Players to Watch: As offense struggles, field goals could play a big role
Aidan Schneider / Kicker / Oregon
Schneider, the kicker from Grant High School in Portland, Oregon, could potentially play a large role against UCLA. As the Oregon passing offense continues to struggle without quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks must score points in a different way. If the Ducks can get the ball downfield enough, Schneider, who is the most accurate kicker in Oregon history, may have the chance to prove his accuracy. He has made 2-of-3 field goals so far this season, with a long of 42 yards. Oregon will need every point it can get against a UCLA team that needs this win just as much as the Ducks, and Schneider may be the guy to make the difference.
Josh Rosen / Quarterback / UCLA
Bruin quarterback Josh Rosen has been the starter since he was a freshman, but a shoulder injury sidelined him for much of the last season. The junior returned this year and leads the Pac-12 in passing yards per game with an average of 392.3 and is third in passing efficiency. Rosen has led his offense to score a lot of points, but the UCLA defense hasn’t been able to keep up. The Bruins currently sit at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play. You can expect a big game from Rosen against the Ducks as he attempts to lead his team to their second Pac-12 win and increase his diminishing odds of a Heisman.
Thomas Graham Jr. / Cornerback / Oregon
It’s been the storyline since Herbert got hurt: The Oregon defense must step up, and they have, considering the injuries and freshmen getting significant minutes. One of those freshmen is Thomas Graham Jr., the Rancho Cucamonga, California, native. He’s done well in the secondary for the Ducks, but must be at the top of his game to stop Rosen’s high-powered passing game. The Bruins are second in the Pac-12 to Arizona in scoring offense, with an average of 39.5 points per game, and they lead the conference in total offense, averaging 527.2 yards per game. In addition, they are ranked second in passing efficiency. This is a chance for the freshman to show what he’s made of.
Jordan Lasley / Wide Receiver / UCLA
A great wide receiver usually comes with every elite quarterback. Lasley and Rosen have found their rhythm, connecting for three touchdowns and over 500 yards so far this season. Lasley also leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game, averaging 108.6 yards. Rosen has been unstoppable and Lasley has been his favorite target. It will be up to the Oregon defensive line to pressure Rosen and the Oregon secondary to keep Lasley from making big plays.
Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @kyleethemightee
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.