No. 8 Oregon Football Returns Home to Take on Arizona State
Oct. 30, 2001
STAYING ALIVE . . . Two of the nation's most potent offenses grab center stage for the second week in a row, yet it is a defensive effort that Oregon hopes to duplicate from a week ago as it looks to survive as one of three remaining league 'once-beatens' following the conclusion of the upcoming week. Despite the presence of a high-profile quarterback, the Ducks seek continual success from a ground game that is shaping up among the best in school history. Possessing a reputation for providing exciting finishes at home, Oregon renews acquaintances with a foe that has taken the Ducks to the brink of defeat each of the past two years. A former Oregon assistant returns to square off against a Mike Bellotti-coached contingent for the first time as the home team looks to begin another Autzen Stadium winning streak.
NATIONAL RANKINGS . . . After dropping out of the Top-10 for the first time all season last week the Ducks returned among the nation's elite, moving up to eighth in this week's Associated Press poll and ninth in the USA Today/ESPN rankings.
HEAD COACH MIKE BELLOTTI . . .Ranking third on the Ducks' all-time winningest coaching list (56-23-0), Mike Bellotti now stands as the winningest active coach in the Pac-10 based on conference winning percentage in addition to leading Oregon to more overall victories during his tenure than any other program in the league. Oregon's seventh-year head coach has accumulated a 34-19 record in Pac-10 encounters (.642), which moves him into 15th all-time among conference circles in terms of career winning percentage and 20th in career league victories. He has played a vital role in assembling better than 19 percent (95 wins) of the University's all-time triumphs (498) in his 13-year Oregon association (six as offensive coordinator and seven as head coach). Only Hugo Bezdek (72.7% -- 1906, 1913-17) has accumulated a better winning percentage than Bellotti's 70.9% among the program's mentors who have coached the Ducks a minimum of three seasons. The 50-year-old former Cal State-Chico mentor owns a 12-year career head coaching mark of 79-48-2.
ARIZONA STATE'S DIRK KOETTER . . . The first-year Arizona State head coach has encountered success throughout a coaching career which began with a state championship at Pocatello's Highland High School. After serving as Oregon's offensive coordinator (1996-97), he led Boise State to a 26-10 ledger, two 10-win seasons and a pair of Humanitarian Bowl victories in three years. Prior to joining the Ducks, Dirk Koetter served as offensive coordinator at San Francisco State (1985), Texas-El Paso (1986-88), Missouri (1989-93) and Boston College (1994-95).
CLOSE CALLS . . . As a testament to the composure Mike Bellotti has handed down to his players throughout the years, Oregon has compiled a 28-9 record in games decided by a touchdown or less since the start of the 1995 season. The Ducks are13-2 in games at home that have come down to seven points or less and 15-7 under the same circumstances on the road. Nine of the last 14 Oregon games have been decided by that thin margin, with the Ducks reigning victorious in eight of them.
GAMES TO REMEMBER ARE PLAYED IN NOVEMBER . . . Mike Bellotti has been quick to emphasize that it's not how well you start a season as much as how you finish. If past history is any indication, it would appear the Ducks are in good shape coming down the stretch. Under Oregon's current head man, the program has accumulated a 15-3 record during the final month of the regular season. Two of those losses were absorbed at Oregon State (1998, 2000), while the other occurred at Arizona State (1997). In November, Oregon is 9-0 under Bellotti in Autzen Stadium.