If anyone spent some time last weekend watching Fresno State, one thing became obvious fairly early on concerning Oregon football’s looming matchup: the Ducks have one player to really worry about.
Jake Haener is one of the best quarterbacks from the Mountain West and he showed just why that is in the opening blowout of UConn, passing for 331 yards and three touchdowns, completing 20-of-26 passes. He looked like he didn’t skip a single beat from last season’s breakout when he passed for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in just six games while completing nearly 65 percent of his passes.
The senior quarterback is clearly their top weapon and if the Bulldogs want to upset Oregon in Eugene, he needs to be the guy to put the team on his back, but he’ll need the run game to take some pressure off him as well.
When an offense becomes one-dimensional, it’s incredibly difficult to win. So if Fresno State becomes pass-heavy against Oregon, the Ducks should handle business with ease.
We saw in the opener for Fresno State that the Bulldogs may have some talented backs, but they averaged just 4.1 yards per carry against a bad UConn defense. Oregon has a much better defense with one of the best linebacking corps in the nation and a strong defensive line led by Kayvon Thibodeaux. They should have no problem holding Fresno State under 100 rushing yards.
Do this, and Oregon wins big.
Jake Haener can’t beat Oregon football by himself
While Haener is talented and he might be one of the better quarterbacks the Ducks will see this season, he’s not going to be able to beat Oregon by himself. He needs the run game.
I just don’t think Fresno State is going to get much of a push up front against the Ducks’ defensive front and it’s hard to believe that the No. 106 rushing attack in the nation from last year will improve that much and give Oregon problems.
Oregon should win this one handily, as long as it keeps Fresno State’s run game in check.