Pac 12 College Football Predictions: #12 UCLA Bruins at #3 Oregon Ducks

#12 UCLA Bruins at #3 Oregon Ducks
Autzen Stadium – Eugene, Oregon

Saturday, October 26, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Oregon -17 1/2
Current Line: Oregon -23 1/2
Opening Total: 73
Current Total: 73 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon -1500 / UCLA +890
Current Money Line: Oregon -1600 / UCLA +930 

Oregon is a 23 point favorite at home against UCLA in a key Pac 12 match-up.
Oregon is a 23.5 point favorite at home against UCLA in a key Pac 12 match-up.

The 7-0 Oregon Ducks were #3 in the first BCS standings released last Sunday. Oregon is 4-0 in the Pac 12 North, tied with Oregon State for the division lead. The Ducks are one of 10 undefeated teams left in the country. Despite winning every game by at least 21 points Oregon is behind Alabama and Florida State, mainly because their computer rankings are much lower than the human polls. The Ducks have played a much softer schedule than Alabama and Florida State, but the Ducks do have upcoming games against UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon State remaining. Those games should help in the computer rankings.

First up, the #12 UCLA Bruins come to Eugene Saturday night. UCLA is 5-1 this season and 2-1 in the Pac 12 South, a half game behind Arizona State for the division lead. The Bruins leads the series against the Ducks 39-26 including 12-6 at Autzen Stadium. Oregon has won 4 straight and 9 of the last 11 against UCLA including 49-31 in Eugene in the inaugural Pac 12 Championship game in 2011.

UCLA is coached by Jim Mora, Jr. The Bruins suffered their first loss of the season last week at Stanford 24-10. UCLA has home wins over Nevada 58-20, New Mexico State 59-13, and California 37-10, along with road wins at Nebraska 41-21 and Utah 34-27. The Bruins are 5-1 ATS this season and the total is 2-4 this season. UCLA was a 4.5 point underdog at Stanford last week and the total was 55.

Stanford took a 3-0 halftime lead over UCLA. The Bruins tied it up early in the third, but the Cardinal scored 14 points in the third quarter to go up 17-3. UCLA pulled to within 17-10 early in the fourth quarter. UCLA would have two punts and an interception before Stanford put the game away with a touchdown with 1:42 left to make it 24-10. Stanford had 419 total yards including 192 rushing yards. UCLA had 266 total yards including 192 passing. The Bruins had 2 turnovers and the Cardinal had one.

UCLA is outscoring teams 40-19. The Bruins are #20 in scoring and #17 in points allowed nationally. UCLA is averaging 500.2 yards per game including 301.7 passing and 198.5 rushing. The Bruins are #15 in total offense and #23 passing nationally. On defense, UCLA is allowing 357.2 yards per game including 210.2 passing and 147 rushing. The Bruins are 49th or better in all three categories. UCLA is +3 in turnovers with 12 takeaways. The Bruins average 77 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 56. UCLA is 50/94 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 35/105. The Bruins have forced 13 sacks and allowed 14 this season. UCLA is 28/32 with 21 touchdowns and opponents are 13/16 with 9 touchdowns. The Bruins have a punt return for a touchdown and have allowed a pick six.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has completed 66.8% of his passes for 1,661 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions, along with 72 carries for 287 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass. Running back Jordan James has 74 carries for 463 yards with 5 touchdowns. He is doubtful Saturday with an ankle injury. Paul Perkins has 49 carries 238 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 133 yards. Malcolm Jones has 23 carries, 106 yards and 3 carries, along with 3 catches, 51 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Shaquelle Evans has 24 catches, 319 yards and 5 touchdowns. Devin Fuller has 27 catches, 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a touchdown pass to Hundley. Jordan Payton has 18 catches, 267 yards, and a touchdown. Paul Perkins has 14 catches for 133 yards. Five defensive players and 3 offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Oregon is coached by Mark Helfrich. The Ducks have home wins over Nicholls State 66-3, Tennessee 59-14, California 55-16, and Washington State 62-38 last week, along with road wins at Virginia 59-10, Colorado 57-16 and at Washington 45-24. Oregon is  6-1 ATS and the total is 5-2 this season. The Ducks were 40 point favorites against Washington State and the total was 71.5.

Oregon took a 20-7 lead in the first quarter against Washington State. The Ducks would lead 34-24 at halftime. Oregon scored the first 28 points of the second half  to take a 62-24 lead in the fourth. The Ducks had a chance to cover the massive 40 point spread but the Cougars added two late touchdowns to make the score seem a little less lopsided 62-38. The Ducks had 719 total yards including 383 rushing and 336 passing yards. Washington State had 559 total yards including 557 passing. The teams combined for 8 turnovers (5 by Washington State). Oregon had 9 penalties for 75 yards in addition to the three turnovers. Each team had a defensive touchdown.

Oregon is outscoring teams 58-17 this season. Oregon is #2 nationally in scoring and #12 in points allowed. The Ducks average 643.3 yards per game including 332.6 rushing and 310.7 passing yards. Oregon is #2 in total offense and #2 in rushing. Even the passing attack is #19 in the country. Oregon is allowing 370.1 yards per game on defense, including 251 .9 passing and 118.3 yards. Oregon is #22 in rush defense but #89 in pass defense out of 125 teams. The Ducks are +13 in turnovers for the season with 21 takeaways. Oregon is 46/106 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 46/142. The Ducks have forced 20 sacks and allowed 8. Oregon is 35/43 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns, and opponents are 15/21 with 9 touchdowns. The Ducks are averaging 73 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 49. Oregon has 2 punt returns for touchdowns, and a pick six. The Ducks have allowed one fumble return for a touchdown.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has completed 62.4% of his passes for 2,051 yards with 19 touchdowns, and no interceptions, along with 49 carries for 493 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is considered by many to be the Heisman front runner. Running back De’Anthony Thomas has 42 carries, 338 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 58 yards. He is probable with an ankle injury and missed the last four games. Byron Marshall has 111 carries, 746 yards, and 9 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 127 yards. Thomas Tyner has 54 carries for 360 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 98 yards. Receiver Josh Huff has 32 catches for 627 yards and 6 touchdowns. Bralon Addison has 32 catches for 543 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Keanon Lowe has 3 touchdown catches.  John Mundt and Daryle Hawkins each have 2 touchdown catches.

UCLA is 7-1 ATS after failing to cover and after rushing for less than 100 yards, 5-1 overall and after scoring less than 20 points, 4-1 against teams with winning home records, and on fieldturf, and 5-15 in October. The road team and underdog are both 7-3 ATS in the last 10 in this series.

Oregon is 4-0 ATS after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 6-1 after scoring more than 40 points, after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, and after a straight up win of 20 points or more. 5-1 after gaining 450 yards or more, and on fieldturf, 9-2 in Pac 12 games, 13-3 after rushing for 200 yards or more, and after allowing 450 yards or more, 8-2-1 after failing to cover, 26-8-1 in October, 6-2 at home, 7-3-2 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 22-10-1 after passing for more than 280 total yards, and 1-5 against teams with winning road records. The over is 3-1-1 in the last 5 in Eugene in this series.

Oregon is vulnerable on defense to a good passing attack, like last week when Washington State passed for almost 600 yards. Still, I don’t know if UCLA can get into a shootout with the high powered Ducks offense. Few teams can with the exception of maybe Baylor. UCLA needs to control the clock, but that is easier said than done. Oregon wins handily, but the 23 point number leaves open the possibility of the back door cover.

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