Oregon's center caught a pass on Saturday. Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled the ball on a play-action read, but it bounced right back into his hands and he waltzed into the end zone. The Ducks didn't turn the ball over and didn't do much wrong.
Meanwhile, UCLA missed a field goal, was penalized seven times for 81 yards and turned the ball over twice.
Oregon didn't just win this game handily, the Ducks dominated UCLA in a 42-30 win at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are almost certainly out of the College Football Playoff picture, and looked like nothing more than a middling Pac-12 Conference team on Saturday.
The game was out of hand in the middle of the third quarter, and the Ducks slowed down the fourth quarter instead of trying to score more than 50 points. UCLA was down 32 points to start the fourth quarter, but continued to score against a defense that was rotating in backups and playing with a lack of intensity.
Predictably, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota had a field day against a UCLA defense that continues to struggle against any offensive player with speed. He finished 17-of-27 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns as well as added 75 yards rushing and two more scores.
The Bruin defense gave up 468 yards, and it got to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. In the second quarter, he got into a shouting match with Coach Jim Mora in front of many players. At one point, he handed his play calling sheet over to the head coach, as if to tell him to call his own plays.
On offense, UCLA relied on Brett Hundley, Paul Perkins and not much else. Jordan Payton did catch two touchdown passes, but they both came when the game was out of reach. Officially, the team gave up just two sacks, but the quarterback was hit at the line of scrimmage at least three times on plays that were counted as rushing attempts.
Speaking of rushing, Hundley set a career-high with 22 carries. Again, that number is inflated because of how many sacks were counted as "rushing attempts," but it still shows a look into the Bruins' offensive gameplan. Hundley scrambled, but also took the ball on designed read-option plays. The redshirt junior completed 26 passes for 216 yards but, again, most of that came in the fourth quarter.
As always, he was helped out by Perkins, the Bruin workhorse. He ran for 190 yards, and was really the only Bruin beside Hundley to do anything positive on offense.
Essentially, UCLA was beat in every aspect of the game, from offense to defense, from special teams to turnovers, and from coaching to discipline. This was a bad, bad loss. Tough to see where this team goes from here.
Oregon 42, UCLA 30, (2:47 left in the fourth quarter)
Kai'imi Fairbairn might be struggling to make a field goal, but he placed a nice onside kick there to give the Bruins the ball back with a touch over four minutes left in the game.
Then, Brett Hundley found Jordan Payton in the back of the end zone for another touchdown, which makes this a 12 points game after the faild two-point conversion.
I can't stress this enough: This was not a 12-point game.
Oregon 42, UCLA 24, (4:21 left in the fourth quarter)
After an Oregon punt, UCLA put on a nice drive down the field and scored its second touchdown of the half. Nate Starks picked up the score on a nine-yard run.
From a beat writer's point of view, the worst part about UCLA scoring is that it now gives this team a crutch to lean on in interviews over the next week. The final result isn't going to be nearly as bad as the actual game was. The Bruins were never close to winning this, even if the final difference was only 18 points.
Oregon 42, UCLA 18,
Paul Perkins is going to be lost in the result of this game, but he's really running the ball well. He's up to 185 rushing yards on the day, and brought UCLA all of the way down the field. The Bruins scored on a nice pass from Brett Hundley to Jordan Payton, but this is going to be too little too late.
Also, the stadium is looking very empty. Very sad and very empty. Myles Jack converted the two point coversion, so it's now a 24 point game.
Oregon 42, UCLA 10, (14:19 left in the fourth quarter)
UCLA had a play on this drive where it missed four tackles in one play. Four tackles. That's not what you would call "good."
Oregon got into the red zone again, and this time the Ducks scored. It's now a 32 point game. Time to pack the bags up and head home.
Another UCLA drive, another UCLA punt. There's not much else to say about this offense right now. They look deflated, beat, and negative. Basically, they just look flat out bad.
Down to UCLA's 2-yard line, Oregon was faced with its first third down play of the half. They failed to convert, and also failed the fourth down conversion. So, technically a stop for the UCLA defense, although they also gave up more than 70 yards of offense.
Down 25 points, the UCLA offense went 17 yards in five plays and then was forced to punt. There are five minutes left in the third quarter. I feel confident in saying this game is over if the Ducks score again on this drive.
Oregon 35, UCLA 10 (7:59 left in the third quarter)
A bad interception from Brett Hundley might put this game out of reach. Former walk-on wide reciever Logan Sweet slipped on the play, and Hundley telegraphed the pass all the way.
With perfect field position, Oregon needed just two plays to go 10 yards and score its fifth touchdown of the game.
The Ducks have now scored two touchdowns in the last 67 secons of game action. Not exactly what you want if you're a Bruin.
Oregon 28, UCLA 10 (9:06 left in the third quarter)
Oregon is making offense look easy. That drive was just a casual, nonchalant, 10 play, 80 yard gutting that took less than three minutes to complete.
The score came on a zone-option read from quarterback Marcus Mariota, who fumbled the ball after faking the handoff, but picked it up perfectly off the bounce and got into the end zone untouched.
UCLA is going to need a stop sooner or later, you'd have to think.
One of the big bright spots of this UCLA offense had been its ability to convert on third down. They are 9-of-13 so far this game, but couldn't come up with a short conversion back in their own side of the field. Afer six plays, Oregon is going to get the ball back with a chance to improve its 11 point lead.
UCLA announced that there are 13,500 students at the game. That's the biggest student turnout the Bruins have had since they first started selling tickets to students in 1984.
Oregon 21, UCLA 10 (halftime)
Here's a longer look at the fight that Coach Jim Mora and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich got into.
Mora is standing on the sideline with his hands on his hips, seething. He is not pleased.
In terms of what's happening on the actual field, Brett Hundley continues to scramble more than he has in any game this season. He's ran 12 times for 68 yards already in this game.
But on second down on the Duck 28 yard line, Hundley overthrew a wide-open Devin Lucien in the end zone with the first half coming to a close. On third down, he threw a nice pass in the flat to Eldridge Massington, who ran towards the sideline to stop the clock. Massington was called short, but was given the fresh set of downs after review.
The next play, Hundley threw a pass that should have been intercepted but was dropped. The next pass was caught out of bounds, and on third down, Hundley ran a beautiful quarterback draw to score with three econds left in the first half. That was huge. The Bruins get the ball back in the second half, and really needed a score here to stay in the game. Really, really big play there from Hundley.
Oregon 21, UCLA 3 (3:01 left in the second quarter)
This is getting out of hand. Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense needed just 3 minutes and nine plays to go 77 yards and get its third touchdown of the game. The scoring play was a pass from Mariota to Pharoah Brown, and Myles Jack was completely burned on the play.
The Ducks missed the PAT, which at least regulates the score a bit.
Has anyone seen the video of defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and Coach Jim Mora going at it on the sidelines? Hard to see these things while live blogging from press box, but it looked pretty harsh.
EDIT: Here's the video that shows the two fighting on the sideline.
UCLA needed a touchdown here, and the Bruins got stuffed on third down. Instead of handing the ball off to Paul Perkins, who has nine carries for 62 yards, or even to battering ram Myles Jack, the Bruins handed the ball off to unproven Nate Starks.
Then, Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 41-yard field goal. The Bruins got nothing on the drive, and are digging themselves into a dangerous hole here.
On a side note, this Rose Bowl is getting close to full. Beat reporter Chris Foster, who has been covering the team for 8 seasons, has never seen this stadium so full of blue. The USC games are crowded, but not full of this many blue shirts. It's packed here.
Oregon 15, UCLA 3 (9:24 left in the second quarter)
Another big penalty on the Bruins kept this Oregon drive alive. Marcus Mariota threw an incomplete pass on third down, but a holding penalty on Ishmael Adams gave the Ducks a fresh set of downs.
Then, Eddie Vanderdoes got called for a personal foul after throwing what looked to be a punch. It was called for late contact penalty, but Vanderdoes is lucky he wasn't ejected. Through less than two quarters, the Bruins have been called for five penalties totaling 59 yards. Three of those are personal foul penalties.
On third down, deep in their own zone, the Bruin defense was so confused that Coach Jim Mora was forced to call a timeout. After the break, the Ducks had enough time to draw up a perfect screen pass to running back Thomas Tyner.
The 72-yard drive would have been stopped short if not for all the Bruin penalties. Again, mistakes like that will cost you against the Ducks.
Oregon 8, UCLA 3 (12:04 left in the second quarter)
Even with the fumble, Brett Hundley looks good. I promise. He looks more aware of the defense than he did last week, and is scrambling like someone who doesn't want to be sacked 10 times again. He converted two big third-down conversions on short passes, and drove the Bruins all the way down the field.
UCLA continued their trickery, calling a play that saw wide receiver Devin Fuller throw a pass to Hundley. The Bruins then handed the ball off on three consecutive plays to Myles Jack, who doesn't know where the play is going but runs about as hard as a running back can run.
Inside the red zone, UCLA needed to convert yet another third down, and just missed a touchdown. Fuller was wide open in the flat, and Hundley underthrow him, plain and simple. The ball seemed to be tipped at the line of scrimmage, but it would have ben an easy touchdown if the ball was a foot higher off the ground.
The Bruins scored on a 20-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn, which is fine, but it's going to be tough to beat Oregon and leave points on the board. A 17 play drive needs to end in a touchdown.
Oregon 8, UCLA 0 (4:47 left in the first quarter)
Marcus Mariota needed only one play to capitalize on the good field position, running a sweep down the sideline for the first score of the game. The Ducks then ran an option with their third-string quarterback and kicker, which actually worked. Just like that, Oregon is on the board.
Speaking of guys who came to play, Brett Hundley is looking good. He aired out a deep throw to Jordan Payton that was incomplete, but on point, and then scrambled for a first down.
And, the second I finished typing that, Hundley was rocked on a nickel blitz and fumbled the ball. He never even saw the defender coming. The play lost 24 yards, and Oregon gets the ball on UCLA's 13-yard line.
Myles Jack came to play. He finished that drive with three straight tackles and is fired up.
Well, that was a weird drive. Oregon looked confused and sluggish, and then on third down, Marcus Mariota threw a pass that hit off the helmet of reciever Darren Carrington and was then caught by an offensive lineman. Needless to say, the offensive lineman did not get very far.
So, halfway through the first quarter, we're still locked in a 0-0 tie. Just like we all predicted.
Well, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone came up with a few wrinkles this week. Quarterback Brett Hundley kept the ball on a couple zone read options, running for 26 yards on the drive. The Bruins tried an unsuccessful flea flicker on a second-down play, and then Hundley scrambled on third down. He got close to the marker, but looked to be a couple inches short. Oregon gets good field position after a Bruin block in the back penalty, looking to break this scoreless tie.
For people griping about Oregon not being called for intentional grounding: the pocket extends back to the end zone. There is no limit on the back of the passing pocket. So, when Marcus Mariota threw the ball away, he was technically still in the pocket. Not calling intentional grounding was the correct decision.
Oregon returner Charles Nelson took the ball from five yards deep in the end zone and decided to try and return it. He got to the 15 yard line, so Oregon's drive started off with a poor decision.
That was one of the only poor decisions of the drive, though. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota looked as good as advertised, both on the ground and through the air, and converted a big third down before it was called back due to a holding penalty. Instead of a first down in the red zone, the Ducks were forced to punt. A perfect Oregon punt landed the Bruins at their own three-yard line, which is not exactly where a struggling offensive line wants to be.
UCLA is kicking off, so Oregon is going to start the game with the ball. Let's see what Marcus Mariota and the Duck offense can do against this inconsistent Bruin defense.
Columnist Bill Plaschke says that this is the most UCLA students he's ever seen at game. Usually, one section of students is full, but today, the overflow is extending to at least four sections. All four aren't full, but still, I'm trusting Plaschke on this one.
It's 70 degrees at kickoff. It's the first time this season an outdoor UCLA game has started with weather under 90 degrees. The game in Arlington was cooler, but it was indoors.
Fans might be enjoying their libations in the parking lot a bit too much. With 10 minutes until kickoff, the stands are not anywhere close to full. There are huge chunks of empty seats throughout the stadium, and almost no one in the upper bowl behind the north end zone.
Oregon is getting some help on its offensive line today. Starting left tackle Jake Fisher is going to start ---against the Bruins. He hasn't played since Sept. 13 due to an injured knee, and is a huge addition to a struggling offensive line.
There are 12 NFL scouts in the press box today, including two from the Chicago Bears. I don't usuaully keep track of such things, but I believe this is the most of any game this season.
Unsurprisingly, sophomore guard Alex Redmond is not dressed and going through warmups. He hasn't been going through full practices since hurting his leg two weeks ago against Arizona State, and doesn't appear to be playing today.
The Bruins could have used him, obviously, but also haven't preparing like they were going to have his services this week. Redshirt freshman Kenny Lacy started in place of the former freshman-All American against Utah last Saturday, and it appears he will start again today.
NFL Hall of Fame tackle and former Bruin Jonathan Ogden is here in the Rose Bowl to be an honorary captain. Think he could still play? UCLA sure could use him.
Not to be melodramatic, but if UCLA loses this game, they are entirely out of the College Football Playoff conversation. Same goes for Oregon. The selection committee might forgive one loss in the Pac-12, but two losses is almost certainly an automatic elimination (especially if a school from a non-power conference, like Notre Dame, goes undefeated).
Both of these teams came into the season with national title hopes. Lose today, and those are gone.
And here's a complete look at the Pac-12 standings.
UCLA hasn't played a day game since the first week of the season, back at Charlottesville against Virginia. Remember that game, all the way back in August? The Bruin offense never really got going, while the defense scored three touchdowns but also needed a late fourth quarter stop to secure the win. The game set the table up for the rest of the nonconference slate, three underwhelming wins over mediocre opponents.
Oregon is not a mediocre opponent, and UCLA isn't going to get away with another supbar win. The Bruins are going to have to play like they did against Arizona State, especially on offense. Oregon is built to score. A big deficit is going to be hard to overcome.
Asked if beating Oregon would be a significant hurdle for UCLA, Coach Jim Mora said, "For people to say we haven't won a lot of high-profile games, I would dispute that."
But asked whether beating Oregon and Stanford, the two teams that have dominated the Pac-12 the past five seasons, would be viewed as a big step, Mora admitted, "Beating a team like this, absolutely. I don't think you can deny it at all."