EUGENE, OR—In a battle of the two top teams in the PAC-12 Conference, the No. 9 UCLA Bruins battled Oregon on Saturday, October 22 at Autzen Stadium. As the rain beat down, the No. 10 Oregon Ducks defeated the UCLA Bruins 45-30.
UCLA falls to (6-1) on the season as they struggled to reach the end zone, while allowing Oregon’s dynamic and creative offense to run wild on the Bruins defense.
UCLA was confused by the Ducks run pass option all afternoon which racked up 544 yards of total offense and converted three fourth downs.
Oregon’s offense relentlessly scored on 5 of their 6 possessions, with Ducks Quarterback Bo Nix going 22-of-28 passing for 283 yards and five touchdowns on the gloomy afternoon. Nix outplayed Bruins star Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and displayed grit and heart until the bitter end.
The teams traded field goals in the first quarter of a game. With 75 points scored and nearly 1,000 yards of offense, it’s hard to imagine that the play that would change the momentum would be an onside kick.
Up 17-10, Oregon’s first year Head Coach Dan Lanning called for the surprising gamble in order to steal a possession. The risk paid off as kicker Andrew Boyle dribbled the ball off his foot as it trickled across the wet field. He landed the ball once it went 10 yards to recover the onside kick. The play resulted in the Ducks offense scoring another touchdown, with a score of 31-13 at halftime.
“When you keep an explosive offense like that off the field it slows them down, makes them cold,” Nix said. “We didn’t really look back after that.”
UCLA drove the ball down the field and kept the game close, but stalled in the red zone so the Bruins settled for three Nicholas Barr-Mira field goals. UCLA Running Back Zach Charbonnet was sensational in defeat, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Thompson-Robinson completed 27 of 39 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. While Jake Bobo caught 8 passes for 101 yards and a TD.
It was the Bruins defense that was humbled in the loss. The Bruins defense had averaged 2.5 sacks per game to rank fourth in the Pac-12. Against Oregon, it generated no sacks and hurried Nix only once. UCLA cornerback Devin Kirkwood was beaten on Nix’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Troy Franklin as part of the Ducks’ 28-point second quarter.
Oregon takes sole possession of first place in the PAC-12. UCLA has not defeated the Ducks in Eugene since 2004.
The Bruins will host the Stanford Cardinals on Saturday, October 29 at the Rose Bowl. Bruins fans are not taking this loss in stride, but they should keep in mind that UCLA still controls its own destiny. So the quest for a PAC-12 Championship is still very much alive.