On Saturday October 23, the Oregon Ducks traveled to Pasadena to take on the UCLA Bruins in a PAC12 showdown. Coming into the game Oregon stood at 6-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play, while UCLA came in at 5-2 and 3-1 in conference play. Conference championship implications.
The first quarter was pretty much all UCLA as the Bruins took a 14-0 lead. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the charge, driving straight down the field on the first possession of the game and running back Brittain Brown finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run. Although Thompson-Robinson threw an interception on the Bruins’ second possession, he bounced back to toss a four-yard touchdown strike with 4:08 left in the first quarter to put UCLA up two possessions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it was pretty much all Oregon from that point on.
In the second quarter, UCLA was plagued by sloppiness and self-sabotage, costing themselves points by missing a 35-yard field goal on one possession and losing a fumble in the red zone to end another. Conversely, Oregon shook off their first quarter malaise and evened the score with a 12 play, 80 yard touchdown drive with 5:17 left in the first half.
To start the third quarter, Oregon running back Travis Dye added his third and fourth touchdowns of the game as the Ducks raced to a 27-17 lead. In the fourth quarter, though, UCLA mustered some late momentum, but the damage done in the third quarter was just too much for the Bruins to overcome as Oregon went on to win 34-31.
Over the course of the game, each team turned the ball over three times, however two of the Bruins turnovers came at the absolute worst times. After halftime they gave up a touchdown to Oregon, then fumbled on their next possession. As they were mounting their comeback, Thompson-Robinson threw an interception that essentially ended the game.
Dye was in beast mode as he ended the game a ridiculous four touchdowns. Similarly, All-American pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux proved why he’s the best defensive player in the country, finishing the game with 8 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Thanks to Thibodeaux, Oregon’s defensive line controlled the trenches, holding the Bruins to a paltry 2.4 yards per carry.
Oregon hasn’t been perfect at all this season, but they continue to win the games they need to win, after an uncharacteristic loss to Stanford earlier in the season. Oregon remains in the thick of things as they still have a great chance to run the table and make the playoffs. Next up for Oregon: a home date against the 2-5 Colorado Buffalo next Saturday at 3:30.
UCLA is now 5-3 and their chances of playing for the Pac-12 championship have all but evaporated after this loss. However their chances of playing in a solid bowl game remains high, if they can continue to put some good wins together. UCLA travels to Utah to face the Utes in another conference game.