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Fresno St. readies for challenge in No. 4 Oregon

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012
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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — While Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr knows No. 4 Oregon is going to be fast, and Autzen Stadium is going to be loud, he got over any fear associated with big games last season.

The Bulldogs opened last season with Pac-12 foe California at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. They also faced No. 10 Nebraska and Mississippi last season. Carr, the younger brother of former Fresno state QB Derek Carr, was a first-time starter as a sophomore.

"Before the game against Cal, in my head I was still confident, but I was like 'Can I still do this? What are they going to do?' Then I figured out they can't eat me," he joked. "I settled down and realized it's just football. The worst they can do is hit you."

But that doesn't diminish the "extreme" challenge that Oregon poses to Fresno State on Saturday in Eugene, as first-year head coach Tim DeRuyter puts it.

Oregon, the three-time defending Pac-12 champions, has gone 32-6 against nonconference opponents in the regular season since 2000. The Ducks played in the BCS championship two years ago, and then beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last season.

So it's not surprising that Oregon is favored to beat the Bulldogs by five touchdowns.

"I'm just really excited to go out there and compete against Oregon," Carr said. "Not a lot of people have faith in us (but) I have nothing but faith in our guys."

The Bulldogs went 4-9 last season before dismissing longtime coach Pat Hill. In DeRuyter's debut last Saturday, the Bulldogs defeated Weber State 37-10. It was Fresno State's first game as a member of the Mountain West Conference.

Carr threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns and Robbie Rouse rushed for 123 yards and two scores.

Rouse needs just 10 more carries and 194 yards rushing to break Fresno State career records. In seven career games against BCS opponents, he has rushed for 536 yards and two touchdowns.

"It's definitely something that's talked about," Rouse said of the looming career marks. "But I try to stress to them that I'm looking forward to winning games. If we're winning games then that other stuff will take care of itself."

DeRuyter has brought in a new spread offense, which he has dubbed "fast, physical, fanatical" while he and defensive coordinator Nick Toth have transformed Fresno State's 4-3 defense from last season into an attacking 3-4.

Oregon is coming off a 57-34 victory at home over Arkansas State in its opener last Saturday that lifted the Ducks up a spot in the AP Poll.

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