The Oregon Ducks got a much needed pick me up win with a 42-30 victory against the sliding UCLA behind a big performance from Marcus Mariota, while USC are back in business when it comes to the Pac-12 South, beating the no-longer undefeated Arizona Wildcats 28-26 thanks to a huge day from running back Javorius Allen.
Oregon needed something to bounce them back from a home loss to Arizona, and it came in the form of beating UCLA inside the Rose Bowl, a game Oregon won’t mind reaching this season (although they’re also hoping for a bit more) after being absent these last two years. Every time another unexpected loss comes and blindsides them, hurting their hopes of a national champions and even winning the conference.
For UCLA, this seems to be another year of falling apart when the season gets tough. After a promising start and doing well even when Brett Hundley isn’t playing, comes a second consecutive home loss. Oregon led by 32 points in the fourth quarter before easing back and letting the Bruins earn some meaningless respect. UCLA turned the ball over twice, including one interceptions by Hundley, and weren’t able to keep up with the Oregon offense.
Mariota threw for 210 yards and two touchdown passes but ran for 75 more and scored two more touchdowns. UCLA actually put up more than 550 yards of offense, outgaining Oregon, but it was quite clear most of those yards had garbage time written all over them. Things are still wide open for them in the South division, but it seems that nothing changes, year after year: When the big boys of the conference come to play UCLA, the Bruins fold.
For USC, this season was another year of forgetting about how bad of a coach Lane Kiffin was, although something about scholarship restrictions didn’t really help the easily-criticized coach, now a coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama. After the win over Stanford some thought this is the year the Trojans will be back (although last year, at 10-4, wasn’t too bad after all), but then came losses at Boston College and a close one at home to Arizona State.
This 28-26 win over Arizona, knocking the Wildcats off their undefeated perch, was achieved mostly due to excellent defense through the first three quarters of the game and a huge performance from Javorius Allen, running for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including one for 34 yards and another for 48 yards, while showing the ability to break goalline stands and do it with muscle and not just blinding speed.
Anu Solomon put on big numbers in the passing game and Arizona actually won the turnover battle and outgained their rivals, but couldn’t make the right plays at the right time. Their two touchdowns in the fourth quarter narrowed the lead down to two points, but Casey Skowron missed a 36-yard field goal after the team recovered their onside kick and USC managed to escape with a win.
In terms of declaration of strength, Oregon got the better of it. They weren’t lucky to escape Pasadena with a victory, and dominated for more than three quarters against a team some thought was good enough the College Football playoff, but clearly isn’t at this point. USC remain a flawed team with some very impressive pluses to them, and it still wasn’t enough to leave Tuscon feeling like they actually outplayed Arizona.