Friday, September 14, 2007
#19 Oregon Ducks vs Fresno State Bulldogs
Saturday, 15th September, 7.00pm ET
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
A dominating road victory against one of the most storied programs in college football has propelled Oregon back into the Top 25 for the first time since November. The 19th-ranked Ducks (2-0) now look to avoid a letdown when they host Fresno State on Saturday afternoon.
Behind the play of versatile senior quarterback Dennis Dixon, Oregon had little trouble in a 39-7 road win over struggling Michigan last week. Though the Wolverines appear to have one of their weakest teams in years, the dominance Oregon displayed proved it will likely be a team that can no longer go unnoticed the rest of the season. "I hope it's not just one statement, but a paragraph," said Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, whose team is ranked for the first time since it was No. 21 on Nov. 5.
Oregon has jumped out to a quick start after losing its final four games of 2006, including a 38-8 defeat to Brigham Young in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21. On Saturday, the Ducks will try for a sixth straight victory over Fresno State (1-1) - which lost 47-45 in triple overtime at Texas A&M last week - in their final nonconference game before opening Pac-10 play at Stanford on Sept. 22.
Dixon was named the conference's offensive player of the week after accounting for 368 yards and a career-high four touchdowns against Michigan. A multi-sport star who was drafted in the fifth round by the Atlanta Braves in June, Dixon was 16-for-25 for 292 yards and three TD passes, and ran 16 times for 76 yards and a score. In two games, Dixon is 25-for-40 for 426 yards with five TDs, and has rushed for 217 yards on 31 carries with two scores. He ranks fifth in the nation with a 193.2 pass efficiency rating.
Dixon completed 23 of 36 passes for 240 yards in the Ducks' 31-24 victory at Fresno State on Sept. 9, 2006, the teams' most recent meeting. Jonathan Stewart ran 15 times for 111 yards and a touchdown Saturday for the Ducks, who are averaging 335.0 yards on the ground this season.
The Ducks will try for their seventh straight nonconference victory at home. Oregon is 26-1 at home since Bellotti took over in 1995. Fresno State hasn't won in Eugene since a 10-4 victory on Sept. 18, 1982. That was also the Bulldogs' most recent win in a series the Ducks lead 5-2.
Despite its lack of success against Oregon, Fresno State probably won't be intimidated after nearly knocking off then-No. 23 Texas A&M last weekend. Fresno State will try again for its first win over a ranked opponent since a 37-34 overtime victory over then-No. 18 Virginia in the MPC Computers Bowl on Dec. 27, 2004.
Posted at 12:07 AM