Oregon continues the 2012 season with their second consecutive home tilt. The opponent in week two will be a rebuilding Fresno State (1-0) team. The Bulldogs, who went just 4-9 last season are working under new head coach Tim DeRuyter. A defensive coordinator at Texas A&M before being hired as the head coach, DeRuyter's defenses have always been very solid. With that in mind, DeRuyter hired Dave Schramm from Utah to guide the Fresno State offense.
Fresno enters the contest fresh off of a victory over FCS opponent Weber State in week one. After jumping out to an early 21-0 lead, the Bulldogs coasted home to a 37-10 victory
Oregon (1-0) enters the game having answered many questions about the ability of the new starters on offense to play at a very high level, but some questions as to how good their depth will be this season. After jumping to a huge 50-3 lead midway through the second quarter, Oregon emptied its bench and let the reserves take it home. But they struggled being outscored 31-7 down the stretch.
Once again, this non-conference match-up gives the young Ducks a chance to compete and become better players.
In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Oregon Ducks and Fresno State Bulldogs Today the focus is on offense.
Fresno State: Derek Carr (6-3, 210) will make the start for Fresno State. The younger brother of former number one overall pick David Carr, Derek started 13 games last season and performed well in the WAC. Completing 62.6% of his passes in 2011 on 279-446 for 3,544 yards with 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, Carr played well for a team that won just four games. He began this season with a good performance against Weber State completing 80% of his passes going 20-25 for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns. Carr did not spread the ball around much, though, completing passes to his two main targets at wide receiver and the running back out of the backfield.
Carr is not going to win many foot races, but he is mobile enough to escape pressure if given a lane. Against Weber State, he carried the ball 3 times for 31 yards, but did suffer one sack for a 13 yard loss to reduce his total rushing to 18 yards on 4 carries. This is similar to his rushing in 2011 where he had 57 total carries for 72 yards but had taken 20 sacks for 144 yards lost.
Behind Carr the Bulldogs have virtually no experience. There is a true freshman (Myles Carr), a redshirt freshman (Marcus McDade) and a sophomore (Greg Watson). Watson appeared in one game last season attempting one pass in a blowout loss to Boise State.
Oregon: There were some questions for Oregon at the quarterback position heading into the 2012 season. The named starter, Marcus Mariota, had never played in a college football game prior to Saturday's match-up against Arkansas State. Showing no signs of his youth, Mariota proceeded to complete 12 of his first 13 passes for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Before he was done for the day, he had gone 18-22 for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Mariota is much more fleet than his Fresno State counterpart. In the opener, Mariota had 3 carries for 33 yards but did suffer an early sack that lost 9 yards.
Behind Mariota is a redshirt sophomore who appeared in 8 games for the Ducks in 2011 including the first start of his career. Bryan Bennett played well in during 2011 completing 25-46 passes for 369 yards with 6 touchdowns and no interceptions. Bennett was an electrifying runner in 2011 carrying the ball 23 times for 200 yards. On Saturday in a mop up role, Bennett went 10-17 for 108 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball 4 times for 34 yards.
Derek Carr certainly has more experience. Marcus Mariota, though, showed that he is the Oregon starter for a reason. When Mariota was in the game, he led seven drives that resulted in seven touchdowns for the Oregon Ducks. He overcame his mistake very quickly and continued marching the Ducks down the field. From a depth perspective, if either team has to go to the bench, Oregon has the obvious edge with Bennett's experience.
Fresno State: Two starters from last season, Rashad Evan (5-9, 187) and Josh Harper (6-1, 182) did not play against Weber State. Evans was suspended for the Weber State game for violating an undisclosed NCAA rule while Harper (missed the game with a hamstring injury. Last season, Evans was the third leading receiver for the Bulldogs with 44 catches for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns. Harper, meanwhile caught 35 balls for 497 yards and 5 touchdowns. In Saturday's victory over Weber State, Fresno State saw an impressive debut from Davante Adams (6-2, 200) with 7 receptions for 118 yards and both of Derek Carr's touchdown passes. Across from him was another returning receiver from last year's squad Isaiah Burse who caught 40 passes for 436 yards and a touchdown in 2011. Against Weber State, Burse caught 6 passes for 86 yards. One trick the Bulldogs exposed on Saturday was using back-up quarterback Greg Watson (5-10, 211) in a slot receiver position.
Oregon: The departure of Lavasier Tuinei left the Ducks a little thin on experience at the wide receiver position. No need to worry, though, as the Ducks can simply line up De'Anthony Thomas as a wide receiver and let him make plays. In his brief appearance Saturday, Thomas caught 4 passes for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Across from Thomas, Josh Huff looked good in the opener catching 2 passes for 22 yards and an early touchdown for the Ducks. Keanon Lowe made his first start and looked very good catching 4 balls of his own for 34 yards. Daryle Hawkins is the third starter for the Ducks and had 2 catches for 22 yards.
Behind the starters and Thomas, the Ducks do not have a lot of experience with three wide receivers making their career debuts Saturday night. Nonetheless, there is depth for the Ducks with players like true freshmen Bralon Addison and Dwayne Stanford getting some early playing time for the Ducks along with redshirt freshman B.J. Kelley who all looked good in their college debut. In all, 10 Oregon wide receivers caught a pass on Saturday night against Arkansas State.
Fresno State has the experience at the position with at least 4 players who have started a game in their career. Three of the players returning for the Bulldogs caught 35 or more passes for Fresno State last season and newcomer Davante Adams looks to be as talented as any of their receivers. Oregon, though, has more explosive talent with Thomas and Huff along with incredibly talented depth.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs bring back Robbie Rouse (5-7, 190) who carried the ball 329 times for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011. Rouse, barring injury, will leave Fresno State as their all time leading rusher. In the opener, Rouse carried the ball 22 times for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. Behind Rouse is former UCLA running back Milton Knox (5-9, 205) who played mostly on special teams in 2011. Knox carried the ball 20 times for 84 yards last season, but should improve those numbers in his final year. Against Weber State, Knox carried the ball 6 times for 42 yards and his first touchdown as a Bulldog. The Bulldogs used a third running back, Marteze Waller (5-11, 205), on Saturday. Waller carried the ball 5 times for 28 yards. Waller is a true freshman from Georgia.
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