Lots of good news for the Ducks going into Thursday night against UCLA. First, the game will be at home. Given the “curse” that #1 teams have faced in the last two weeks, it will be good to have UCLA at home where the Ducks dominate. Second, Darren Thomas seems to be ready for the game against UCLA. Even though the Ducks have a more than capable quarterback in Nate Costa (who came through for Oregon against UCLA last year when Masoli was out with an injury), having Thomas at the helm will help ensure that Oregon’s offense is at 100% efficiency and will be able to put up the Playstation points against opposing teams.
Kevin Prince may not be starting against Oregon. UCLA’s starting quarterback, who helped guide the Bruins to a 34-12 win against Texas, re-injured a knee during the Bruin’s loss to Cal last Saturday. Sophomore Richard Brehaut, who was 2 for 6 in passing against Cal, will take over for Prince should he not be able to start.
Speaking of injuries, Oregon has four, but it looks as though Kenjon Barner will be the only one not playing. Barner was sidelined after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that required him to be hospitalized.
The biggest question come Thursday evening is this: Which UCLA team is going to show up to Autzen Stadium? Will it be the one that dominated Texas’ offensive line which allowed UCLA’s running backs to gain 291 yards on the ground? Or will it be the one that only was able to get 26 yards rushing against a Bear’s team that has not looked so spectacular?
Considering the potential loss of quarterback Kevin Prince, this may turn UCLA into a one-dimension team offensively, and for a team that needs every advantage it can get, UCLA may be in more trouble than it can deal with. Oregon’s defense is nothing to shake a finger at (16th in the nation in points against), and if the Ducks can shut down the running game, it’s impossible to see how UCLA can pull off the comeback. Upsetting Texas is impressive, especially considering Texas’ humiliation of Nebraska last week, but upsetting the top scoring offense in the nation? The Ducks are averaging 54.3 points a game. UCLA needs to be ready to score 55.
It’s hard to see how UCLA can upset Oregon Thursday night, which is why this one is going to end 52-14.