The Oregon Ducks look to stay in the top 10 when they travel to Pasadena, Calif., to oppose UCLA on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl.
The 10th-ranked Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) have played back-to-back tight games, a 31-24 overtime loss to Stanford on Oct. 2 and a 24-17 win over California on Oct. 15 that came down to a fourth-and-goal defensive stand. Oregon is the only team in the conference with one overall loss.
Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is back to calling plays after needing surgery while the Ducks played at Stanford three weeks ago, and he is cleared to travel with the team to Pasadena.
Moorhead expressed support for starting quarterback Anthony Brown, who heard the boos and chants for backup Ty Thompson as the Ducks struggled on offense for a good portion of last week’s game.
“I think ‘AB’ is doing a solid job in his role,” Moorhead told Ducks Digest. “He’s not Marcus Mariota, he’s not Dennis Dixon (former Oregon quarterbacks who made the NFL), he’s not any of those guys, but he’s got to understand who he is and what he does well and how it’s going to contribute to our offensive and team success.
“You can nitpick and talk about stats and completion percentage and all that stuff, but I’ll go into a game with AB as my quarterback and believe in his abilities and what he’s going to do.”
Oregon is one of just two teams in the nation, along with Coastal Carolina, to rush for at least 180 yards in every game this season. The Ducks have been strong in the fourth quarter of games, outscoring opponents 72-31. They have scored points on 10 of 16 fourth-quarter drives and forced five turnovers in the fourth quarter to go with three turnovers on downs.
UCLA (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) looks for another win against a North Division opponent after defeating Washington 24-17 in Seattle last week. The Bruins, led by former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, racked up 420 yards of total offense to 267 for the Huskies.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a hand in three touchdowns, throwing for two and running for one while totaling 270 scrimmage yards.
Running back Zach Charbonnet, a transfer from Michigan, ran for a season-high 131 yards and has been a force for the Bruins this season. He has five 100-yard games and averages better than 6 yards per carry.
Oregon has won seven of the past eight meetings but hasn’t beaten the Bruins in Pasadena since 2014.
Kelly hasn’t had many signature victories in Westwood, but a win over the program he led into national prominence 12 years ago would be one. He downplayed it this week.
“It’ll be like another game,” Kelly said. “It’s not my former team, I was there a long time ago, so I don’t know any of those coaches, I don’t know any of those players. So it’s not like I’m going back to coach against a bunch of guys that I coached.”
Both of UCLA’s losses have come at home, to Fresno State and Arizona State.
–Field Level Media