UCLA Bruins at Oregon Ducks (-23.5, 71.5)
Marcus Mariota hasn’t thrown an interception all season and the Heisman Trophy hopes of the Oregon sophomore are soaring as the second-ranked Ducks host No. 11 UCLA on Saturday in Pac-12 play. The Ducks, ranked third in the initial BCS standings, have been virtually unstoppable on offense due to Mariota’s passing (2,051 yards, 19 touchdowns) and running (493 yards, nine scores). The Bruins seek to rebound from a loss to Stanford that knocked them out of first place in the Pac-12 South.
Oregon may have the services of junior running back De’Anthony Thomas, who hasn’t touched the ball on offense the past four games after injuring an ankle on the opening kickoff against California on Sept. 28. The Ducks rank second in the nation in scoring (57.6) and total offense (643.1) and having the versatile Thomas back only makes the attack more dangerous. UCLA coach Jim Mora minced no words about how impressed he is with Mariota. “He’s going to rip it up at the next level,” said Mora, a former NFL head coach. “He’s ripping it up at this level. He’s special.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Oregon opened as a 21-point favorite and has been bet up to -23. The total opened at 70.5 and is up as high as 72.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 50s with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing north at 5 mph.
ABOUT UCLA (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12, 5-1 ATS): Sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley (13 touchdowns, six interceptions) had his poorest effort of the season against Stanford, passing for a season-low 192 yards and being intercepted twice. The Bruins were unable to run effectively without leading rusher Jordon James (463 yards), who remains questionable with an ankle injury. Senior outside linebacker Anthony Barr (11 tackles for loss) is having another superb season and UCLA expects to have junior inside linebacker Eric Kendricks (team-high 56 tackles), who missed the second half of the Stanford game to undergo tests on his kidneys.
ABOUT OREGON (7-0, 4-0, 6-1 ATS): Mariota has gone 265 attempts without throwing an interception to set a Pac-12 record and senior Josh Huff (627 receiving yards) and sophomore Bralon Addison (543) share the team lead with 32 receptions. Sophomore Byron Marshall (team-best 746 rushing yards) has stepped up in the absence of Thomas and recorded four consecutive 100-yard outings. Junior cornerback Terrance Mitchell has a team-leading four interceptions, junior defensive end Tony Washington has a team-best 6.5 sacks and junior linebacker Derrick Malone has racked up a team-high 59 tackles for a unit allowing 17.3 points per game.
* Over is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings in Oregon.
* Underdog is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
* Road team is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
1. The Ducks have won the last four meetings but UCLA holds a 39-26 edge in the series.
2. Oregon has scored 55 or more points in six of its seven games – its low output is 45 versus Washington.
3. UCLA last won at Oregon in 2004.