“Nothing, we can beat them, I’m ready to play to them,” says senior linebacker Shawn Plummer about what he fears about No. 4 Oregon.
The Ducks racked up 605 yards of total offense in a 57-34 win over Arkansas State last Saturday. UO also allowed 530 yards on defense – most of if coming in the second half after the Ducks built a 50-10 halftime lead.
“They’re ranked where they are at for a reason,” said junior quarterback Derek Carr. “But it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. I’m really confident in our guys. We have to go in with as much confidence as you can. At Fresno State, we don’t lack confidence.”
Oregon has not lost a non-conference game at home since 2008 when Boise State upset the Ducks 37-32. Fresno State suffered a 52-21 setback the last time out in Eugene. However, the Bulldogs five previous contests versus UO were decided by a touchdown or less. None of those games came against current Ducks head coach Chip Kelley, who preaches tempo.
“They are fast in their skill positions,” added Plummer. “They like to run a lot of plays. They try to keep the game moving at a fast pace, and I think we can match that.”
The ‘Dogs are -34 point underdogs heading into Saturday’s matchup, but head coach Tim DeRuyter feels his team can keep pace with the Ducks based on the Bulldogs offensive philosophy.
“It’s about our style of football, when you run an up tempo attack like we want to, 85 plays is the standard,” said DeRuyter.
Fresno State’s up tempo offense failed to net their goal by 20 plays last week versus Weber State, which disappointed DeRuyter. But he pointed to the lack of receivers, constant substitutions, and abundance of run plays as factors. With fewer personnel changes and the return of three receivers, DeRuyter expects his team to run faster this week.
“I imagine we’ll get closer to our goal because [Oregon] will run fast too,” added DeRuyter.
But the Bulldog defense will have to do its part. FS netted just one turnover last week against the FCS Wildcats. The ‘Dogs can’t expect to force one turnover and win at one of the toughest venues in the nation.
“When you get a chance to make a big play, you gotta make a big play,” said Plummer. “It’s assignment football, mentally and physically sound. We’re always tackling, always coming.
“We’re gonna be able to match [Oregon’s] speed. We’re gonna be able to get in that quarterback’s face, we’re gonna make him make some bad decisions. That’s what defense does, it’s what it did against Weber State, and it’s what it will do this week.”
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