September 8, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Dion Jordan (96) defends Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
Oregon had the exact same game plan as they did last week when they raced out to a huge early lead over Arkansas State. Fresno State did actually lead 3-0 when they scored a field goal on their opening drive and then one on their final drive of the half. However, in between that time the Oregon offense rattled off 35 points and did what they wanted against the Fresno State defense.
Fresno State was torched on the running game by Oregon where they rushed for 366 yards, and the two culprits who ran at will were De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner. Thomas played basically only in the first half -- with the exception of two carries in the third quarter -- and rushed the ball seven times for 102 yards plus he had a pair of touchdowns. Thomas also caught four passes for 26 yards.
Barner had 201 yards on 34 carries while scoring two of this three touchdowns in the first half. Oregon did decide to keep starting quarterback Marcus Mariota in the entire game and he was efficient by completing 19-of-27 for 166 yards.
The Fresno State offense just could not do anything against the Oregon defense, and in the first half their non-scoring drives the longest one was 19 yards which happened twice. They were typically going five or six plays in their first half drives and then forced to punt the ball away.
It was not until the second half when Oregon started rotating in some backups is when Fresno State was able to move the ball with some efficiency and put points on the board. Even with the rotation, Fresno State was still had drives cut short and settle for a pair of field goals.
Had Fresno State been able to score touchdowns instead of field goals, the game would have at least been closer. On those field goal drives Fresno State was in the red zone at the 20 and 8-yard line, so they were in striking distance of a touchdown. The 25-yard field goal attempt that originated at the 8-yard line, but the third down play was at the 5-yard line and quarterback Derek Carr was sacked.
Statistically Fresno State played well as they force three second half turnovers that they converted into 13 points. Carr completed 29-of-47 passes for 234 yards and a score, while running back Robbie Rouse had 115 yards, one touchdown and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
While even the most die hard fan should have expected a loss, it is still disheartening that the Fresno State offense struggled so much in the first half, while only managing to score six points. This game should get Fresno State ready for when they face the other good offenses in the Mountain West against Nevada and Fresno State.
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