Oregon dominates with impressive numbers
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
September 1, 2003
STARKVILLE Sheer dominance.
Oregon posted numbers virtually unheard of in the first quarter of the Ducks' 42-34 win over Mississippi State Saturday night.
Over the first 15 minutes, Oregon racked up 257 yards on 20 offensive plays and put four touchdowns on the scoreboard.
The 28 points allowed in the first quarter marked the most against an MSU team in one quarter during the Jackie Sherrill era.
Oregon, which lost six of its last seven games last year, also had a 28-point quarter against Stanford in 2002.
Maybe Oregon's choice of colors (the tint of yellow pants and jerseys the Ducks wore is officially known as lightning) is for a reason.
Of the 257 yards, 231 came through the air as MSU defenders frequently were nowhere near Oregon's receivers. The Ducks were 9-of-10 in the air in the opening period.
Demetrius Williams and Samie Parker became the first Ducks to have 100 yards receiving in the same game since an Oct. 28, 2000 contest at Arizona State.
The Ducks also ran the ball better than usual as their 198 yards on 51 carries is the most since getting 205 against MSU last year.
Meanwhile, MSU had 12 offensive plays for 61 yards over the first 15 minutes. Thirty-six of the Bulldogs' yards came in the final 70 seconds of the period.
Welcome to MSU
Oregon's trip to Mississippi State marked the first time a Pac-10 team has played football on the MSU campus.
The Bulldogs have played Pac-10 teams only twice previously, winning 27-18 over Washington at Seattle in 1977 and losing 36-13 at Oregon last year.
Baseball is another story as Washington (1997) and UCLA (1992) have both played in regionals at Dudy Noble Field and Arizona came to DNF for a regular season game in 1978. Southern Cal is slated to play a three-game series at Dudy Noble early this spring.
Dean meets Dean
In his 13th season as State head coach, Sherrill is the dean of the SEC football coaches. Oregon's Mike Bellotti is the dean of Pac-10 coaches. Bellotti is in his ninth season with the Ducks. The remaining nine Pac-10 coaches have accumulated a total of 14 years in the conference.
Bellotti was somewhat impressed with State's battle back from an early 28-0 deficit.
On the telly again
For the fourth consecutive year, State's season opener has been televised to a national audience.
The game is MSU's 80th to be televised in Sherrill's tenure.
Hot August night
Temperature at kickoff was 82 degrees with a heat index of 89.
The Dogs are now 2-2 in games played in August, beating Memphis 13-10 in 1997 and Cal State Fullerton 47-3 in 1991 before losing to Oregon last year and again this year.
Sherrill entered Saturday night's contest as the 21st winningest active coach in the NCAA. In 26 seasons, he has a 178-111-4 career mark for a 61.5 winning percentage.
With 73 wins as head of the MSU program, Sherrill is 18th on the SEC's all-time win ladder. His 42 league victories rank No. 14 in the SEC.
Time to recover
State will enjoy its first open date of 2003 on Sept. 6. Following the break are road trips to Tulane on Sept. 13 and Houston on Sept. 20. Both are slated for 7 p.m. starts.
State returns home on Sept. 27 to face LSU. The time has yet to be announced.
State had three turnovers to Oregon's two. Since 1994, when MSU has had more turnovers than its opponent, the Dogs are just 8-31.
Moving on up
With six receptions, wide receiver Justin Knight moved into ninth place on MSU's career list for receptions. He has had at least one reception in 21 of his last 22 games.
Kevin Fant tied his career high for completions in a game in going 23-for-40. His 285 yards through the air moved him into sixth place on State's career list with 3,765 yards.
Ray Ray Bivines matched his career high for receptions with six.
Nick Turner had a career high 74 yards on seven rushes and averaged 33 yards on three kick returns.
Odell Bradley set a new career high with a team best nine tackles.
Make it rare
Cornerback Quinton Culberson became the first true freshman since Milton Smith in 1986 to start the first game of his MSU career.
Brent Smith had a string of nine straight successful field goals attempts broken when he missed a 50-yard try in the fourth quarter.