EUGENE, Ore. - A new era of Oregon football begins Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Darron Thomas will take the reigns of the defending Pac-10 champions for his first career start against New Mexico. | Skip to OSU vs TCU
Thomas takes over an offense that returns nearly in tact from last year's Rose Bowl squad. David Paulson -- who saw the field often a year ago -- is the only other new addition to the starting unit.
The Ducks couldn't ask for a better opponent to break in their new quarterback against. New Mexico is coming off a dreadful 1-11 campaign, and if the Lobos would have missed a last second field goal against Colorado State, they would have gone win-less.
The New Mexico defense ranked 100th in the country last year, giving up an average of 418.7 yards per game. Thomas should have lots of success throwing the ball against a pass defense that gave up 253.7 yards per contest.
The Lobos will also be trying to break in a new starting quarterback in sophomore B.R. Holbrook. He'll be charged with improving an offense that ranked just 103rd nationally at 315.3 yards per game.
Brian Elder -- The only real drama in this game will be whether or not the Ducks cover the 33.5 point spread. Darron Thomas should get off to a fantastic start, and he will carve up the Lobos with both his arm and his feet. I'm not sure where the myth started that Thomas isn't a polished passer. Every time I've seen him practice he's shown great touch on the deep ball (much better than Jeremiah Masoli did in my opinion), and he throws a very catchable short pass. Look for him to put up big numbers. Don't be surprised if Kenjon Barner scores on offense and special teams too. The Ducks should get out to a big lead, giving Nate Costa and some of the other reserves plenty of action later in the game. OREGON: 52, NEW MEXICO: 13
Tom Ward -- Despite the Ducks being without RB LaMichael James and K Rob Beard, it will hardly matter. The Ducks are loaded on both sides of the ball, including running back, where Kenjon Barner will get the start in place of James. Oregon returns 17 starters, but will be breaking in a new starting quarterback in Darron Thomas.
Nick Krupke -- Darron Thomas has a perfect way to kick off his career as Oregon's starting QB. Not only are the Ducks more than four touchdown favorites to win their sixth straight home opener (lost to Indiana in 2004) against New Mexico, but the first month of the season (outside of a week 2 trip to Tennessee) is fairly soft for DT. Thomas doesn't have to be all-world either. Asked Monday if he ever thinks of that near 4th quarter comeback against Boise State in 2008, Thomas said it's not about what he has done but what he can do. Even with LaMichael James suspended, Kenjon Barner should be able to fill the stat void against the Lobos by pickup up where he left off in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks will have the win in the bag before halftime. OREGON: 42, NEW MEXICO: 10
Dirk Weishaar -- Ducks will have no problem with an over matched and out-manned New Mexico team. I'd go with a shut-out, but Oregon may turn it over on special teams or on offense, setting up an easy Lobos score. The Oregon defense may score in this game, but which of the 25-players will it be? OREGON: 48, NEW MEXICO: 10
The Beavers kick off the 2010 season with one of the marquee games of opening weekend.
James and Jacquizz Rodgers will finally get to return and play in their home state of Texas as Oregon State travels to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas to lock horns with #6 TCU.
The game will also mark a new era for the Beavs with sophomore Ryan Katz set to make his first career start at quarterback. OSU will have to find a way to keep Katz upright against a relentless Horned Frog defense that has led the nation in total defense for the past two years (TCU gave up just 239.7 yards per game last season).
TCU welcomes back 16 starters (9 offensive, 7 defensive) from a team that finished the regular season 12-0 last year before falling to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Horned Frogs are led by senior Andy Dalton on offense, whose 29 career victories are the best mark in the nation among active quarterbacks. He is TCU's all-time leader in passing yards with 7,457, and he also poses a threat with his mobility (1, 176 career rushing yards).
Brian Elder -- You have to love Mike Riley and OSU going out and scheduling a game like this. The Beavs ditched a sure win over Eastern Washington in order to make this game happen. It's gutsy to say the least. This will be a tough test for OSU and especially for Ryan Katz as he makes his first start. How well he handles the pressure and blitzs that TCU will surely bring will be crucial. The Heisman hopes of Jacquizz Rodgers also rest on this game. This will be one of the few times he gets to play with the whole country watching, and if he doesn't have a big night his Heisman dream could end before it even gets off the ground. I fully expect the Horned Frogs to stack eight guys in the box to try and bottle up Quizz, and they will try to make Ryan Katz beat them. I think Katz will more than hold his own. He has looked very sharp in fall camp, and he seems to be mentally ready. I think the Beavs will get their points, but I don't think they'll have a lot of luck stopping TCU. This one will be tight the whole way before TCU pulls away at the very end. TCU: 35, OSU: 24
Tom Ward -- The Beavers are no strangers to opening up on the road against big-time, nationally ranked opponents. Oregon State opened the 2004 season on the road at LSU, and if not for three Alexis Serna missed extra points, would have beaten the Tigers in Baton Rouge. This is the first meeting between the Beavs and Horned Frogs, and TCU returns 16 starters from last year’s squad that went 12-1.
Nick Krupke -- Oregon State knows it is in for a brutal opening month. But what game will hurt worse? Against TCU in Arlington or on the blue turf in Boise on Sept 25?. OSU overmatched by TCU, but Ryan Katz looks okay. TCU: 38, OSU: 17
Dirk Weishaar -- It may be lower scoring than this. I have really liked the OSU offense in training camp. Mike Riley does an excellent job when getting extra time to prepare for an opponent. The Beavs could pull off the upset, but the Horned Frogs playing at home will have a little more defensively than OSU. TCU: 31, OSU: 27