EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Darron Thomas threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns before he left with left leg injury and ninth-ranked Oregon survived his absence with a 41-27 victory over No. 18 Arizona State on Saturday night.
It was the second straight game that the Ducks have lost a key player to injury. Running back LaMichael James dislocated his elbow in Oregon's last outing, a 43-15 win over California.
Kenjon Barner, who started in place of James, ran for 171 yards and a touchdown, while freshman De'Anthony Thomas ran for 73 yards and two scores for Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12).
Brock Osweiler threw for 291 yards and two scores for the Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1), who have lost seven straight to the Ducks.
It was Oregon's 20th straight victory at Autzen Stadium, as well as the Ducks' 15th straight victory over a conference foe.
There was speculation that James might try to play, but he took the field in sweats. The nation's leading rusher hurt his right elbow against Cal on Oct. 6, but this week wouldn't rule himself out against the Sun Devils.
Without James, Oregon had a tough time getting its vaunted running game going against the Sun Devils in the first half, but the Ducks would end up with 327 rushing yards — 269 in the second half.
On the first series of the game, Barner's fumble was recovered to by the Sun Devils, who went on to take the early lead with Osweiler's 20-yard touchdown pass to Gerell Robinson.
Oregon tied it midway through the first quarter when De'Anthony Thomas ran a pitch from Darron Thomas 16 yards for a touchdown.
The Sun Devils went up 14-7 on Osweiler's 26-yard pass to Mike Willie. It looked like Oregon had evened it again when Barner broke away with a 59-yard scoring run, but the TD was called back because of an illegal blocking call.
The Ducks did pull even on Darron Thomas' 28-yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei. The junior quarterback, who had just connected with Josh Huff on a 45-yard pass, was on the run and looked almost as if he were throwing the ball away — but he caught Tuinei streaking across the back of the end zone.
Linebacker Shelly Lyons intercepted Thomas on the 41-yard line and ran it back to the Oregon 20, putting the Sun Devils in position to score again — but they settled Alex Garoutte's 47-yard field goal to pull back in front 17-14.
It was the 11th interception for Arizona State this season, surpassing last season's total.
Oregon answered when Cliff Harris, who was suspended to start the season after he was cited for speeding on a suspended license this summer, intercepted Osweiler and ran back 50 yards. The Ducks went on to score on Darron Thomas' 16-yard pass to David Paulson and take a 21-17 lead into halftime.
Arizona State retook the lead early in the second half on Cameron Marshall's 4-yard scoring run. But just a few plays later, Sun Devils linebacker Colin Parker fell on Thomas' legs, and the Oregon QB did not get up.
Darron Thomas grimaced as he was attended to by team trainers, but he got up and jogged off the field. He received further treatment on the sidelines before limping off to the locker room.
He was replaced by backup Bryan Bennett, who led the Ducks on a scoring drive that ended with De'Anthony Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run.
The Ducks extended their lead to 35-24 on Barner's 7-yard scoring run. Alejandro Maldonado had a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
After Garoutte added a 30-yard field goal for the Sun Devils, Maldonado came back with a 24-yarder for the Ducks to make it 41-27.
Darron Thomas, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 straight games, eventually returned to the sidelines with a brace on his left leg.
The Sun Devils have lost 16 straight games to teams ranked in the top 10.The announced crowd was 60,055, the largest ever at Autzen Stadium.