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PACIFIC 10 / ROUNDUP

Strong Start for Oregon

August 31, 2003|From Associated Press

Kellen Clemens threw three touchdown passes and Jason Fife threw for one score and ran for another as Oregon and its alternating quarterbacks opened the season with a 42-34 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night at Starkville, Miss.

The training camp competition between Clemens and Fife was a draw, so Duck Coach Mike Bellotti decided he would use both. Off of the initial results, he'll probably stick with the same plan next week.

Clemens completed 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards and Fife was eight for eight for 111 yards. Neither threw an interception.

It didn't matter which quarterback was in the game in the first quarter. Mississippi State couldn't stop the Ducks.

Oregon scored touchdowns on its first four drives and was up 28-0 before the Bulldogs even had a first down.

Kevin Fant was 23 for 40 for 285 yards with three touchdown passes and a touchdown run for the Bulldogs, who rallied to get within a touchdown in the third quarter and scored the last two touchdowns to make it respectable in the end.

Clemens got the start and began the deluge with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Samie Parker on the fifth play from scrimmage.

Early on, Oregon's flawless performance netted 257 yards in 20 plays.

Bellotti also rotated his three tailbacks with great success. Terrence Whitehead, Ryan Shaw and Chris Vincent combined to rush for 209 yards in 27 carries.

Arizona 42, Texas El Paso 7 -- Mike Bell rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown, leading the Wildcats' best rushing output in two years in a rout in the season opener at Tucson.

Bell scored on an 11-yard run eight seconds before halftime, giving the Wildcats a 35-0 lead, and bolted 53 yards to set up Gilbert Harris' two-yard scoring run with 10:45 left in the third.

Clarence Farmer and Nic Costa also ran for touchdowns. Arizona's 217 yards rushing was its best since a 258-yard effort against Oregon on Oct. 6, 2001.

Bell got his yardage in 13 attempts and in less than three quarters.

Farmer, who led the conference in rushing in 2001 before a knee injury in the fourth game last year ended his season, had 20 yards in eight carries, including his eight-yard scoring run, before he was taken out for shoulder X-rays in the third quarter.

Washington State 25, Idaho 0 -- Jonathan Smith rushed 15 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cougars gave Bill Doba a victory in his coaching debut in the season opener at Seattle.

Cougar backup Chris Bruhn had 118 yards in nine carries. The Cougars rushed for 331 yards, their best since gaining 318 yards in a 54-14 victory over Montana State in 1993.

Drew Dunning kicked field goals of 46, 42, 29 and 35 yards.

In the teams' 86th meeting, the game was moved 300 miles west and still drew a crowd of 50,113.

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