EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- A welcome back to a new season of Oregon Ducks football on Saturday, as thousands of fans return with high hopes for another great season.
The Ducks kick off their season at Autzen Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 1st, 2012.
Fans spent the day funneling in to the tailgating parking lots around Autzen Stadium to help ring in the new season with the first evening game.
The Ducks are coming off of a Rose Bowl victory. With a new trophy, fans are finding new stature with the team amongst the elite. With the hype comes some new creation off of the field as well.
One group from Lake Oswego created the “Manbulance” in 2010, by converting an old ambulance into a Duck fan’s tailgating dream. The vehicle is parked in the Masonic Lodge parking lot across from the stadium.
“Being proud fans of the Oregon teams, you know, it's just kind of our way of having fun and contributing back and we just have a blast doing it,” says Mike Etienne, a Duck fan since 1989.
Another big new truck making the rounds was crafted by Rodger Deevers. “Duck 2.0,” a life-like sculpture of the Duck being held up by several hands and in the “push-up” position. The Duck is made out of a mixture of stryrofoam, fiberglass, bondo and lots of paint.
“It just reiterates to me constantly that there are some great fans in a lot of places other than the south, fans that care deeply about their school and the program that they have going,” says Deevers.
USC is expected to be a big opponent for the Oregon Ducks this year. With the challenge, fans say they’re excited with the possibilities. If Oregon defeats USC at home this season and manages to win the Pac-12 Championship, fans say it could be huge.
“We'll be in a big time BCS bowl again, maybe a national championship, why not?” said Tyler Dotten, a lifelong Ducks fan.
"Our offense will open up now that the quarterbacks can run, I mean, Darron Thomas wasn't as mobile toward the end there, it's back to the Dennis Dixon days where the field is just wide open,” says Dotten.
The Oregon Ducks kick off against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at 7:30 p.m. pacific time. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.