Vandal Passing Attack to Test No. 13 Ducks
Sept. 10, 2002
A LOT OF HISTORY . . . Two teams formerly accustomed to meeting on a regular basis renew acquaintances for only the third time in the past 32 years as Oregon guns for its 28th home win in 29 appearances. The Ducks' defense is expected to be tested by one of this year's better passing arsenals as well as the nation's No. 4 receiver as the home team tries to extend its league-leading winning streak to eight games. Several former instate preps look forward to making an impression in their return to their home state as Idaho seeks its first win in Eugene since 1925. Oregon hopes it has dispelled the fallacy that its last-second comebacks were a thing of the past as it looks to keep its non-conference record unblemished at home in the eighth season under its current head coach. One record-breaking running back seeks to put his name in the Oregon annals once again with a third straight 100-yard rushing effort.
NATIONAL RANKINGS . . . Finishing last season second in the country in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls, Oregon broke into this year's pre-season elite ranked 15th in the nation in both polls. It is currently ranked 13th in the latest writers poll and 12th by the coaches.
HEAD COACH MIKE BELLOTTI . . . Ranking third on the Ducks' all-time winningest coaching list (62-23-0), Mike Bellotti now has accumulated a better winning percentage (72.9%) than any other football coach in school history with a tenure of three years or more. With last week's win he surpassed Hugo Bezdek (1906, 1913-17), who amassed a winning percentage of 72.7 with a six-year record of 30-10-4. Leading the program to more overall wins during his reign than any other school in the Pacific-10 Conference, he stands as the winningest active coach in the Pac-10 based on conference winning percentage (66.1%), and 11th all time. Oregon's eighth-year head coach has accumulated a 37-19 record in Pac-10 encounters, which ties him for 18th in career league wins. Bellotti has played a vital role in assembling more than 20 percent (101 wins) of the university's all-time triumphs (504) in his 14-year Oregon association (six as offensive coordinator and eight as head coach). The 51-year-old former Cal State-Chico mentor owns an 84-48-2 13-year career head coaching mark.
IDAHO'S TOM CABLE . . . Accumulating a collegiate coaching ledger of 6-16 in two seasons as the school's 30th head coach, the former Idaho offensive lineman (1982-85) was a three-year starter under Dennis Erickson before breaking into the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at his alma mater under Keith Gilbertson. The 37-year-old head coach served as defensive line coach at Cal State-Fullerton for one year (1990) and tutored the offensive line at UNLV (1991) before rejoining Gilbertson and the offensive line at California (1992-97). Tom Cable spent one year at Colorado as offensive line coach in 1998 before being elevated to coordinator the next year.
FOURTH-QUARTER HEROICS . . . The 2002 edition of the Ducks didn't waste much time in proving that their predecessors didn't own exclusive rights to the cardiac comebacks which have become synonymous with Oregon football. While former quarterback Joey Harrington built a legacy with his 11-2 record in games decided in the fourth quarter and his Captain Comeback moniker, the Ducks were insistent that all the magic had not evaporated. Overcoming a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Jason Fife atoned for a late fumble by engineering a 43-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes to notch his first come-from-behind triumph.