The Oregon Ducks and Arizona State Sun Devils sit atop their respective divisions in the Pac-12, and neither has yet to play a game with this much weight.
Chip Kelly's 6-0 Ducks visit Tempe, Ariz., for a showdown with Todd Graham's surprising Sun Devils on Thursday. Though fireworks are to be expected, this one could come down to two very talented but underrated defenses.
ASU's defense is led by junior defensive tackle Will Sutton, who has burst onto the scene with an NCAA-leading 8.5 sacks. He will lead the charge to challenge young Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has yet to face such a strong defensive front seven.
The Sun Devils (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) come in giving up 14.2 points per game, good enough for ninth in the nation. The Ducks aren't too shabby in that regard either, as their 20 points allowed per game ranks 32nd.
But then there are the offenses. Oregon (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) will rely upon a ground attack that puts up more than 300 yards per game behind Kenjon Barner and the explosive De'Anthony Thomas. At 52.3 points per game, Oregon will compete with a Sun Devils' offense that scores at a 40.5 point clip per outing behind the efficient arm of sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is in the top five nationally in passing efficiency.
Game time, TV channel: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point spread: Oregon opened as 12-point favorites
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