(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks wide receiver Bralon Addison (11) is tackled by several Fresno State player in the second half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
EUGENE, Ore.- Fresno State sacked Mariota three times, forced him to fumble twice and capitalized off of freshmen Bralon Addison’s careless toting of the football—all in the second half.
“I haven’t really been hit too hard in a long time,” Mariota said of the four-quarterback hits in the game.
The Bulldogs set the tone on The Opening drive, smacking the freshman on an option play that sprung De’Anthony Thomas for a 39 yard score.
Two hits in the second half managed to dislodge the ball, leading to ten Bulldog points.
The first on a blitz up the middle where linebacker Shawn Plummer slung him to the ground as he tried to elude the pressure and the second on a blindsiding hit from blitzing safety Phillip Thomas.
“To get those hits under your belt and to know that you can get up and you’re OK made me grow a little confidence and made me a little more comfortable out there,” said Mariota.
Center Hroniss Grasu’s snaps were so wild, it appeared to some that the Ducks had added a new wrinkle—a direct snap to the running back. Grasu was noticeably bothered following the win, promising that the problems would be fixed by next week.
“There’s no excuse for it. I snap the ball a 100 times a day, they should go to the chest every time,” Grasu said.
Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich described Grasu’s snapping woes as “self-inflicted errors.” Grasu attributed the mistakes to a lack of focus, largely due to the different look the Bulldogs showed.
“I was thinking about what the defense is doing,” Grasu said. ““I felt like they were blitzing every play.”
Fortunately it’s still early, and as Mariota said, it’s best to get the kinks out against the likes of Fresno State early than against conference foes late.
“We kind of grew up a little bit as an offense,” Mariota said. “To overcome those struggles is going to help us down the road.