After a long 8 months away, the college football season is back! Up first for the Ducks, Fresno State at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs dominated the Connecticut Huskies, 45-0. They led 31-0 at halftime and were able to rest most of their key starters, including quarterback Jake Haener, in the fourth quarter.
Fresno State is no stranger to the University of Oregon. All-time, UO is 7-2 against the Bulldogs, and have beaten them in seven-straight games going back to 1996.
Despite the dominant winning-streak, former Ducks head coach Mike Bellotti can attest to how tough of an opponent Fresno State is.
"Fresno State is a very, very good football team," Bellotti said earlier this week on Talkin' Ducks. "If you saw what they did to Connecticut last week, they put forty five on them, they shut them out. They stopped playing their guys after about the third quarter, their quarterback didn't play. So they're a very good football team.
"I had to play Fresno State five times during my career, home and away, and every one was a battle. And they beat a lot of other teams during that time, including USC and several other teams who either didn't prepare well enough or didn't take them for being the real team that they are. So I think Coach Cristobal has spent a lot of time convincing his team that Fresno State is for real."
With The Ohio State Buckeyes on the horizon in week two, could the matchup against Fresno State be a very early trap game for the Ducks?
"Nothing will matter about going to Ohio State unless we take care of business in week one. And it's all about this first game, this first step. Let's make it right," said Bellotti. "As a coach, the focus, the idea of just taking the very next game, the very next play, the very next day, the very next drill and practice as the most important one is something you preach."
For the Ducks this season, there are high expectations for their success. With being a top caliber team, that means there is a target on their back. Coach Bellotti knows about that all too well.
"You strive to be the hunted, but you always want to maintain the hunter mentality. I have to do something to achieve on this next play. So what I told the team was really going into this year won't really matter unless we take care of business this first game. So it's one game at a time, one step at a time."
The Ducks face off against the Bulldogs at 11a.m. PT Saturday at Autzen Stadium.