The Oregon Ducks defeated the UCLA Bruins, 38-35, utilizing a strong second half to thwart a valiant effort from UCLA backup quarterback Chase Griffin. Despite his best efforts, the Ducks did enough to stay ahead in the second half in their victory.
The Ducks were able to throw for 189 in the second half but were held to just 69 rushing yards in the final two quarters, after they had previously led the nation in average rushing yards in the second half.
In spite of the loss, Griffin absolutely did enough to potentially warrant more playing time, even if incumbent starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is cleared for action next week.
Griffin finished the game completing 19-of-31 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. He did throw two interceptions in the game but the offense continued to hum with Griffin at quarterback despite the turnovers.
The Bruins continued to make it interesting, and were even close to heading into the second half with a lead but an aptly-named Fail Mary pass went for six the other way when Jordan Happle intercepted the first half’s final throw 58 yards the other way. Oregon went to the halftime break up 24-21 instead of UCLA leading 21-17.
It was an exciting back-and-forth effort for the most part even if the game seemed to be out of reach at times for UCLA. The Bruins turned it over four times in the end, yet ultimately outgained the Ducks on offense, 462-422.
While their rush defense may have stymied the Ducks potent rushing attack, UCLA allowed Oregon QB Tyler Shough to throw for 334 yards on 19-30 passing with three touchdowns.
Impressive moments did come for UCLA, though, as Demetric Felton, fresh off a Senior Bowl invitation, finished the game with 167 yards on 34 carries, both career-highs. Duke transfer Brittain Brown punched in a score in the third quarter and finished the game with 53 yards on nine carries himself.
Overall, the game felt much different than Week 1 against Colorado, and did feel more like the team that showed up versus Cal a week ago. Honestly, it felt as if the Bruins have truly played just two quarters of below-average football this year, and both of those were played in the first half against Colorado.
There have been a pretty solid 10 quarters of football since that Colorado first half, sure though, marred with some tough mistakes which have ultimately led to the 1-2 record.
We’ll see if the Bruins can put together a few more good quarters of football when they’re back in action against Arizona next Saturday.