One big Pac-12 opponent down, one to go -- with Stanford just around the corner, Oregon took care of business against UCLA. The Bruins did what few have done and kept it close through three, but Oregon did what it usually does, turning on the jets late to turn a relatively close game into a blowout.
The Ducks would answer with a De'Anthony Thomas touchdown run, which was made possible in part by this fake punt:
That would be it for scoring in the first quarter. The teams would trade touchdowns in the second, as well -- Byron Marshall scampered 40 yards for a touchdown to put Oregon up ahead 14-7, only to see an 11 yard touchdown pass from Hundley to Thomas Duarte tie it back up.
Alejandro Maldonado had a chance to give the Ducks a lead going into halftime, but missed a field goal from 37 yards.
UCLA was able to keep it close thanks to a defense that played fantastically for most of the game. Keyed by the the work by UCLA's front three, Anthony Barr, Jordan Zumwalt, Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks were able to run around unimpeded and were very effective early on in containing Oregon's speed on the edges, where the Ducks usually dominate teams. These were their numbers at the half:
UCLA LBs Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Myles Jack & Jordan Zumwalt have combined for 18 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles, 1 blocked punt— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) October 27, 2013
Jack, a true freshman, was perhaps the most impressive, keeping up in space with De'Anthony Thomas on a number of plays, and blocking that punt for good measure. Barr would add a fumble recovery in the second half, snuffing out one Oregon drive that reached deep into UCLA territory and helping to keeping the score at 14-14.
With De'Anthony Thomas sidelined after the half for undisclosed reasons, Byron Marshall filled in capably, as he has in recent weeks -- after several unproductive drives by both teams, the sophomore punched it in from 11 yards out to give the Ducks a 21-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
That was when the game turned.
Oregon safety Avery Patterson picked off Hundley on the first play of the fourth, and Mariota connected with Bralon Addison for an eight-yard touchdown pass that gave the Ducks a lead they would not relinquish. Marshall's third touchdown of the night -- a three yard run with 8:47 to go -- made the final a mere formality.
It's worth mentioning that these two teams could meet again in the Pac-12 Championship Game, though. Oregon just proved to be too much this first time.
Box Score Hero: Marshall's final line was 19 carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Oregon's defense also deserves a mention, as it held the Bruins to just 246 total yards -- 3.4 yards per pass! -- and forced two turnovers.
Rankings Ramifications: The Ducks should move into the 2nd spot in the BCS rankings with this win. With the loss, UCLA will drop a bit, perhaps to the 17-18 range.
But Did They Cover? Oregon opened the game week as 20-point favorites. The line moved up to 23.5 by game time. They covered with the help of Thomas Tyner's fourth quarter touchdown, the final one of the night.
Next Week's Schedule: Oregon has a bye before a huge, Pac-12 North deciding game with Stanford on October 7th. The Bruins will be back hosting Colorado next week.