The Oregon Ducks defeated the UCLA Bruins in front of ESPN’s College Gameday and the fourth largest crowd in the history of Autzen stadium, 45-30.
The victory was their 17th in a row at home against a Pac-12 opponent, and their 23rd in a row overall. Today’s sellout attendance was 59,962. Rain was forecast for the game but the intermittent showers were not enough to significantly affect the game outcome.
College Gameday was on hand and Oregon fans, many of whom had been at the Memorial Quad since 3:00 am, demonstrated why they are the best fans on College Gameday. Coach’s pick was never going to be in doubt.
UCLA won the coin toss and deferred. The Ducks started from their own 25 and drove into Bruins territory, but stalled on the UCLA 26, setting up a 44-yard Camden Lewis field goal to enter the board first at 3-0.
UCLA also began from their own 25 and started a methodical, 16-play drive that took 6:38 off the clock. The Bruins reached the Oregon 14 and then shot themselves in the foot when a touchdown pass was called back on a holding penalty. The Bruins then committed a false start and would have to be content with a field goal for their efforts, tying the game at 3-3.
The Ducks started their next drive from their 29, lost a couple of yards, and then Bo Nix took over. From the second drive on, Nix took over the game and showed that not only was he the best quarterback on the field, but is possibly one of the best in the country. On 3rd and 12, Nix scrambled out of the pocket to find Bucky Irving, who turned a catch in open space into a first down.
Oregon used their run game effectively, with Irving and Noah Whittington getting good run yards. With UCLA having to worry about the run attack, Nix used his feet and arm to culminate the drive on a 17-yard TD throw to Terrance Ferguson.
The Bruins again took the ball over on a touchback. UCLA also ran effectively on their next drive, before Dorian Thompson-Robinson cut Oregon’s pass coverage at the knees with a big play that resulted in seven points.
Thus far, the game had been the marquee matchup of the day that it was heralded to be and the Ducks were in a tight contest.
Oregon began their next drive after the touchback by incurring a delay of game penalty, and started from the 20. On any other day with any other team, this would have been the death flag to doom a drive that the Ducks were going to need. The Oregon scriptwriters did not get that memo, however, and Nix and Irving rushed to the UCLA 49 after a quick pass to Kris Hudson. Then came the explosion play that the Bruins must have been dreading – a 49-yard TD blast to Troy Franklin; a beautifully placed long ball that put the Ducks on top again.
Then Oregon did the unexpected. You weren’t expecting it, I was not expecting it, the Autzen crowd was not expecting it, the American People were not expecting it…and Chip Kelly was not expecting it. Lanning pulled Chip Kelly’s 2nd quarter onside kick play on Kelly – but instead of Rob Beard kicking a perfect onside kick and recovering (against Stanford in 2010), this time it was Andrew Boyle with the kick and recovery:
That 2010 kick was a game changer from which Stanford never recovered. Again, the parallels; UCLA would never recover from this onside kick. The Bruins would be suddenly in a 14-point deficit from which they would never escape.
With the ball, Oregon methodically marched down the field, only gaining yards on their running game, which was beginning to have its way with the Bruins defense. Jordan James punched in the touchdown after an odd formation was reset before the snap.
The Bruins faced a tall task and attempted to drive for a touchdown of their own, but they were on their heels. UCLA would move the ball to the Oregon 26 yard line before settling for a field goal, pulling to 24-13.
Oregon started their offensive drive on their 12 yard line with 3:04 left to the half. Irving continued to rack up rushes, and Nix used his feet and perfect passing (he had no incompletions in the 2nd quarter) and ended the drive with a two-yard throw to Franklin with :06 left in the half and go into halftime up 31-13.
UCLA received to start the 2nd half, and once again reached the red zone, only to stall and settle for a field goal.
The Ducks, starting at their 18, then methodically ate up nearly 8 minutes of clock on their third quarter drive. Outside of a a couple of passes, Oregon rushed the ball to the UCLA 17 yard line, where Bo Nix connected with Cam McCormick for another TD pass.
Oregon ended the third quarter up 38-16, and it was clear that UCLA’s undefeated season was coming to an end.
In the garbage time of the fourth quarter, UCLA sustained a drive that ended in a Zach Charbonnet touchdown.
Taking over after a touchback, the Ducks drove to the UCLA 37, where Bo Nix stuck the dagger in the back of the Bruins with his fifth touchdown pass of the day – a 37 yard gem to Bucky Irving.
The Bruins notched another inconsequential touchdown, but the game had been decided and Oregon thoroughly knocked off Chip Kelly’s previously undefeated squad.
Bo Nix had another standout performance, going 22-28 for 283 yards, with 5 TDs and no interceptions. Nix also gashed UCLA for 51 yards on eight carries.
Oregon racked up 268 yards on one of the previously best run defenses in the Pac-12. Bucky Irving lead the way with 107 yards on 19 carries, and Noah Whittington carried the rock 12 times for 73 yards.
Troy Franklin had an outstanding game against the Bruins, with 132 yards on 8 receptions and two touchdowns.
With this top-10 contest behind them, the Oregon Ducks look to take care of business on the road over the next two weekends. Next Saturday they travel to Berkeley to take on California, and then on Nov. 5th they head to Boulder for a game against the Colorado Buffaloes.