Friday, September 08, 2006

FSU-Oregon Special Teams/Game Prediction

Special Teams - Fresno State tends to have the edge when it comes to special teams regardless of who they are being compared to. However, when being compared to Oregon that is not the case. While Clint Stitser has one of the better legs in college football, Paul Martinez of Oregon should not be overlooked. In 2005 Martinez went 8 for 9 on kicks from 40 yards or longer, an impressive stat for any college kicker. Overall Martinez hit 19 of 24 kicks last year for Oregon and returns even better than before. Fresno fans know they can count on Stitser to hit the long field goal but the same seems to be true for Oregon and Martinez. Last week Robert Malone did a great job of punting for the Dogs as he showed the hang time that we are used to seeing from Mike Lingua. It looks as if Lingua will be out and Malone will be punting once again, which doesn't seem to be such a bad thing. Oregon's punter Matt Dragich is also impressive as he averages 37-38 yards a punt. With respect to the kicking game there is no clear cut edge for either team.

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.


Anonymous said...

Your prediction is a fair one, to say the least. But, seriously, you can't honestly think that UO's special teams are equal to FS. Especially with Jonathan Stewart (Snoop, as they refer to him) playing only limited time. Jeremiah Johnson is a legit RB, and KR, but he's no "Snoop," and that is the new difference in this game.
FS wins this game closely. Without "Snoop" UO will have to change up their game plan a bit. No inside running with the smaller back, not that it would work anyway. As long as FS can contain the edges (Riley's back), they'll be able to force Dixon to pass more, and that leads to FS' strengths.

nsc said...

I just did a fair evaluation of both teams. I think one of the biggest assets with respect to kick and punt returns is speed and both of Oregon's running backs definitely have that. Remember how good Jennings was for Fresno because he could get to the outside against the opposition during kick returns? That is exactly what I worry about with Oregon. At the same time unfortunately it looks as if Oregon matches up well with Fresno State in every category meaning this will be a great game. I expect a close one, I just hope I am wrong on what I feel like will happen.

Ral said...

Bulldogs will have to come out like mad dogs on defense to get the message out early. In the Nevada game, I saw several dogs actually backing up instead of ramming the runningback to submission.Their intensity will determine this game's results.
I think the Dogs will get pumped up by the overwhelming noise we as fans produce at Bulldog Stadium and have the ducks game fall apart in the crucial moments of the game.
Branstater proves us all wrong and leads us to a close victory.

BdogPrideValleyWide said...

Should be a fun game but there's no way in h3ll that anyone with the exception of maybe a team like VA. Tech matches up with us on ST. Its JMO of course but its also very evident during every year of every game we play....Its what we do! Well that and running.