Pasadena, CA – A Bruin team desperate for a win came out and played desperation football Saturday at the Rose Bowl. UCLA ended its 6-game losing streak to Oregon with a 31-14 victory over the Ducks.
If UCLA wanted to keep alive any possibility of playing in a bowl game at the end of the season, a loss to Oregon wasn’t going to suffice.
In a season where UCLA’s defense hasn’t given QB Josh Rosen much of an opportunity to play with a modest lead, the Bruins jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Both UCLA’s offense and defense took a step down in the 2nd quarter. Oregon shortened the Bruins lead to 7 on a 7-yard touchdown run by Oregon QB Braxton Burmeister. Burmeister would reach the end zone once again in the quarter, this time from 4-yards on a read-option.
UCLA’s offense fell out of rhythm after its first two drives and failed to get points on the board in the 2nd quarter to send both teams into the half tied at 14.
An Achilles heel for the UCLA defense the entire campaign has been allowing teams to convert on third and long situations. In the first, a couple of penalties on third down for the Bruins prolonged multiplied drives for the Ducks.
In the second half, UCLA’s defense forced Oregon into several third and long situations and much to head coach Jim Mora’s pleasure, they were able to get off the field.
“We performed really well today,” said safety Adarius Pickett, “It’s extremely important to get any turnover.”
Mora has been vocal about not having enough takeaways on the defensive end. In the first half, UCLA was able to cash in on a fumble recovery to give the team an early 7-0 lead. In the second, although they weren’t able to take advantage, UCLA’s defense gave its offense another extra possession when they picked off Burmeister in the third quarter.
UCLA added to their 17-14 lead in the 3rd quarter on a 40 play 87-yard drive that ended with a spectacular 22-yard touchdown run by Bolu Olorunfunmi. The Bruins added to their lead with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Rosen to Darren Andrews in the fourth quarter. UCLA held the Ducks scoreless in the second half.
Rosen finished the game 21 of 36 for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns. Walk-on WR Christian Pabico had himself a coming out party and lead the team with 99 yard receiving and 1 touchdown on 4 catches.
“We had some guys step up and do a tremendous job,” said coach Jim Mora, “That’s what it takes, takes a team banding together.”
UCLA will travel to Washington next week to take on the Huskies Stadium.