In Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, two potential top five picks in the 2014 NFL Draft will be on the field playing against one another.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is picking up steam and has a chance to be a high pick if he declares for the draft, while he will be chased down by another top five talent, UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr.
The Ducks are heavy favorites in the game, but both sidelines will be littered with NFL talent. Here are some of the best prospects to watch for on Saturday night.
UCLA at Oregon, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
When Oregon has the football
Marcus Mariota keeps the Oregon offense moving fast with quick reads and short passing. He's considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country due to his size and arm strength, but it's his athleticism that sets him apart. He throws well on the run and can make plays on his own when scrambling out of the pocket. Wide receiver Josh Huff figures to be one of Mariota's top targets.
UCLA will counter Mariota with pass rushing linebacker Anthony Barr, who has performed well when asked to play contain this season. He's a length athlete with the ability to bend the corner and get after the quarterback, but he also has the strength to anchor and set the edge in the running game. How the Bruins deploy him will have a big impact on the outcome of this game. UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh could also prove to be a major factor in slowing down Mariota.
As one might expect with one of the nation's most prolific offenses, Mariota doesn't do things on his own. Running back/wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas is one of the most electric playmaker's in all of college football. He's returning from injury for this game, which won't make things any easier for UCLA. Luckily, the Bruins front-seven is deep. In addition to Barr and Marsh, Jordan Zumwalt, and Seali'i Epenesa should provide the Ducks with a solid challenge in the running game.
When UCLA has the football
Another redshirt sophomore quarterback that has made a name for himself in 2013 is UCLA's Brett Hundley. Hundley's season has been more up-and-down than Mariota's. The Bruins' offensive line has dealt with some injuries, and Hundley has struggled to get into a rhythm at times. On Saturday, the injuries will force guard Xavier Su'a-Filo to play left tackle. He has the athleticism to play over there, which is part of what makes him a coveted guard prospect, but the UCLA line is not in good shape outside of the junior standout.
Hundley will rely on senior wide receiver Shaq Evans in the passing game, but that may not be easy with Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu draped all over him. Cornerback Avery Patterson will be just as tough on the otherside of Ekpre-Olomu. The Ducks will also bring plenty of pressure in Hundley's face. Defensive tackles Taylor Hart and Made Keliikipi could wreak havoc on the interior of the UCLA offensive line. Another player to watch out for on Oregon's defense is inside linebacker Boseko Lokombo, who has filled Kiko Alonso's shoes nicely this season.
Question of the day
How will Hundley hold up under pressure?
The Oregon defense is going to be able to get into the backfield on Saturday night. To this point, Hundley has shown an ability to manipulate the pocket and buy himself time while keeping his eyes down field. The pressure he's going to face on Saturday may be too much to handle, though.