SOUTH DAKOTA (0-0) at No. 3 OREGON (0-0) 10:37 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Series Record: First Meeting
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Ducks should have no trouble with the lower-division Coyotes of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Oregon went 11-2 overall last season, with losses against Stanford and Arizona which cost them a shot at the Pac-12 title and a national championship bid. The Coyotes finished 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the MVFC. South Dakota is 1-6 over FBS opponents over the last five seasons.
Oregon’s speedy offense against South Dakota’s defense. Oregon averaged 565 yards total offense per game last season and had 49 touchdown drives that lasted two minutes or less last season. They’ll go against a defense depleted by the loss of outside linebacker Tyler Starr, the MVFC Defensive player of the Year and South Dakota’s all-time sack leader, who went to the Atlanta Falcons in this year’s NFL draft.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
South Dakota: QB Kevin Earl, who started in the final eight games last season and finished with 1,920 yards passing with nine touchdowns via the pass and three rushing scores. His best game came against Northern Iowa, when he passed for 370 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-31 double overtime victory.
Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota, who opted to stay another season at Oregon, averaged nearly 282 yards passing per game and threw for 31 touchdowns with only four interceptions last season. He also rushed for 715 yards and nine scores. His 4,380 yards of total offense set a school record.
FACTS & FIGURES
The only other team from the MVFC that Oregon has faced is Missouri State in 2011, a game the Ducks won 56-7. … The Coyotes’ most recent victory against an FBS team came in 2010, when they beat Minnesota 41-38. … South Dakota senior Josh Vander Maten started at quarterback for the first four games last season before he switched to wide receiver. For his career, he has 12 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing scored and two receiving TDs. … The Ducks have won nine straight home openers, averaging 54.3 points per game.