7:00 PM ET, September 17, 2005
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon's new offense is rounding into form, and the timing couldn't be better with top-ranked Southern California due up next for the Ducks.
Kellen Clemens threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns to lead a balanced Oregon attack in a 37-34 victory over the No. 23 Bulldogs on Saturday.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Fresno State (1-1), which also had won their last three against Pac-10 teams.
After seeing their running game stagnate and settling too often for field goals in their first two games, the Ducks (3-0) saw strides with their new spread-option system under coordinator Gary Crowton, the former Brigham Young coach.
"Playing the No. 1 team in the nation, at our house, will be another great opportunity for this team to show what they've got," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "With this win today we've set the stage for a great matchup next week."
Demetrius Williams caught eight passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Terrence Whitehead rushed for 96 yards and a score, and caught another TD. Clemens completed 28 of 38 passes.
Whitehead took a seemingly routine pass from Clemens and ran it willy-nilly 42 yards into the end zone, hopping over downed teammates and shrugging off clinging defenders to make it 37-27 for the Ducks with 4:16 left.
"We can say the forbidden word now, can't we?" said Clemens, whose team had been repeatedly reminded not to think ahead to USC. "We're excited."
But Fresno State kept it interesting with Paul Pinegar's 14-yard touchdown pass to Matt Rivera to narrow it to 37-34 with 1:50 left.
Pinegar completed 33 of 43 passes for 418 yards and three scores for Fresno State, which was ranked in the AP's preseason poll for the first time but wasn't challenged much in a season-opening 55-17 victory at home over Weber State.
The Bulldogs were stung Saturday by 16 penalties for 155 yards.
"I don't believe we're an undisciplined team," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "Obviously we were in the wrong place in the wrong times in critical situations. I mean, 16 penalties for 155 yards -- that's unheard of. It's unbelievable."
After Clint Stitser's 27-yard field goal on Fresno State's first possession, tailback Wendell Mathis ran for a 3-yard touchdown and caught a 20-yard scoring pass to put the Bulldogs ahead 17-0.
The Ducks didn't score until the second quarter, when Clemens found Williams with a 23-yard TD pass.
Paul Martinez surprisingly missed the extra point after missing a 41-yard field goal earlier in the game.
Martinez had 11 field goals going into the game against Fresno State, and had twice been named the Pac-10's special teams player of the week.
The Ducks narrowed it to 17-13 on Clemens' 46-yard pass to Cameron Colvin.
Oregon took a 20-17 lead before halftime when Williams caught a 12-yard TD pass from Clemens.
The Bulldogs tied it up with Stitser's 27-yard field goal to open the second half.
Oregon went back ahead on Whitehead's 20-yard scoring run, and made it 30-20 with a 45-yard field goal from Martinez.
Fresno State narrowed the deficit to 30-27 on Pinegar's 36-yard touchdown pass to Paul Williams late in the third quarter.
"We knew we had matchup opportunities on the outside and the ability to have a big day throwing the ball, we just didn't make the big plays when we needed them," Pinegar said.
The Ducks won their opener on the road against Houston 38-24 and followed it up with a 47-14 win at home against Division I-AA Montana. They had six field goals against the Grizzlies, leading to questions about the effectiveness of the new offense.
"Finally this is becoming the Oregon offense," Bellotti said. "We took things from a bunch of teams, but we're finally making it our own."
The Ducks were without freshman tailback Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and defensive end Devan Long (knee).
Oregon has won four straight against the Bulldogs to take a 4-2 advantage in the series.
In 2002, the last time the teams met, the then-No. 13 Ducks had to rally from behind to beat Fresno State 28-24 at Autzen. The Bulldogs were without starting quarterback Jeff Grady so Pinegar made his second career start, completing 16 of 36 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
It was over when... the Ducks recovered Fresno State's onside kick and ran out the clock, converting a fourth-down play in the process.
Gameball goes to... Oregon's Kellen Clemens, who passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat of the game... 16: Fresno State hurt its cause by piling up 16 penalties for 155 yards.