PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Dior Mathis #3 and Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks run out on the field after the Ducks defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 45-38 at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Oregon begins its Rose Bowl-winning defense on Saturday by hosting Gus Malzahn and Arkansas State. Follow @SBNationCFB
The defending Rose Bowl champion Oregon Ducks begin the 2012 campaign Sept. 1 with a home game against Arkansas State.
One of the nation's most prolific offenses debuts on Saturday with a new quarterback. After quarterback Darron Thomas opted to enter the NFL draft, head coach Chip Kelly looks to Marcus Mariota to keep ball moving. The redshirt freshman from Hawaii holds the task of maintaining an offense that scored 46.1 points and rushed for 299 yards per game, both of which ranked in the top five nationally.
Mariota will be able to call upon the services of Kenjon Barner. The senior rushed for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The career 1,856-yard rusher had played backup to LaMichael James, but will now get the chance to play first fiddle.
Arkansas State comes to Eugene with new head coach Gus Malzahn calling the plays. The former Auburn offensive coordinator inherits a team that went 10-3 in 2011, including an undefeated Sun Belt record.
Date/Time, TV: Sept. 1, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point spread: Oregon (-35.5)
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