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Kayvon Thibodeaux status: Can Ducks star defensive end play vs. Cal?

The star of the Ducks defense picked up a targeting call against Stanford two weeks ago that will have an impact on Friday at Cal.

Oregon Ducks defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux rushes the quarterback during a college football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal on October 2, 2021, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 9 Oregon Ducks have a huge challenge in keeping their Pac-12 title hopes alive as they head to the Cal Golden Bears on Friday night in Berkeley.

This hit from Thibodeaux against Stanford on October 2nd is why he’ll be sitting out the first half against the Golden Bears on Saturday night.

We’ve certainly seen worse targeting calls, but the blow to the head of the quarterback was enough to put him on the bench until intermission. This season Thibodeaux has just eight tackles, two for loss, and one sack. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a more impactful edge rusher anywhere in college football.

The loss to Stanford was the projected NFL first round pick’s first game back fully healthy after suffering an ankle sprain against Fresno State on September 4th. He did not play against Ohio State in the Ducks 35-28 upset win in Columbus in Week 2.

And he returns just in time, as star Oregon running back CJ Verdell is now out for the season, as is starting safety Bennett Williams. Both players suffered season-ending leg injuries, and are impact players that will be missed Friday night.

The Ducks are 13.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook with the over/under set at 54. The game can be seen at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.