UConn Wasn’t Much of a Test, But Oregon Will Be for Bulldogs - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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UConn Wasn’t Much of a Test, But Oregon Will Be for Bulldogs



Fresno State RB Ronnie Rivers set the team's all-time TD mark in a 45-0 victory over UConn. (GV Wire/Randy Reed)
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After Saturday’s 45-0 scalding of UConn, are the Bulldogs really that good, or is UConn really that bad?

Perhaps a little of both. Fresno State’s passing game lit up the Huskies’ defense. And, you might as well call them UCnn, because there was no “o” in their game.

The next assignment is at 1th-ranked Oregon, a perennial Pac-12 powerhouse (Saturday, 11 a.m. Pac-12 Network).

“That’s what you play for. You want to be tested and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer said.

A One-Week Head Start

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal called Fresno State an “impressive football team.” The two-time reigning Pac-12 champion will be opening its season.

“The ability to get a game under their belts, which is always different no matter how much you try to simulate it,” Cristobal told Duck Territory. “At the same time, when you don’t have a game you can sit and watch. The way we’ve done camp, I feel like our bodies are ready to go. I don’t foresee any issues there. Honestly, I’d rather play, play as much as possible and play as many guys as possible. I think there’s always an advantage with that. But, you don’t lean on that. You take advantage of the time we have.”

DeBoer said it was a benefit to have a one-week head start.

“We got our feet underneath us. Now we know what it feels like. That game speed, it’s going to be ramped up another level just because we’re facing a top tier team in the country,” DeBoer said.

A Familiar Face on Oregon Staff

Tim DeRuyter

Oregon’s first-year defensive coordinator is a familiar name — Tim DeRuyter, the Fresno State head coach from 2012-2016.

“He’s a great guy,” DeBoer said. “He is someone I sought out. I sent him some pictures of what’s on the wall, told him thank-you for everything he’s done for this program. You know, you don’t win two championships by accident.”

Fresno State offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb says they’ve watched films of prior DeRuyter teams, including his teams at Fresno State.

A 45-0 Blowout of UConn

With the first-ever before-noon kickoff at Bulldog Stadium, both teams’ offenses slept in. Fortunately, thanks to a beautiful sack-strip-scoop-score by DE Arron Mosby, the Bulldogs were already on the board.

Just as the clock struck noon, QB Jake Haener found WR Ty Jones for a 9-yard TD. Like Haener, Jones is also a transfer from the Univ. of Washington.

And, from there, it was no looking back. RB Ronnie Rivers set the school’s all-time touchdown record with a 61-yard reception — River’s 45th running and receiving in his college career. Haener followed with an 86-yard pass and score by Jalen Cropper.

“It was just an overwhelming feeling, great accomplishment, and none of this could be done without my teammates. So all the props and all the glory goes to them,” Rivers said after the game.

“We started a little slow, but it wasn’t anything where I saw anything in any guy’s eyes like what’s going on? It’s just a matter of, hey, someone just is going to make a play. And once we make that one big play, we’ll be off and running,” DeBoer said.

Haener finished his day with 331 yards passing and 3 TDs, but left earlier than the Red Wave or DeBoer hoped for. He was taken off the field and spent significant time in the medical tent.

It was later revealed that Haener suffered from heat-related issues and not a knee problem as initially feared. Haener was one of many players on both teams who went down in the heat.

Some reports put the on-field temperature at 120 degrees.

Hot weather should not be a problem on Saturday. The projected kickoff temperature at Autzen Stadium in Eugene is around 70 degrees.

Fresno State’s defense limited UConn to 107 yards total offense (GV Wire/Randy Reed)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email