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Ducks Lose, Heading Downhill as Civil War Approaches

A little over a week since losing Dennis Dixon to a knee injury, three Duck quarterbacks threw a pass in Oregon's 16-0 shutout loss at UCLA.

Brady Leaf, Dixon's backup for most of the year and Oregon's #2 quarterback, left the game in the final minute of the first quarter with an ankle injury. He came into the game with one ankle sore, and left with the opposite ankle in a boot. Brady was 4 of 11 passing for 45 yards. Former third string quarterback Nathan Costa went down a few weeks ago in practice, so Cody Kepmt, the freshman from Beaverton (the pride of Westview High School) came in as Brady Leaf's replacement. Kempt was 6 for 23 passing on the day, but also had some problems with injuries. He left late in the third quarter, prompting the Ducks to turn to their bench once again. This time it was Justin Roper, the 6-6 freshman from Georgia who got to play. He only threw five passes and completed one.

Jeff Lewis/ AP Photo (via ESPN)

So let's take a look at the Duck QB's:

  1. Dennis Dixon (knee)
  2. Brady Leaf (both ankles)
  3. Nathan Costa (knee)
  4. Cody Kempt (roughed up, above)
  5. Justin Roper

Roper was the last line of defense for the Ducks when Kempt left the game. If he were to get hurt, Mike Belloti might have told Dennis Dixon to go find a brace, put some pads on, and get in the game.

The 16-0 loss puts the Ducks out of the Rose Bowl picture, and will severely drop them in the Top 25. They even may be underdogs for the Civil War.

The Civil War now hinges on whether or not Yvenson Bernard can get healthy in time for Saturday's game. Recovering from the arthroscopic surgery is one thing, but being ready to strap on pads and run between the tackles is completely different.

However, I still believe the Beavers can win the Civil War without Yvenson. As much as he would help, I'm confident that some combination of Matthew Sieverson, Clinton Polk, and James Rodgers can give the Beavers the yards they need to beat the Ducks. Add in either Lyle Moevao or Sean Canfield throwing to our improving receivers, and we should be in good shape. I think we know we can handle the Duck offense with our tenacious D, but getting yards ourselves could be a problem.

However, this game isn't going to be played on neutral turf like the showdown between Missouri and Kansas earlier tonight. It's going to be at Autzen, in front of 54 thousand Ducks fans, with the occasional Beaver. The home team has won the Civil War for the last ten-ish years, so the Beavers will have that monkey to get off their backs.

Who would have thought three weeks ago that the Beavers would be coming out of the tunnel at Autzen actually feeling good about their chances.

Of course, tons more Ducks/Beavers talk coming during the week.