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Early Look: Oregon vs UCLA

by:Linden Hile07/07/24
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The Oregon Ducks vs UCLA Bruins game has produced a number of classics over the years including the 2022 College Football Gameday matchup that put Dan Lanning‘s Oregon Football team on the map in his first year as head coach.

This year’s game comes as the first conference matchup for both teams, but not under the same pretenses as in seasons past.

The west coast matchup will now fall under the Big Ten Conference banner as both teams are entering their first year in the Midwest-based conference.

For UCLA, many are viewing 2024 as a building year after former head coach Chip Kelly departed for an offensive coordinator role at Ohio State.

New head man DeShaun Foster has sparked optimism in the UCLA fanbase after a handful of lackluster seasons towards the end of coach Kelly’s tenure.

New UCLA head coach DeShaun Foster is introduced by Bruins' athletic director Martin Jarmond
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Foster has done a solid job early in recruiting, with UCLA currently sitting at 36th in the On3 Industry Rankings.

UCLA lost a number of their top talents to the transfer portal when Kelly took off, but returns a good mix of players for 2024

The game being in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl provides more intrigue than would otherwise exist, but the historic venue has not proven to be an especially tough place to play lately.

Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy brings a lot of NFL experience that should help in his first season with the Bruins, as the offense has decent tools to work with.

Quarterback Ethan Garbers projects as the team’s starter after completing 67.1% of his passes in 2023, good for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

USC defensive lineman Elijah Hughes attempts to tackle UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers
USC defensive lineman Elijah Hughes attempts to tackle UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers (acscottphotography/WeAreSC)

J. Michael Sturdivant headlines the wide receiver room after posting 597 yards and four TDs last season, in addition to former Oregon tight end Moliki Matavao.

UCLA’s defense is led by their linebackers, namely Kain Medrano and Femi Oladejo who finished second and third on the team in tackles a year ago.

Ultimately, the Bruins are a rebuilding team that does not bring much to the table in the trenches defensively.

The offense figures to be able to move the ball but does not look to be dynamic in 2024.

Oregon should be able to run the ball with relative ease and contain UCLA’s offense en route to a win in the first Big Ten matchup between these two teams.

Prediction: Oregon wins 38 – 17

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