Ducks Romp 52-21

Eugene -- It was over by halftime, actually by the start of the second quarter. The Oregon Ducks (3-0) follow up their big win at Michigan with a blow out this week. This time, it was the Fresno State Bulldogs (1-2) that helped Duck Head Coach reach his 100th career victory at Oregon. Oregon won the game today, 52-21.

(PHOTO) Walter Thurmond III (6) recovers a fumble and runs into the endzone for a touchdown. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"It's awesome," admitted Bellotti of the victory. "I'm pleased for our program, and for our players and our coaches. I give them all the credit.

Bellotti now has a record of 100-46 while at Oregon and this win could be sweet as any because it was so dominating. The Ducks simply outclassed the Bulldogs in every facet of the game. Jonathan Stewart set a new Autzen Stadium record in the second quarter when he broke away for an 88-yard touchdown run. Stewart's power and balance have long fascinated the Ducks and their fans but today he finally scored on a long run. Last year against Arizona State, Stewart looked sure to score after going over 60-yards, but that play came up a bit short of the end zone. Today though, there was no catching No. 28.

"Great blocking set it up," Stewart said of the run. "When you're in that situation you just see a lot of green. It's like money."

Stewart led a rushing onslaught that racked up a total of 339 yards of which Stewart accounted for 165 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Stewart's presence on the field had to create a lot of heartache for Fresno State's coaching staff. They may have thought the Ducks were bent on getting the ball a lot today because Jeremiah Johnson left early in the game after his hamstring tightened up. Andre Crenshaw came in second half and netted 51 yards on 11 carries and recorded his first career score. Still though, Bellotti has to feel very good about his star running back, Stewart, and the job he did today.

"It was great for him to get out and to trust his speed," Bellotti observed of Stewart's long scoring run. "Once he got through the line he didn't try to cut back like he has in the past. I think that shows his maturity."

The Duck were again an offensive juggernaut as they had a total 461 yards with an additional 154 yards of passing to along with the rushing figures. Quarterback Dennis Dixon was 14-for-20, 139 yards and two touchdowns. He also contributed 59 yards rushing and a touchdown. Unlike last week when Oregon went to the long ball frequently, this week the conservative pass was more the order of the day, although dropped passes still seemed to rear up occasionally. Brady Leaf completed one ball for 15 yards and Jaison Williams was the leading receiver today with five grabs for 50 yards. Tight end Ed Dickson scored his career first touchdown reception and caught three passes for 27 yards. Before Johnson retired for the day he had the other Dixon touchdown reception of 35 yards.

"Dennis is awesome," said Williams of Dixon's play. "He's making better decisions. You can see the change in him."

Stewart's big run seemed to be the capper for the day and when the dust cleared, there was no doubt Oregon could do anything it wanted on offense.

"After Stewart ran for that touchdown I just told my guys to keep battling and keep fighting," said FSU's headman Pat Hill. "At that point we weren't worried about the score we just wanted to put points on the board."

Defensively, the Ducks held a pretty good team to just 21 points and 14 of those were after the game was out of reach for the Bulldogs. Oregon held Fresno State to just 60 yards net rushing on 36 carries. In fact the longest run of the day for the Bulldogs was on of 15 yards by Lonyae Miller. Miller was the leading rusher for the team in red with 40 net yards on 16 carries and he scored the last Fresno State touchdown in garbage time.

"We took another big step in defending the run today," observed Bellotti of his defense. "Fresno State is a good running team."

The Duck defenders also stepped up the pressure on forcing turnovers. Walter Thurmond III recovered a fumble caused by Patrick Chung and ran the ball into the endzone 25 yards away. Thurmond also had an interception and that defensive play also looked like it would end up in a score, but after returning the ball 30 yards, Thurmond was pushed out of bounds.

"I just like to be around the football and just try to make plays every down," admitted Thurmond.

FSU was a bit more successful in the air as Bulldog quarterback Tom Brandstater completed 18-of-32 for 219 yards and a touchdown, but too often the Ducks front line were putting constant pressure on him and he was sacked twice.

Chung was the leading tackler today with 11 total (seven solo) including one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Matthew Harper had another big day with 10 tackles (five solo) and Thurmond had a total eight tackles, seven being solo. Ra'Shon Harris and David Faaeteete both recorded sacks. Five separate players had pass break ups, and there were six quarterback hurries with Jeremy Gibbs being credited with two. Faaeteete also blocked a point after.

"I give a lot of credit to Oregon's defense," admitted Hill. "Our receivers and our running backs couldn't shake loose."

Oregon's special teams continued to play had a high pace and kept the Bulldogs from getting any field position until one kick off return late in the game. The Ducks only tried one field goal attempt of 22 yards and that was good by freshman Daniel Padilla. Punter Josh Syria is pounding the ball high and long and had four punts that averaged 44.8 yards per kick, with along of 50 and two ending up inside Fresno State's 20-yard line. Stewart padded his kickoff statistics with one kickoff return of 56 yards.

"This is the best Oregon team I've seen," observed Hill. "They're talented and they execute very, very well. Like I said we really got dominated in all three phases of the game.

The Ducks are flying as high as ever and today was just more proof that a simplified spread offense is extremely effective. Headed into the season questions were asked about Dixon and his commitment to football. Anyone who still asks those questions must have not been paying attention over the last three weeks. Stewart has remained healthy and eager to be lead by example and after three games he is averaging over 100 yards per game. Perhaps biggest question has been the Duck defensive line and today they showed up and stopped a team that always seems to find ways to roll up yards –but today the defense was animated, confident and ready.

Now the Ducks head into the Pac-10 season. They are 3-0 after three weeks when so many questioned if they would be 0-3. Not only have they won all games so far, as today they have been dominating.

Big Geoff Schwartz summed up things well and while he was specifically talking about Stewart's long touchdown run, the sentiment carries over to all aspects of the team.

"It was awesome to be part of that," said Schwartz. "When you execute, those things happen." Oregon takes on Stanford next in week in Palo Alto.

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