By REED NELSON
3:40 p.m. — Welcome to the SkoDucks LiveBlog, week 2! I’ve been getting killed all day, pick wise, and I’m here to rectify the madness. First note: The sliver of Fresno Red is not impressive. Neither is the silver on Oregon’s pants. And good news: The students aren’t in town yet, so the majority of the crowd got the Yellow Memo. Speaking of yellow, the Ducks uniforms are clearly a week two effort. The pants are off-putting. Enough of what’s becoming the traditional knee-jerk sartorial review.
3:41 p.m. — Derek Carr completes his first pass. With that completion, Carr now has more completions in Autzen then his brother will have in all 32 NFL stadiums combined this season. His brother is David Carr, and yes, I will be poking fun at this way more than I need to on this partly cloudy Eugene afternoon.
3:44 p.m. — Fake! Fake! Nobody saw that coming. Love mentioning the punter two weeks in a row, even if it’s not Oregon’s. Little man took it for 35. And why not? The Dogs are 35-point dogs. Great call from first year head coach Tim DeRuyter. He has officially scared me for the next 57 minutes.
3:46 p.m. — Fresno State out firing. Glad I took the 35 at this juncture. Robbie Rouse is running well (he just passed San Diego Charger Ryan Mathews for second place all–time on the Fresno State rushing list on that play), and Carr looks like a former #1’s brother. Fresno State in the Red Zone.
3:48 p.m. — Nick Alioti woke up and brought the house. Derek Carr fell down like Brett Favre and Fresno settled for a field goal.
3:49 p.m. — Let’s see if the Bulldogs will kick to De’Anthony Thomas. I wouldn’t, but I’m not nationally televised, and my opinion on this matter means very little to Mr. DeRuyter.
3:51 p.m. — Nope. Answered that one with a quickness. Appreciate the promptness, DeRuyter.
3:52 p.m. — At the risk of sounding redundant, Kenjon Barner opens the game for the Ducks with a 20-yard run.
3:53 p.m. — At the risk of sounding very redundant, Thomas does an even better Barry Sanders impression than he ripped off in week one and takes it 39-yards to the house. 51 seconds, seven points. And Marcus Mariota has been more than surprising. He has consistently made the right read in Oregon’s highly complex option attack (something still universally baffles cameramen year after year) as a redshirt freshman and has been so calm in the backfield that I keep reminding myself that the kid is 19-years-old. *Wait for the conference schedule, Reed, he hasn’t played anyone yet.* I don’t care. Him and DAT are a more tantalizing duo than Batman and Robin, Wam!, Lewis & Clark, Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and Bonnie and Clyde combined. I’m staying tuned.
4:00 p.m. — Three & out for the Bulldogs. Most exciting show on turf back on the tube. Kenjon Barner is no slouch himself. He kicks off the drive with a 34-yard off tackle blast of Barner. And Mariota for nine. And Mariota again! Turns the corner and can’t quite walk the rope. Starting the tally on camera-duping from Mariota now. He’s making these cameramen look like ADHD-addled children. DAT pumps it in from three. But he doesn’t. For the second straight week, he has a TD ripped from the clutches of the Box Score. This time, in an odd turn of events, the referees decided to review Mariota’s run and said the “review buzz” came in prior to the snap. I hate referees. At least he explained it to the now-livid fanbase. No TD Mariota, no TD DAT. First and Goal at the three. Barner takes it in this time. I bet DAT feels slighted. And he should. After all, he’s a 6-1 Heisman favorite. Barner? Like 65-1 (not a bad bet if you ask me, but I’m getting pounded on that front). 6:41 to play in the first, Oregon 14, Fresno State 3.
4:09 p.m. — Why won’t anyone kick to Oregon?? Oregon kicks to everyone elseeeee. Just kidding. We all know why, and it has something to do with Naan bread and Vegimite. It turns out Robbie Rouse is third among active NCAA running backs. Interesting. Also interesting: USC is up only five in East Rutherford, and Oregon State is still winning. I need a drink.
4:12 p.m. — Fresno State has lost the FPunt momentum and has reverted back to WAC tendencies.
4:13 p.m — DAT makes a bad play, and now Josh Huff is not OK. It’s 4:14 and Huff is still down. We’ll take a moment to reflect on how totally murdered I got in just about all my picks this week. Really, really murdered. At the moment, I’m 1-3, verging on 1-5.
4:18 p.m. — Obligatory Jackson Rice mention. But this time only to get the second hit on the camera-dupe. Tally: 2.
4:20 p.m. — I hate reviews. This one in particular. I’m now 1-4. Somehow, Wisconsin mustered just 7 points in Corvallis, and Oregon State won. By three. Fuck.
4:23 p.m. — Derek Carr employs the gator chomp snap call and almost throws an interception. It had to have had messed with him. Robbie Rouse dances for a while, gets the first, fumbles the ball, recovers the ball, loses the first. Not the greatest sequence of events for Rouse. Count ’em: Three straight plays the Ducks could’ve force a turnover. Still keeping it away from DAT. Lame.
4:27 p.m. — Mariota completes his second pass of the game with three seconds left in the first quarter. He’s 2-4 for 11 yards and is having a fantastic game. How? I have no idea, but this is the first time that I’ve ever penned that last sentence, and I still feel totally confident about the observation. He has made great reads, extended plays, ran well and hasn’t made any mistakes. And Oregon is up 14-3. Yup, feel comfortable. With this lead, we might actually get to see some starters in the second half. Might. And USC is now up 19 with 11:32, only needing a touchdown to cover. This one is coming down to the wire.
4:31 p.m. — 49 minutes in and we’re done with the first 15 minutes of football. First bad read from Mariota comes on a first down run, bad enough for the camera to stay with the play, but I’ll forgive him. And then gets flattened by unpronounceable name. DAT catches a swing pass on third-and-forever, drops a forearm shiver and picks up a 15-yard facemask penalty. Barner is gonna break one. He’s been close like three times, only now Fresno seems to be conceding the first down on the run, opting instead not to give up the home run. Bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off.
4:35 p.m. — Mariota swings it to the Thoroughbred, Colt Lyerla, who promptly flicks away a DB then goes all Juggernaut, Bitch into the endzone. Oregon has more offensive weapons than the San Antonio missile silo. Oregon 21, Fresno State 3, 12:51 to play.
4:40 p.m. — Yogi Roth is back! Love the Yog. He’s just informed us that the shade of yellow that Oregon is donning at the moment is “Lightening Yellow.” And we have another Robbie Rouse sighting. I like typing his name. Not nearly as much the play-by-play team enjoys saying it. Robbie Rouse.
4:42 p.m. — They kicked to him! Not that anything happened, but it was refreshing anyways.
4:44 p.m. — Will Murphy makes an incredible catch, which, naturally, will go under review. Yup. And it’s overturned. But then Oregon proves why it is the only team in college football that doesn’t make me cringe when they run the ball on 3rd-and-12.
4:50 p.m. — Oregon hands the ball off on 4th-and-three, but DAT is all ‘F-this ground-and-pound bull’ and takes it 51 yards to the house. There is absolutely nothing better than watching this guy play football. Matt Barkley might win the Heisman, but comparing the two is like comparing Downtown Abbey to Breaking Bad: One is just way more fun to watch. Like 100 yards and two touchdowns on five carries more fun. Like ‘a 30-plus yard touchdown on 40 percent of his touches thus far’ more fun. On a related note, the best crowd poster so far? “All DAT.” Sweet. He’s almost making me forget that USC hasn’t covered yet, and it isn’t looking great. Oregon 28, Fresno State 3.
4:56 p.m. — Yogi Roth is comparing DAT to Reggie Bush, but I’m sticking with Barry. And Fresno State has just executed their most effective offensive play of the second quarter — a 15-yard personal foul against Oregon. And Derek Carr officially looks terrible.
5:01 p.m. — Barner has a 50-yard catch-and-run negated by a tripping penalty. DAT drops a bad pass on third down, which leads to an Oregon punt. The 34-or-so-yard punt is a walking, bumbling exhibit of why Chip doesn’t like to do that a whole lot (no knock on you, Jackson Rice. You’ve executed a two-point conversion this year. Winning.). I’m finding myself cheering for a Fresno State score at this point though. The last thing I want is another last week.
5:05 p.m. — But, alas, Carr throws a ball toward Portland on 3rd and 9 and forces himself into a 4th-and-impossible. They’re going for it…? Nope. Pooch punt! Haven’t seen one since Flutie, but I love it. Head coach Tim DeRuyter needs to take his special teams coordinator Pete Germano (a Ohio Wesleyan alum, in this paragraphs non sequitor) out to dinner. Somehow, Fresno State’s punting attack is making this thing at least a little bit exciting. They’ve pinned the Ducks inside the two on two consecutive drives.
5:08 p.m. — The fans just cheered OSU’s win at Autzen, digging the dagger of defeat into my heart, then twisting ever-so slightly.
5:10 p.m. — Mariota escapes from Alcatraz and dumps the ball off to Daryle Hawkins (winner of the odd spelling award this week) for a first down. Oregon driving.
5:11 p.m. — Mariota takes the ball 20 yards across midfield. So much for the punt. He’s just rubbing it in now, which is awesome, and is going up top. Almost had DAT for a 26-yarder, but it went O.B. Two plays later, Barner puts it in. Credit Mariota for his 3rd down theatrics that kept the drive alive. Oregon 35, Fresno State 3, 1:31 left in the 2nd.
5:12 p.m. — STAT UPDATE: Mariota — 11-17, 105 yards, 1 TD; 8 carries, 47 yards. Barner — 17 carries, 131 yards and 2 TDs; 3 rec., 21 yards. Thomas — 5 carries, 100 yards and 2 TDs; 1 rec., 6 yards.
5:18 p.m. — Fresno just needs to run the clock out. Derek Carr is like one bad pass away from a nervous breakdown. Or not, nice swing to Rouse. Bulldog ball on Oregon’s 37, 10 seconds to play in the 2nd. But back to the breakdown: He’s 13-24 for 103 yards, and 40 of those came on the first drive.
5:20 p.m. — Carr again! I spoke too soon. Sets up the Dogs for a half-closing field goal. LOL. Chip Kelly calls a timeout, up 35-3, to ice the kicker before halftime. What a bully. I’m just happy he’s my bully. Thankfully for us, he made it. We might get starters for another series. Halftime! Oregon 35, Fresno State 6.
5:23 p.m — Halftime thought: Is there any ad-campaign more annoying or offensive than the Dr. Pepper 10 atrocity? I can’t think of any. It’s horrible. And I no exactly zero dudes who drink Dr. Pepper 10. That’s all.
5:42 p.m. — And we’re back. Oregon starts with the ball, which has, as of recently, meant that Oregon get’s to fair-catch an awkward looking kick at their own 30. Starters are still in. Kenjon Barner looks generally unphased by defenders behind him. He breaks those tackles without breaking stride.
5:44 p.m. — Eric Dungy sighting.
5:54 p.m. — The game has ceased to be interesting, but (broken record warning) if you’re playing the gambling game, this series is HUGE. Oregon comes in up 29 points, six points shy of covering their gaudy 35-point spread. Three and out. It’s still a ballgame.
5:57 p.m. — Derek Carr, A Gridiron Tragedy — Act 2, Scene 3: Carr, facing unbearable pressure from the Oregon defensive front, sees that he has a receiver in one-on-one coverage streaking up the sideline. He lofts the ball perfectly. It soars majestically through the air, clears the receiver’s shoulders, flirts with his fingers, then falls to the turf unapologetically. Carr is distraught. He meanders toward the sideline with a solemn look upon his face. He moves toward the Gatorade bucket, bends down to fill up his cup and hears a voice coming from the cooler:
Voice: Did you enjoy that twist of fate Derek?
Carr: No. It was terrible. Who is this?
Voice: It’s an us. We’re the football gods. On this, September 8th, 2012, we have been summoned here to torture you.
Carr: Torture me? Why?
Football Gods: Because you and your Carr clan have offended us.
Carr: What have we done? Please. It couldn’t have been that bad.
F.G.: We can’t remember. All we know is that we cannot have another Carr amongst the ranks of our elite. One is too ___ many, sorry for the letdown.
Carr: Fine. Be that way.
6:04 p.m. — Disregard that last post. Fresno State forces a turnover that leads to… wait for it… a Bulldog touchdown. Carr takes a lick on the TD pass, but somehow completes an 18-yard pass to Isaiah Burse (second place in the name game), redeeming his counter part Davante Adams, the antagonist of last series who let a big gain slip through his fingers. In the casinos, Oregon is trailing by 13. Oregon 35, Fresno State 13.
6:10 p.m. — Another Oregon fumble. This time, the culprit is WR Bralon Addison. More to come on the cough drop game, but a preliminary observation: I don’t like it.
6:12 p.m. — Fresno State shows some brass balls, going for it on 4th-and-nine from the Oregon 12, and getting the first. Not the TD. Let’s see if it hurts.
6:14 p.m. — Kiko Alonso makes it hurt, tripping Robbie Rouse up at the five. Taylor Hart then sacks Carr, bringing on the field goal unit. Oregon 35, Fresno State 16.
6:18 p.m. — The Oregon offense has been slightly stagnant since they’ve written DAT out of the playbook. An understandable (and encouraged) move, mind you, but an issue nonetheless.
6:19 p.m. — More bad news: The sack artist behind Oregon’s last defensive stand, Taylor Hart, is now writhing in pain on the sideline.
6:27 p.m. — DAT surfaces for a two yard gain.
6:34 p.m. — Mariota fumbles the football again, which means that Oregon has fumbled the football three times this half, and on three of their last four possessions. Either Mariota doesn’t feel like coming out of this football game, but can’t figure out a better solution to his problem, or my first half gushing is about to become second half bitching. It has been the Tale of Two Halves, Jeckyll and Hyde, Tyler Durton and Tyler Durton. Remember when I said that the game wasn’t interesting? I spoke way too soon. Not only is the spread in serious jeopardy, but Fresno State is down just 19 and are marching inside the Red Zone again. Wow.
6:40 p.m. — The Bulldogs are forced to settle for another field goal, Quentin Brashears’ third of the half, fourth of the game. Oregon 35, Fresno State 19.
6:41 p.m. — Oregon’s mistakes are ramping up to 100-gassers-in-practice proportions. Not just the fumbles, but the pass interference bailout on Fresno State’s last stalled drive rivaled our government’s in efficiency and short-sightedness. I’m engaged again.
6:51 p.m. — Kenjon Barner caps a 77-yard drive with a 16-yard score, putting him over 200 yards on the day. In fact, on the last drive, Kenjon accounted for 66 of the 77 yards himself, and Oregon got back to what they do best: Run, and run fast. Gambling update: LSU is covering their 24-points against Washington, UCLA (+5.5) is tied with Nebraska and Oregon still needs 12 points to cover, only 3:51 to play. Oregon 42, Fresno State 19.
7:03 p.m. — Robbie Rouse rushes for his first touchdown of the game. Oregon 42, Fresno State 25.
7:05 p.m. — Rouse’s touchdown effectively ends Oregon’s chance at covering the 35-point spread, which means that the Ducks have failed to cover in their first two weeks. Which also doesn’t really mean anything, because, for the most part, the team looks grand.
7:07 p.m. — Oregon recovers the onside kick with a minute thirty left, effectively ending the game. Mariota takes a knee.
7:09 p.m. — That’s it, that’s all folks. Final score – Oregon 42, Fresno State 25. Lessons learned in a flash: Mariota can be incredible. Mariota can be insufferable. DAT looks like Omar from The Wire. He’s also the most exciting player in college football. And for anyone who thought that Kenjon Barner is just a finesse/speed back (hopefully very few of you at this point) his 199 yards on 34 carries would say otherwise.
It’s been a blast, hope to catch your eye next week. Nelson, OUT.