Autzen Stadium will play host to a Saturday college football clash between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Oregon Ducks. The Bulldogs split their six games in 2020 and ranked first in the Mountain West Conference in total offense. Junior QB Jake Haener threw for over 2,000 yards in six starts and has his five top receivers back. Senior RB Ronnie Rivers returns after rushing for 507 yards and seven touchdowns a season ago.
Fresno State must improve on a defense that finished ninth in the conference and surrendered 30 points per contest. Defensive ends Kwami Jones and David Preales totaled nine sacks for a Bulldogs’ defense that ranked third nationally in sacks.
The 11th ranked Oregon Ducks enter the 2021 season with hopes of winning the Pac 12 Conference Championship and challenging for a College Football Playoff spot. Oregon finished just inside the top 50 in total offense (413 ypg) and scored 31.3 points per contest. The Ducks are extremely talented on the offensive line and will lean heavily on junior RB C.J. Verdell, who has rushed for over 2,500 yards in his career. Wide receivers Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd will be the top options in the passing game.
For Oregon to take things to the next level, they will have to improve on a defense that allowed 406 yards and 28 points per game in 2020. The Ducks return All-America DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, who has led the Ducks in sacks and tackles for loss in consecutive seasons. LB Noah Sewell (45 tackles) headlines a position group that is the best in the conference.