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October 26, 2013
Ducks pull away to stay perfect
EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon can turn a close game into a blowout rather quickly.
Byron Marshall ran for three touchdowns and the No. 3-ranked Ducks turned a 14-14 halftime tie into a 42-14 win over UCLA on Saturday night in a Pac-12 game at Autzen Stadium.
"They were awesome," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "This team is incredible. We knew UCLA was good and they lived up to it. It was back and forth, a heavyweight fight, especially in the first half. Our guys kept playing. The second half was a total team effort."
The Ducks improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference with a win over the 12th-ranked Bruins. Oregon will find out Sunday if its performance was impressive enough to vault them ahead of No. 2 Florida State in the BCS standings.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota was 21-for-28 for 230 yards and a touchdown to boost his Heisman Trophy hopes. He led the Ducks on four second-half touchdown drives.
"The resiliency of the guys around me to step up, the defense did an awesome job," Mariota said. "The coaches told us, one play at a time, and we were able to get into a rhythm and put up points."
Marshall did not start, but ran 19 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns while Thomas Tyner added 77 yards and a touchdown for UO. Josh Huff had six catches for 76 yards as Oregon totaled 555 yards of total offense.
UCLA finished with nearly half that total with 283 yards, including just 94 in the second half.
"I think that was our best defensive half of the season," Oregon defensive lineman Taylor Hart said.
"We can always play better, but I was really excited to not have them score."
Brett Hundley was 13-for-19 with a touchdown pass for UCLA and ran for 72 yards and a score while Paul Perkins added 93 yards on the ground.
Oregon looked ready to move back into the lead by driving to UCLA's 5-yard line in the third quarter, but a bad snap resulted in a fumble that was recovered by UCLA's Anthony Barr.
UCLA was forced to punt on its ensuing drive and the Ducks took over at the Bruins' 49-yard line. Mariota completed a 23-yard pass to Marshall and then Marshall ran 11 yards on the next play for a touchdown that put Oregon ahead 21-14 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Oregon's Avery Patterson intercepted Brett Hundley on UCLA's next drive and the Ducks responded with a touchdown. Mariota threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Bralon Addison with 12:41 left in the game.
Marshall added another touchdown on a 3-yard run with 8:47 left in the game. Thomas Tyner scored on a 2-yard run in the final three minutes.
"We came up here to win this damn game, and we didn't get it done," UCLA coach Jim Mora said.
Oregon turned the ball over on its second play when Keanon Lowe caught a short pass and fumbled as UCLA recovered at Oregon's 38-yard line.
The Bruins used seven plays to drive for a touchdown and finished the possession when Hundley ran 4 yards for a score.
Oregon faced fourth-and-14 at its 26-yard line on its next drive and lined up to punt, but instead, snapped the ball to linebacker Rodney Hardrick, who ran 66 yards to give Oregon a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line. De'Anthony Thomas ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to tie the score with 7:58 left in the first quarter.
UCLA drove to the Oregon 32-yard line late in the first quarter, but Paul Perkins was stopped for no gain to give the ball back to the Ducks.
On third-and-5, Marshall ran 40 yards for his team-leading 10th touchdown of the season to give Oregon its first lead at 14-7 with 13:10 left in the first half.
UCLA's Myles Jack blocked a punt by Alejandro Maldonado and the Bruins recovered at Oregon's 28-yard line. On third-and-6 from the 24-yard line, Hundley scrambled for 7 yards and later threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Duarte to tie the score 14-14 with 1:35 left in the second quarter.
The Ducks drove to UCLA's 20-yard line, but Maldonado missed a 37-yard field goal attempt to end the first half.
NOTES: Thomas returned after missing the past two games with an ankle injury while tackle Jake Fisher returned after missing last week with an unknown injury. ... Oregon did not have a receiver with 500 receiving yards last season but already have had two exceed that milestone this year. Josh Huff had 627 receiving yards through seven games and Bralon Addison had 543. ... UCLA has faced three ranked foes this season, all on the road. The Bruins defeated Nebraska, which was No. 23 at the time, and lost to No. 13 Stanford last week before losing to the Ducks.