Nov. 24, 2007
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -Down to a pair of redshirt freshmen to play quarterback, the once-mighty Oregon Ducks had absolutely no chance against UCLA.
And with that, their hopes of returning to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl game on New Year's Day came to an end.
Freshman Kai Forbath kicked three field goals, including a career-long 54-yarder, and the Bruins took advantage of No. 9 Oregon's plight to hand the Ducks a 16-0 setback Saturday - their first shutout loss in more than 22 years.
Oregon (8-3, 5-3 Pac-10) had been bounced out of the national championship picture Nov. 15, when Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon left in the first quarter of a 34-24 loss at Arizona with a torn knee ligament.
The Ducks lost backup quarterback Brady Leaf late in the first quarter of this game, and young signal-callers Cody Kempt and Justin Roper were unable to generate any offense as Oregon was blanked for the first time since losing 63-0 to Nebraska on Sept. 28, 1985.
The result left No. 11 Southern California (9-2, 6-2) in position to win its sixth straight Pac-10 championship and play in the Rose Bowl with a victory over the Bruins at the Los Angeles Coliseum next week.
Should UCLA upset USC and Arizona top No. 7 Arizona State the same day, the Bruins (6-5, 5-3) would get the Rose Bowl bid.
Oregon entered averaging 40.9 points and 505.8 yards of total offense in its first 10 games, mainly with Dixon at the controls.
The Ducks gained only 148 yards against the Bruins, who snapped a three-game losing streak despite getting only 10 first downs and gaining 220 yards.
Kempt, making his college debut, went 6-for-23 for 52 yards with two interceptions - both of which led to field goals. Forbath kicked his first field goal after Kempt was unable to handle a snap from center.
Roper relieved Kempt late in the third quarter, and was 1-for-5 for 8 yards with one interception before Kempt returned late in the fourth quarter. By that time, it was 16-0 thanks to Craig Sheppard's 20-yard touchdown run with 5:29 to play.
Leaf was 4-of-11 for 45 yards before being injured.
Oregon's Jonathan Stewart, the Pac-10's leading rusher with a 127.3-yard per game average, was held to 33 yards on 13 carries. He has been hampered by a sore right big toe.
Osaar Rasshan played the first half at quarterback for UCLA and was 0-for-7 with one interception. Ben Olson played the second half and was 4-for-10 for 64 yards with one interception. Chris Markey gained 91 yards on 30 carries for the Bruins.