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Facts & Figures

Eastern Illinois is 4-22 against FBS opponents, with all those victories coming against MAC teams. … Iowa has won nine straight openers by an average of 31 1/2 points. … The Hawkeyes won’t announce who their starting kicker will be until game time. Sophomore Trent Mossbrucker and senior Daniel Murray are listed as co-starters, and freshman Michael Meyer will kick off.

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No. 11 Oregon vs. New Mexico, 3:30 p.m.

Line: Oregon by 34.

Series Record: First meeting.

What’s at Stake

Oregon’s new starting QB, Darron Thomas, makes a high-profile debut as a starter at Autzen Stadium, where the defending Pac-10 champion Ducks have won 16 of 17 openers dating to 1993. Thomas steps in for Jeremiah Masoli, who was dismissed in the offseason. The last loss at Autzen for the Ducks was to Boise State in 2008, when Thomas came in and threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes but came up short, 37-32.

Key Matchup

Kenjon Barner vs. New Mexico’s defense. Barner is starting in place of prolific Oregon RB LaMichael James, who is serving a one-game suspension after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from an offseason altercation with an ex-girlfriend. Oregon coach Chip Kelly says Barner is “just scratching the surface of what he can be.”

Players to Watch

Oregon: Thomas, who won the job as the Ducks’ starter after a heated competition with senior Nate Costa over the course of fall camp. While Costa is more of a passer, Thomas is more of a scrambler in the Dennis Dixon mode, and a good fit in coach Chip Kelly’s spread-option offense.

New Mexico: The Lobos have QB B.R. Holbrook, who won the starting job during fall camp, along with RBs Desmond Dennis and Kasey Carrier, WR Ty Kirk and TE Lucas Reed _ all sophomores whom the Lobos are building on.

Facts & Figures

New Mexico went 1-11 last season. … Oregon has won 10 straight home games. … The Lobos are 7-43 overall against ranked opponents, and 2-21 on the road against them. … New Mexico also faces No. 6 TCU as part of a tough non-conference schedule. … The Lobos have lost four straight openers. … Oregon K Rob Beard is serving a one-game suspension after he pleaded guilty in the offseason to a misdemeanor harassment charge for his role in a street fight.

Story Continues →