EUGENE, Ore. — Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter hopes the Bulldogs gained something after the Autzen experience.
Fresno State came into Saturday's game against No. 4 Oregon as a five-touchdown underdog, but the team kept the Ducks out of the end zone all but once in the second half.
While it wasn't enough and the Bulldogs fell 42-25, the effort was there.
"I think our guys realized we can play with a lot of teams. I mean, this is one of the elite teams in the country," DeRuyter said. "I think we can play with these kind of teams if we're playing our game."
Derek Carr, the younger brother of former Bulldogs QB David Carr, completed 29 of 47 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown for Fresno State (1-1), which joined the Mountain West Conference this season. Quentin Breshears kicked four field goals, including one from 43 yards.
Bulldogs senior tailback Robbie Rouse ran for 115 yards, including a late 2-yard touchdown, on 27 carries. With 665 career carries, he has surpassed Michael Pittman (1993-97) for most in school history. He is 78 yards away from tying the school's rushing record.
In the end however, Oregon's 35-6 first-half lead and its speed were too great to overcome.
Kenjon Barner ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while De'Anthony Thomas ran for 102 yards and two additional scores for the Ducks (2-0). Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 27 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.
The Ducks were coming off a 57-34 victory over Arkansas State in their opener last weekend, while the Bulldogs opened with a 37-10 win over Weber State in DeRuyter's debut.
DeRuyter, who took over when longtime coach Pat Hill was dismissed, has brought in a new spread offense he's dubbed "fast, physical, fanatical" while he and defensive coordinator Nick Toth have transformed Fresno State's 4-3 defense from last season into an attacking 3-4.
"I think we were a little intimidated coming in and hopefully we learned in the second half that we shouldn't be," DeRuyter said.
Fresno State went ahead first on Breshears' 39-years field goal but the lead was short-lived and De'Anthony Thomas scored on his first touch of the game, taking a pitch from Marcus Mariota and running 39 yards to make it 7-3.
Thomas appeared to score again on Oregon's next series on a 2-yard run, but the touchdown was nullified when the officials went back and reviewed the previous play, determining that Mariota had gone out of bounds at the 3-yard line and not the 2. Barner scored on the next play.
Oregon was hurt in the first quarter when starting receiver Josh Huff went down on a kickoff return. Huff appeared to hurt his left knee and had to be helped off the field. While he later walked unaided to the locker room, he came out on crutches in the second half.
Huff said afterward that he'd be ready for practice on Monday.
Oregon was also without senior free safety John Boyett, who did not dress for the game but was shagging balls during warmups. Oregon does not discuss injuries so it is uncertain if he was hurt.
Mariota found tight end Colt Lyerla with a 22-yard scoring pass early in the second quarter, and Thomas darted 51 yards, breaking several tackles, for another touchdown to make it 28-3.
Barner added a 3-yard scoring run before Breshears hit a 43-yard field goal to make it 35-6 at halftime.
Fresno State narrowed it to 35-16 in the third quarter when Carr found Isaiah Burse with an 18-yard touchdown pass and Breshears kicked a 25-yard field goal. Breshears added a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 35-19.
Barner ran for a 16-yard touchdown with 3:51 left, but Rouse added a 2-yard scoring run for the final margin.
In his college debut last weekend against Arkansas State, Mariota threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns. On the practice squad last season, Mariota takes over for Darron Thomas, who threw for a school-record 33 touchdowns last season before leaving school with a year of eligibility left.
Barner likewise has taken over as Oregon's starting running back now that former Heisman finalist LaMichael James has moved on to the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Fresno State has not defeated the Ducks since a 10-4 victory at Autzen Stadium in 1982. Oregon is 7-2 all-time against the Bulldogs.