the Trojans have 145."

It's possible an injury-riddled ASU defense is wearing down.

Now, can the Sun Devils' offense answer?

Halftime: Oregon 35, Arizona 9

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
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Oregon opened a can of whup butt on Arizona in the first half in Tucson.

The Ducks have rushed for 210 yards and lead 35-9. Arizona has 21 yards rushing.

LaMichael James rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. A 200-yard night probably would get him back into the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Arizona left a lot on the field. Either quarterback Nick Foles missed open receivers, or his receivers dropped passes. While Arizona doesn't have any turnovers, it had eight penalties for 76 yards.

While the Wildcats' schedule has been brutal, a third blowout defeat probably won't go over well in Tucson.

Halftime: Arizona State 21, USC 9

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
12:06
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State's injury-riddled defense has been taking it to USC in the desert. Is an 11-game losing streak in the series about to end?

Turning point: USC looked poised to cut into a 14-6 Arizona State lead after a long punt return from Nickell Robey gave it a first down on the Sun Devils 13. But ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict intercepted Matt Barkley -- Burfict's first career pick -- and returned it 36yards to the USC 48-yard line. The Sun Devils then drove for a touchdown.

Stat of the half: USC is 0-for-6 on third down. ASU is 4-for-7.

Best player in the half: Arizona State running back Cameron Marshall, who didn't practice all week with a sprained ankle, had 10 carries for 93 yards in the first half. Of course, most of it came on a 70-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game.

What Arizona State needs to do, what USC needs to do: Arizona State needs to continue doing what it's doing -- and show poise with a lead. That means protect the football, avoid stupid penalties but also don't tense up and get too conservative. As for the Trojans, it needs to come out angry at its flat first half. It needs to attack downfield in the passing game, and it needs to get a bit more creative in the red zone.

Burfict gets revenge on Barkley

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Vontaze Burfict: Perfect gentleman.

With USC on Arizona State's 12-yard line after a long punt return, Burfict stepped in front of a Matt Barkley pass and returned his first career interception 36 yards -- where he was tackled by Barkley, who called him dirty this week.

Burfict immediately ran at Barkley. And helped him up.

And then Arizona State drove 48 yards for at touchdown that put them up 21-6 with two minutes left in the half.

Burfict makes a good play. Then he makes a smart play. And his team surges.

Arizona State jumps ahead 14-3

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
11:19
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State is now up 14-3. Will Lane Kiffin turn off the mute button on the USC offense?

The Trojans have played the early going conservatively. But they might need to start opening the playbook and let Matt Barkley make some plays.

As for Arizona State: How about some help from good officiating for once? That overturned fumble from Cameron Marshall inside the USC 5-yard line was a huge shift in terms of momentum and the scoreboard.

First quarter: ASU 7, USC 3

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
11:09
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- A dust storm just hit Sun Devil Stadium -- technical term "haboob" -- and that's not the only local pleasure, as Arizona State is up 7-3 against a flat USC.

The Sun Devils haven't gotten much going on offense since Cameron Marshall went 70 yards for a TD, but USC's offense has been pretty flat. If not for an offsides from Vontaze Burfict on a missed 46-yard field goal, which gave USC a do-over from 41-yards, the Trojans wouldn't be on the board.

It's clear USC wants to establish the run, perhaps to tire a injury-riddled Sun Devils defense. Still, getting 18 yards on nine carries doesn't seem like a great strategy, especially with two runs on third-and-long.

Injured Marshall not so injured

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
10:31
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cameron Marshall wasn't supposed to play for Arizona State.

Well, he just took his first carry -- after not starting -- 70 yards for a touchdown.

Arizona State therefore leads 7-0 based on a player who has a badly sprained ankle.

One way to overcome injuries is to pretend they aren't there. I watched Marshall jogging in pregame; he didn't look good.

Playing possum, perhaps?

Video: USC at Arizona State preview

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
9:56
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Ted Miller previews USC-Arizona State from Tempe.

Will ASU be able to run?

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
9:52
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Watching Arizona State running back Cameron Marshall testing his sprained ankle. I would rate his chances of being a factor tonight as remote.

That means tailback duties fall to Kyle Middlebrooks, Jamal Miles -- a scatback receiver -- and James Morrison, the best blocker of the the three.

Will the Sun Devils be able to run the ball? Keep in mind that with Marshall sidelined, the Sun Devils are down their two top tailbacks from 2010, which includes Deantre Lewis.

Two things that might help: USC's linebacker depth, not good anyway, is down two backups: Lamar Dawson and Marquis Simmons.

A run threat would help protect QB Brock Osweiler. Recall last week, Illinois brutalized the Sun Devils offensive line. USC has a better defensive line than Illinois.

If Osweiler has no support from a running game, Nick Perry and company will pin their ears back, which is not a good thing.

Another defensive back out for Arizona

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
9:32
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Arizona strong safety Marquis Flowers won't play against Oregon, according to the Tucson Citizen.

No word on what his injury is.

Flowers would be the third starter missing from Arizona's secondary. He joining safety Adam Hall and cornerback Jonathan McKnight, who are both out with ACL injuries.

Junior Mark Watley is the most likely replacement for Flowers, according to the Citizen.

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