The No. 4-ranked Oregon Ducks started their season in impressive fashion last week, capping off their first seven drives with touchdowns in route to a 57-34 victory over Arkansas State. The biggest story of the game was Oregon starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, who ran Oregon's fast paced offense like a seasoned veteran in his first career start. The redshirt Freshman from Honolulu completed 18 out of 22 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and ran it 4 times for 24 yards. Sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas caught two touchdowns and also ran one in from 33 yards out, finishing the game with 125 all purpose yards.
The Ducks look to continue their dominance at home today against a Fresno State team that started their season last weekend under new tutelage first time in 15 years. Playing under first year head coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs cruised to a 37-10 victory over Weber State totaling over 500 yards against the FCS school. Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr threw for 298 yards on 20 for 25 passing, with two touchdowns. Robbie Rouse pitched in with 123 yards rushing on 22 carries, scoring twice as the Bulldogs picked up the victory in front of their home crowd.
Fresno State Coach Tim DeRuyter brought with him to Fresno a spread offense, which he has dubbed ''fast, physical, fanatical.'' It is a big change from the pro-set run heavy offense the Bulldogs featured under Pat Hill for so many years. Whether or not the Bulldogs can run their offense efficiently versus a top team is yet to be seen, but odds are Oregon is prepared for an offense that more or less mirrors their own. The Ducks are looking for their seventh straight victory over Fresno State, and will be doing so in front of one of the best home field advantages in College Football Autzen Stadium.
Oregon hopes to pick up right where their first team offense left off, moving the ball at will and dominating the line of scrimmage. If this team puts up anywhere near as many points as they did in the first half last week (50), this one will be over fast.
The biggest question for Fresno State is their defense, a unit that is switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and has failed to perform at a high level the last couple of years. Slowing down the fastest offense in College Football is no easy task, so if Fresno State is going to have a chance in this game they are going to have to tackle well and force multiple turnovers.
In his short collegiate career, Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas has 21 touchdowns in 15 games. He looks to add to that ridiculous pace today.
The three-time defending Pac-12 Champions are 34 point favorites over the Bulldogs, which if it holds will be the largest spread against the Bulldogs since 1985.
Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse needs just 10 more carries and 194 yards to break Fresno State career rushing records. A big game by Rouse today should mean the Bulldogs are controlling the time of possession, something they have to do if they hope to win.
Fresno State has not defeated the Ducks since a 10-4 victory at Autzen Stadium in 1982.
Where To Watch LIVE STREAM: Oregon v. Fresno State, 6:30 ET