Wide Receivers - Joe Fernandez showed why he is one of the best posession receivers in college football this past Friday against Nevada. Fernandez caught everything that went his way as did Fairman and Williams. Although none of these three had amazing numbers they caught the ball when it was thrown their way. This Saturday against Oregon the passing game is going to play a much more important role than it did against Nevada. Because Nevada would drop more men back in coverage daring the Dogs to run, the running game became Nevada's weakness. Let's just say Oregon is the exact opposite. Oregon will beg Brandstater to beat them by playing man to man on our best receivers. Look for Fernandez, Williams, and Fairman to be active in this game early and often. Hill knows he will have to throw the ball to be successful in beating Oregon. With three returning receivers Fresno should have a positive day with respect to the receiving game.
In 2005 Oregon was known for it's high flying aerial attack. However, with the defection of Clemons to the pros this team takes on a whole new persona. Dennis Dixon leads a run oriented team that can throw the ball if they have to. Oregon lost it's top three receivers to graduation, however that does not change the fact that Oregon's receivers have speed and good hands. Dixon will look for Strong and Williams to keep the Bulldogs guessing. As before Oregon's #1 receiver (I am guessing that it is Strong) will be bottled up by McCauley. If that is the case Oregon will work to the other side of the field constantly just as Nevada did. If Oregon is successful passing the ball in this game look for the running game to open up as well which will only spell bad news for the Fresno State defense.
Wide Receiver Edge - Fresno State, but close.
Tight Ends - As we saw in the opener Fresno State does not live or die by the tight end. Bear Pascoe is a huge target that acts as a safety valve if everyone else on the field is covered. In my opinion the Dogs really should use Pascoe more as he has great hands and is open often during the course of a game. However, because Fresno State does not tend to utilize the Tight End position there really is no way to say our Tight End game is truly an advantage at all. Pascoe does run good routes and is a decent blocker.
Dante Rosario is the leading tight end for Oregon. He may have only had two catches last weekend against Stanford but they went for forty yards. In other words Rosario can be considered a mid to deep threat out of the tight end position. Rosario like Pascoe is a big target as he stands at 6'4 and weighs in at 250 pounds. He will be tough to keep from getting his hands on the ball if only because of his amazing size. Goodwin, Andrews, Lane, and Riley (if he plays, however doubtful) will have to do their best to keep Rosario from getting the ball. Because Oregon also tends to concentrate on the run they will use their tight end to block inside and out. Overall the Tight End position is very similar for both teams.
Tight End Advantage - Even