The Arizona State quarterback who had been praised for his quick, smart decisions directing offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s scheme ran into a buzz saw Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium against the Oregon Ducks (7-0, 3-0) as the Devils dropped their first Pac-12 game losing 43-21 in front of 71,004, most of whom wore black for ASU’s “Blackout” primetime tilt on ESPN.
Following a beautiful 28-yard touchdown strike to junior Kevin Ozier on his first throw of the night, the “Quack Attack” set the tone for what was going to be a long night for the soft-spoken sophomore from Eagle, Idaho.
With the Devils (5-2, 2-1) already trailing 22-7 early in the second quarter Ducks linebacker Boseko Lokombo stepped in front of Kelly’s pass in front of the Oregon bench and returned it deep in ASU territory. It was the beginning of a long night for Kelly and the Devils.
In the first half he completed just 4-11 throws with a touchdown and two back-breaking interceptions which led to Oregon touchdowns. He was also sacked twice as the Devils managed just 139 yards of total offense.
The second half was no better as Kelly was denied on fourth and goal from the UO two yard line early in the fourth quarter. Graham pulled him on the next offensive possession opting for backup Michael Eubank the remainder of the contest.
“I just need to take better care of the ball, Kelly said. “They did a great job defensively. They were [rushing] three or four and dropping seven or eight [into coverage]. They had a great coverage scheme for us.”
Kelly finished 10-18 for just 93 yards.
After the game head coach Todd Graham said Kelly and the ASU offense never stood a chance against the Ducks attacking defense.
“We just got whipped,” a dejected Graham explained. “They were really good. You can’t turn the football over. They’re really fast on the perimeter and they capitalized.”