Prukop and UC Davis? Oregon's QB has been there, done that
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dakota Prukop has faced UC Davis before, and it went very well for him.
The graduate transfer makes his debut at quarterback for No. 24 Oregon on Saturday against a team he faced two years ago while at Montana State. Then a sophomore for the Bobcats, Prukop completed 17 of 22 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns against the Aggies while rushing for 148 yards and two more scores. Montana State defeated UC Davis 77-37.
He didn't even play the fourth quarter.
''I remember getting pulled out pretty early and not wanting to come out,'' he told reporters earlier this week. ''It was a fun game.''
Last season, Prukop passed for 3,025 yards and 28 touchdowns with 10 interceptions while rushing for 797 yards and 11 touchdowns for Montana State as the Big Sky team finished 5-6.
He arrived at Oregon in January and won the starter's job in fall camp. Freshman Justin Herbert, a local prospect out of Sheldon High School in Eugene, was listed as Prukop's backup for the opener following a competition with Terry Wilson and Travis Jonsen.
UC Davis coach Ron Gould remembers Prukop well.
''I have a lot of bad memories playing against that young man,'' Gould told the Sacramento Bee newspaper. ''We know Dakota is a tremendous athlete, a good quarterback. He can beat you with his arm, beat you with his feet.''
Despite his success against the Aggies, Prukop is still looking for the Aggies to challenge the Ducks.
''They're going to come out and they're going to be looking for an upset,'' Prukop said. ''This team isn't going to lay down. The FCS, the level of play isn't that big of a difference in my opinion.''
AGGIES QB: As of Thursday, UC Davis coach Ron Gould had yet to name a starter for the game, but both contenders - C.J. Spencer and Ben Scott - have experience from last season. Scott, a senior, started the first eight games of the season before he was injured and threw for 1,595 yards and 11 touchdowns. Spencer, a sophomore, appeared in seven games and started in the final three. In his final two games he threw for 623 yards and four touchdowns.
CONNECTIONS: Gould played defensive back for the Ducks from 1986-87, while former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti played at UC Davis. Current Aggies assistant Bob Foster was defensive coordinator at Oregon under Bellotti from 1998-99. Former Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti is also a UC Davis alum.
LAST TIME OUT: Oregon went 9-4 last season, ending on a sour note with a 47-41 triple-overtime loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl. UC Davis, a member of the Big Sky conference, has had back-to-back 2-9 seasons.
ROYCE ROLLS: Running back Royce Freeman, who is getting some Heisman mentions, in knocking on the door of several Oregon records. He needs 21 rushing touchdowns to surpass the Ducks' career record set by LaMichael James, and 1,882 rushing yards to surpass James for the team's new career mark. For comparison's sake, last season as a sophomore he rushed for 1,836 yards and 17 touchdowns.
ABOUT THE D: The Ducks have installed a new 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, the former head coach at Michigan. There will be three new starters on the defensive line to help shore up a unit that allowed 37.5 points per game, most in the Pac-12 last season.
OLYMPIAN EFFORT: Quarterbacks coach David Yost said Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen could play against UC Davis. Allen missed fall camp because he was at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where he placed fifth in the 110-meter hurdle final. ''We've yet to find anyone that can run with him or even close to him,'' Yost said. ''He's been taking a lot of reps this week, so my guess is he'll be out there running around, catching passes.''