No. 24 Oregon opens first season under coach Mario Cristobal
Bowling Green (2-10 last season) at No. 24 Oregon (7-6), 8 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Line: Oregon by 32.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Oregon aims to open head coach Mario Cristobal’s first season with its 14th straight win in a home opener. Cristobal, the former co-offensive coordinator, coached the Ducks in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl after the departure of Willie Taggart so this will be his Autzen Stadium debut in the top job. Bowling Green hasn’t won a season opener since downing Tulsa 34-7 in 2013.
Oregon’s high-powered offense against Bowling Green’s new-look defense. The Falcons brought in Carl Pelini as defensive coordinator last December to shake things up. But the Ducks went 6-2 and averaged 49.1 points when quarterback Justin Herbert was healthy last year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bowling Green: QB Jarret Doege. Last season Doege became the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for the Falcons since 1986, but he missed time with injury. He started the final four games and the Falcons averaged 35 points. Now a sophomore, he’s the key to the Falcons’ Air Raid-inspired offense.
Oregon: Herbert. Herbert missed five games last season because of a fractured collarbone but still managed to throw for 1,983 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also rushing for 183 yards and five scores. Since his health is vital to the Ducks’ success, it’s unlikely he’ll play a full game unless he must.
FACTS & FIGURES
Oregon is ranked to open the season for the 10th time in the past 11 years … Bowling Green hasn’t won an opener on the road since 2011 at Idaho … Herbert has thrown a touchdown pass in his past 15 appearances, ranking him fourth among active FBS QBs … The Falcons have never defeated a Pac-12 opponent … Oregon has won 20 straight games at home against nonconference opponents … Oregon’s top returning running back is Tony Brooks-James, who ran for 498 yards and two touchdowns … On Bowling Green’s side, Andrew Clair rushed for 725 yards and four scores last season as a freshman … Bowling Green hasn’t won against a Power Five opponent since defeating Purdue 35-28 in 2015.