No. 13 Ducks Host Bulldogs (Again)
Sept. 3, 2002
BULLDOGS II . . . Oregon seeks to keep its perfect record intact against non-conference opponents at home under its current head coach for a second straight week against the Bulldogs. A quarterback searches for ways he can improve upon his debut as a collegiate starter while the defense took up where it left off last year, limiting another foe to a sub 100-yard effort on the ground. The Ducks face a foe that has taken them to overtime in each of their last two meetings, while Fresno State prepares for its first of two trips to the Willamette Valley during a three-week stretch. Mike Bellotti stands in position to become the school's most successful football coach in school history, while a former Fresno State offensive coordinator experiences life on the opposite sideline while coaching against players and coaches he had worked with for the last four seasons.
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 before moving up to 13th following the season opener. Fresno State is unranked.
HEAD COACH MIKE BELLOTTI . . . Ranking third on the Ducks' all-time winningest coaching list (61-23-0), Mike Bellotti has led the program to more overall wins during his tenure 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 19 percent (100 wins) of the university's all-time triumphs (503) in his 14-year Oregon association (six as offensive coordinator and eight as head coach). Only Hugo Bezdek (72.7 -- 1906, 1913-17) has accumulated a better winning percentage than Bellotti's 72.6% among the program's mentors who have coached the Ducks three seasons or more. The 51-year-old former Cal State-Chico mentor owns an 84-48-2 13-year career head coaching mark.
FRESNO STATE'S PAT HILL . . . The Bulldogs' sixth-year head coach has accumulated a 38-26 head coaching record in his first collegiate head coaching stint as he stands as the Western Athletic Conference's active winning percentage leader (.692) in league contests. The 1973 UC Riverside graduate and former Fresno State assistant (1984-89) has guided the school to three consecutive post-season appearances for only the second time in school history. The 50-year-old Hill's resume includes stops at Utah (1977-80), UNLV (1981-82), in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders (1983), Arizona (1990-91) and in the NFL with Cleveland (1992-95) and Baltimore (1996).
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK . . . Four players combining for only one letter between them last year wasted little in coming to the forefront while contributing to the Ducks' success in last week's season-opening win over Mississippi State. Quarterback Jason Fife and defensive backs Marques Binns, Aaron Gipson and Steven Moore all played major roles for the first time as collegians, with only Moore having previously experienced signifcant playing time in the past. In fact, Binns and Gipson haven't even attended their first college class yet as first-year freshmen, with Gipson becoming the program's first true freshman starter in five years.