One of the week’s marquee matchups in college football takes place Saturday afternoon in Eugene, Ore., when No. 10 Oregon hosts No. 9 UCLA in a key Pac-12 tilt.
Both the Bruins (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) and Ducks (5-1, 3-0) are coming off bye weeks, and are the only two remaining unbeaten Pac-12 teams in conference play.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly was the man who guided the Oregon program to its first of two appearances in the national championship game, at the conclusion of the 2010 season. He also led the program to two Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl. Kelly then moved on to coach in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers before taking over at UCLA in 2018.
“It’s always special going back there, it’s a special place in my life and there’s a lot of great people there that had a profound impact on my life,” Kelly said this week. “But I’m not playing the game, so … we’re totally focused.”
Kelly has never beaten the Ducks in three previous meetings against them, though the last two meetings (2020 and 2021) have been three-point losses.
Under Kelly, the Bruins are 24-25. The Ducks are 14-3 against the Bruins since the 2000 season, including a win over the Bruins in the first-ever Pac-10 championship game in 2011.
Oregon has won three straight meetings and nine of the past 10 in the overall series. The Ducks have won seven straight home games against the Bruins, including last season’s 34-31 victory in which Oregon trailed 14-0 after the first quarter.
It’s the first time since 2014 that two Top 10-ranked teams meet at Autzen Stadium, and the sixth time that two teams in the Top 10 will face each other in Eugene. Oregon is 5-0 in the last five of those games.
“It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere, obviously getting the opportunity to play UCLA, who’s a really good team clicking on all cylinders right now,” Oregon first-year head coach Dan Lanning said. “But that environment, I think, from our fans, and for recruits, it’s going to be really special.”
UCLA is led by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, whose 74.8 percent completion rate leads the conference. He has 15 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Thompson-Robinson has connected on 77.2 percent of his passes in conference play.
Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet is the Pac-12’s second-leading rusher with 615 yards in five games. He averages 7.1 yards per carry and has six rushing touchdowns.
For the Ducks, Auburn transfer Bo Nix has been everything they hoped he would be since the team’s Week 1 loss to now top-ranked Georgia. Nix has eight rushing touchdowns — five in his past two games — and his 331 rushing yards lead the conference’s quarterbacks.
Nix also has a 70.4 percent completion rate, which trails only his UCLA counterpart in the conference. He has thrown for 12 TDs while getting picked off three times.
The Ducks have three of the top 12 rushers in the Pac-12, running backs Bucky Irving (429 yards) and Noah Whittington (336) and Nix, who ranked sixth, 11th and 12th, respectively.
–Field Level Media