EUGENE, Ore. - If you take away the first 30 minutes of the game, Tim DeRuyter's Bulldogs proved Saturday they can play with anybody in the country.
No. 4 Oregon used a 35-point first half that carried them to a 42-25 victory over Fresno State at a sold-out Autzen Stadium.
The Bulldogs (1-1) trailed Oregon (2-0) 35-6 at half, but forced three second-half turnovers and outplayed the Ducks in the final 30 minutes when they outscored them 19-6.
"I think our guys realize we can play with a lot of teams," DeRuyter said. "[Oregon] is one of the elite teams in the country. I think we can play with these kind of teams if we play our game. Clearly in the first half we didn't, but in the second half we got a lot closer to that."
Oregon had 383 yards of offense in the first half, but the Bulldogs held them to 149 second-half yards. The Ducks finished with 532 yards of offense to Fresno State's 365.
"We didn't adjust a whole lot, we just challenged our guys" DeRuyter said about the second half. "We tackled much better, we forced some takeaways which was our plan going in and we did a good job on offense not turning the ball over."
Fresno State's defense had 11 tackles for a loss in the game, four of which were by senior outside linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo. Okpalaugo had a career-high nine tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery in the game.
Junior Derron Smith led the Bulldogs with a career-high 13 tackles, 10 of which came in the first half. Fellow safety Phillip Thomas added nine tackles, a huge sack that forced Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota into a fumble and he also recovered a fumble.
Senior running back Robbie Rouse ran 27 times for 115 yards and one touchdown. He broke the school record for most carries in a career (665) and is now 78 yards away from tying the school's all-time rushing record.
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 29-of-47 passes for 234 yards with no interceptions and one touchdown to Isaiah Burse, who had seven receptions for 77 yards. Freshman Davante Adams has 12 catches for 92 yards.
Carr went over 4,000 yards passing in his career, becoming the 13th Bulldogs quarterback in program history to do so.
Duck running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas both had two rushing touchdowns in the first 30 minutes.
Barner finished 201 yards rushing and three touchdowns while Thomas had 102 yards rushing on seven carries with two TDs.
All six of Fresno State's first-half points came on field goals from freshman Quentin Breshears, connecting from 39 and 43 yards out.
The Bulldog defense came out halftime and disrupted the Ducks in the backfield. Shawn Plummer's sack of Mariota forced a fumble that Okpalaugo recovered at the Oregon 22-yard line.
That led to a Carr 18-yard touchdown pass to Burse midway through the third quarter.
On Oregon's next possession, Sean Alston forced a fumble that Phillip Thomas recovered at the Bulldog 12-yard line.
Fresno State only allowed 69 yards of offense in an inspired third quarter where it had five tackles for a loss and the two forced turnovers.
Then again early in the fourth, Oregon had the ball at the Fresno State 18-yard line. A vicious sack by Thomas forced Mariota to fumble again, and Tyeler Davison recovered the Bulldogs. That led to Breshears' fourth field goal of the game, a 37-yarder to cut the Duck lead down to 35-19.
Both teams added fourth quarter touchdowns, Fresno State's coming on a two-yard run by Rouse.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics