Kick returning is something Fresno State takes pride in doing year in and year out. Unfortunately with Clifton Smith out the Bulldogs are not nearly as strong in the return game as they would be with him playing. Fernandez does a good job in the return game as he has great hands and will get us out to the 30 on a large percentage of kickoffs. Jaron Fairman and Chastin West can also be seen returning kicks for the Bulldogs. Oregon on the other hand uses both of their running backs to return kicks which has worked well for them. Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson are both speedy running backs with great ability to evade the defense on every play. Fresno State will have their work cut for them trying to keep these two from returing kicks efficiently. As long as Stitser can keep the ball in the end zone on his kickoffs and Malone can continue to maintain a great hangtime the Dogs will be fine with respect to special teams.
Special Teams Advanatage - Once Again Even
Prediction - The last time I checked the line for the game was Oregon by 4 1/2. To me that says the oddsmakers think this is going to be a close, hard fought game between these two teams and why shouldn't they? The last four times these two teams have played have been decided by four points or less. We all know Oregon has come away with a win each time and I am inclined to pick them once again because of Brandstater's lack of big game experience and Oregon's team speed. In the end I feel like it is going to come down to how well Tom makes the throws when Oregon forces the Dogs to throw the ball by loading up with 8-9 men in the box. The game will be close and will go down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The new clock rules might play a big role in ths game tomorrow as the team with the ball last may very well win this game. I don't pick against Fresno State often, and I do hope I am wrong but I just don't know if the Dogs have what it takes to come out on top in this one.
Oregon 31 Fresno State 28
I hope to see everyone out at the game. I know it is going to be packed and one of the better games of the season for both teams. Go Dogs, prove me wrong.