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Oregon vs Fresno State: The Ducks Squeak Out A Victory

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Oregon opened up its 2021 season with a late victory over a feisty Fresno State! Here’s the recap and the names you need to know.


Oregon entered the game as the heavy favorite (-21) over Fresno State. The Ducks fought hard in their home opener to pull off a late 31-24 victory.

Oregon would jump out to a quick 14-0 lead. After an injury to star player, Kayvon Thibodeaux, they would be outscored by Fresno State 24-10 over the next two and a half quarters. Senior QB Jake Haener had put the team on his back. He led Fresno State to scoring opportunities in five of their next six drives. The game was tied up 24-24 late in the fourth quarter.

Oregon got back to the running game and secured the win. A rushing touchdown by senior QB Anthony Brown with just under three minutes left in the game was the winning play. 

Oregon Ducks

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Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE

Oregon looked to be rolling early and headed for a blowout win until their star pass rusher left the game with an ankle injury. Before being rolled up on by a teammate, Kayvon Thibodeaux had been making a major impact.

He had 2 solo tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. The strip-sack came in the first quarter, leading to a Ducks’ touchdown. Thibodeaux got his ankle retaped and came back in the second quarter to test it out, but would not return.

Later he was spotted on the sideline in a walking boot. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a precautionary measure. With Thibodeaux out of the game, there was a clear shift in the game plans for both teams.

Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell, LBs

One player that picked up the slack with Thibodeaux out was a sophomore linebacker, Justin Flowe. What a performance he had!

The former 5-star recruit shined with 14 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 forced fumble in his starting debut. Not to be outdone, LB Noah Sewell added 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble of his own.

Oregon kept control of this game thanks to the play of these two linebackers. If Thibodeaux misses an extended amount of time, Flowe and Sewell will be key defensive pieces.

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Verone McKinley III and Mykael Wright, DBs

In the secondary for Oregon, it was safety Verone McKinley III and cornerback Mykael Wright who also stepped up with big performances.

McKinley III contributed 8 tackles and was all over the field making plays. Additionally, his teammate Wright was in coverage and blitzed from the corner. Wright would finish the day with 6 tackles – all solo, 2 TFLs, and 1 forced fumble. This type of production from the back end of the defense will be key if Oregon wants to make a championship run.

CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, RBs

Offensively, the Ducks struggled tremendously compared to what we saw for the past few years. With the Justin Herbert era over, Oregon has to find its new identity. That new identity has to start with RBs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye.

Both got off to a slow start in this game but found their way, especially during the fourth quarter. Both RBs scored short-yardage touchdowns early in the game. Their game-controlling runs in the fourth quarter were key. Verdell finished with 71 rush yards and 1 TD. Dye finished with 64 rush yards and 1 TD. These two will carry this offense and open up things for everyone else.

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Anthony Brown, QB

Even though the Herbert era is gone, Anthony Brown isn’t the same QB. His game is all about his legs as a dual-threat option.

Brown didn’t have eye-popping passing numbers (15-24, 172 yards, 1 TD). However, he was the third man in the rushing attack, posting 62 yards rushing and 1 TD. That one TD being a 30-yard game-winning run! Brown’s legs give the Ducks a new weapon they didn’t have with Herbert. He’s going to have to become better at throwing the ball for Oregon to be a complete team.

Fresno State Bulldogs

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Jake Haener, QB

Offensively for Fresno State, there was no one player who really stood out, as it was more of a collective effort. However, QB Jake Haener willed his team to a having a shot to win this game down to the final whistle.

Haener was the one real constant for the Bulldogs, posting a stat line of 298 passing yards, 1 passing TD, and 1 rushing TD. Since Oregon was one of the better defenses he’ll face all year, you can expect Haener and his offensive weapons to have better days ahead.

Arron Mosby, EDGE

On defense, Fresno State was led by a three-headed monster. The biggest performer was defensive end Arron Mosby, who was the Thibodeaux equivalent for Fresno State. Like Thibodeaux, Mosby would harass the Oregon offense all game – delivering 8 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. That type of performance will begin to garner his name a lot of attention around the college football scene.

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Tyson Maeva, LB and Evan Williams, DB

Supporting Mosby was linebacker Tyson Maeva and cornerback Evan Williams, both of whom had big performances. Maeva showed plus marks in a lot of areas that will look good on his resume. He would finish the game with 9 total tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack. Williams put together a solid defensive performance of his own, producing 10 tackles and 1 pass breakup.


Thanks for reading my article. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America), and you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. Follow me on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1 — and tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation and Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy.

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