Ducks and Bears want win to advance

The Oregon Ducks (7-1) hope to extend their four game win streak tomorrow when they take on the California Golden Bears (6-2) at Autzen Stadium. Both the Ducks and Bears are assured of a bowl game in the post season, but each win elevates the status of which game the teams might appear in. The game will match up former Oregon offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, now the head coach at California, against his old boss, Mike Bellotti, Head Coach of the Oregon Ducks.

The game will also be the coming out party for Oregon sophomore quarterback Dennis Dixon, who took over the starting job when senior Kellen Clemens was lost for the season with a broken ankle suffered two weeks ago against Arizona. Dixon, has seen action in seven of the eight games this season has thrown 20 passes and completed 15 for 150 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Backing up Dixon is sophomore Brady Leaf, who has appeared in all eight games because he is the holder for field goals and point after conversion attempts. Leaf is 8-for-17, 85 yards, no touchdowns but did give up one interception against Arizona. In the Arizona game, Leaf was brought in the middle of the third quarter after Clemens broke his ankle and Dixon was knocked out of action with a concussion. Despite giving up an interception, Leaf did settle down and guided the Ducks through the fourth quarter and threw two key first down passes in order for the Ducks to maintain possession of the football and run out the time clock for the win.

"He has some experience on offense," said Tedford about Dixon. "He is well equipped physically to run that offense. He throws the ball very well, he is very athletic, he can run the football, and that is really what that offense is built around. He poses a lot of the same issues that Kellen Clemens would pose; the only difference is the experience. There is a huge experience difference in Kellen and him. Any time there is a new guy in there, there is going to be a transition period. It may not be as much for him because he has played in games. It's not like it's his first time behind a center."

California is led by quarterback Joe Ayoob, who has thrown for 1,521 yards on 106-of-209, 15 touchdowns, seven interceptions and is averaging 190.1 yards per game passing. Sophomore Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett provide the Pac-10's second leading rushing attack at 257.6 yards per game. Bear's freshman receiver DeSean Jackson is the leading receiver for Cal with 29 catches for 397 yards and four touchdowns. Cal is ranked 9th in the Pac-10 at 215.6 ypg.

The Ducks leading receiver is senior Demetrius Williams, having 46 catches for 895 yards and eight touchdowns. The Ducks are 4th in Pac-10 in passing at 327.6 ypg. Sophomore Cameron Colvin, has three touchdowns this season and drew praise from Tedford earlier this week.

"Demetrius and Colvin are both very tall, very fast, athletic, rangy guys that can really get down the field and catch the football," Tedford said of the two Oregon receivers. "Not only can they get down the field and catch it, after they catch it, they can run with it. They are two of the most talented receivers in our conference. They definitely cause some concern."

Senior Terrence Whitehead is Oregon's leading rusher with 388 yards on 99 rushing attempts. Last year, Whitehead rushed for over a 1,000 yards but this season with the change in the style of offense the Ducks use, he has not carried the ball as much. Three sensational freshmen, Jonathan Stewart, Jeremiah Johnson and Terrell Jackson back him up. The Ducks may run the ball more against Cal depending on weather conditions.

Oregon's defense is led by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Ngata was ill this week and missed at least one practice. Bellotti told the Eugene Register-Guard on Thursday that Ngata is expect to play against Cal.

Along with Tedford, several of the California coaches have ties to the University of Oregon. Cal's defensive coordinator Bob Gregory was the Oregon defensive backs coach (1998-2000). Bears' running backs coach Ron Gould played for the Ducks in 1988 as did linebacker coach Justin Wilcox (1994-99) and recruiting assistant Kevin Parker (1994-99). Cal's director of football operations, Mike McHugh held the same position with the Ducks in 1999 and 2000. Cal equipment manager Ed Garland spent 16 years on the Oregon equipment staff and Cal sideline reporter Todd McKim spent many years as the Ducks television play-by-play announcer.

The weather for Saturday's game is predicted to be 100 percent chance of rain.

Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ABC with Keith Jackson and Dan Fouts announcing the action. The Oregon Sports Network will also carry the game on the radio with Jerry Allen, Mike Jorgensen and Bobby DeBisschop. The game will be replayed by OSN on Comcast 14 at 11 p.m. Saturday night, KEZI (Eugene), KDRV (Medford) and KDKF (Klamath Falls) at 11:30 p.m. Joe Giansante and Anthony Newman will have the call on OSN television.

eDuck Top Stories