EUGENE, Ore. With one chance to put a win in the record book gone by the wayside, Utah State's football season is already looking for confidence builders as the Aggies try to avoid another rough year.
Finding any confidence at Autzen Stadium, however, will be a tough task.
The 18th-ranked Oregon Ducks crushed Washington, 44-10, in their season-opener last weekend and have their sights set on climbing into BCS bowl contention. That likely means they'll have little mercy for the Aggies today as the Ducks seek to impress voters in the national polls.
USU coach Brent Guy, who prepared defenses to face the Ducks while at Arizona State for four years, knows Oregon will be difficult to slow down.
"The Oregon group that played against Washington looks like they have done a great job of revamping who they are," Guy said. "It doesn't even look like the same Mike Belloti offense that I defended for four years at Arizona State. They completely retooled even the blocking schemes and the style they are offensively."
While Oregon is led by running back Jeremiah Johnson (124 yards last week and a career average of 6.4 yards per carry) and a bruising offensive line, the Ducks have a few question marks at quarterback. Preseason starter Nate Costa is out of action with a knee injury and Justin Roper was knocked out of the Washington game with a concussion.
Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper both played against Washington, and each led the Ducks on scoring drives, with Masoli passing for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
The Aggies, on the other hand, also have questions at quarterback. Sean Setzer, a Portland, Ore., native, is still listed as the starter on USU's depth chart, but sophomore Diondre Borel played most of the second half last week at UNLV and appears to be earning Guy's favor due to his running ability.
"We will play both of those guys (Setzer and Borel) in the Oregon game," Guy said. "Both of those guys are still going to play and we are going to need both of those guys all through the year. We are going to have two different styles of play but when they are on both of them play well."
The Aggies will also try to get running backs Robert Turbin and Curtis Marsh on track. Using a mostly straight-ahead game plan, neither back was able to penetrate the UNLV line much and the duo combined for only 40 yards on 18 carries. Neither saw much action in the second half, as Utah State turned to Borel as the primary ball carrier. Borel led the team with 70 yards on 15 attempts.The Aggies, after opening the season with two road games, will host three consecutive home contests starting next week with Utah, followed by Idaho and BYU.
USU on the road
Utah State (0-1) at No. 18 Oregon (1-0)
Today 1:30 p.m.
Radio: 1320 AM (SLC),
610 AM (Logan)