PASADENA, CA – One of the most exciting moments of Oregon State’s 48-31 Saturday evening victory over UCLA came between drives, roughly six minutes into the first quarter. A baby sporting a UCLA-themed bib appeared on the Rose Bowl jumbotron and gave Bruin fans a much-needed break from first half booing, as Oregon State led by three scores.
Boos are raining down as #UCLA trails Oregon State 21-0 six minutes into the game. #Beavers QB Jake Luton is 4-of-6 for 73 yards & 1 TD. pic.twitter.com/oFKsczx7nm
— Blake Atwell (@blakeonsocial) October 6, 2019
UCLA gave Bruin fans hope, refusing to go down without a fight, but didn’t play enough consistent football. The Bruins leave Week 5 and enter a bye week still without a single home victory, while Oregon State improves to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 competition.
“Part of it is trying to heal up,” UCLA head coach Chip Kelly said. “Who’ll be available for us? We do have some key figures that have been out for a little bit.”
The key figures Kelly referenced include upperclassmen Theo Howard, Quentin Lake, Krys Barnes and Martin Andrus Jr., in addition to freshman Elijah Wade.
Kelly added, “The young guys that are getting opportunities to play because of some of the injuries will have to start capitalizing on that. It’s not, ‘hey, next year is going to be my opportunity,’ because for a lot of these guys their opportunity is now.”
Oregon State entered halftime holding edges in every major offensive category — including total, passing and rushing yards — but UCLA turned the tables in the second half. The Bruins finished with advantages in both total and rushing yards.
“There’s not a magic formula,” Kelly said. “There’s no trade or waiver wire. You don’t get to add players at this point in time. So you’ve got to see what’s available and we’ve got to coach them up and put them in positions to make plays and give them an opportunity to execute. That’s on us as a coaching staff.”
Replacing the injured Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Burton completed 66 percent of his throws for 236 yards and one score.
Kelly said of Burton’s performance, “I thought [Burton], for his first start, did a really nice job. He protected the football, did not put it in harm’s way. He made some really big throws.”
#UCLA quarterback Austin Burton discusses his first start & where the Bruins go from here; 1-5 record with a bye week and then Stanford coming up next. pic.twitter.com/CFXy9l9tot
— Blake Atwell (@blakeonsocial) October 6, 2019
Burton was more critical of his performance.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to winning and losing,” he said. “As a quarterback, especially being the leader of the team, I personally don’t think I got it done.”
Demetric Felton Jr. finished with 111 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
“I just try my best to be ready whenever my number is called,” Felton said. “That’s all I can do and all I can control.”
Joshua Kelley carried the ball 21 times, gaining 74 yards and scoring one touchdown. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Kyle Philips caught one touchdown.
Oregon State redshirt senior quarterback Jake Luton picked apart the UCLA defense, converting 18 of his 26 throws for 285 yards and 6 total touchdowns (5 passing and 1 rushing).
Luton said, “[My performance] was good. It was a lot of fun … I think we’re capable of playing good football, and we’re going to keep rolling.”
Senior running back Artavis Pierce completed the Beavers’ well-balanced offensive attack, rushing for 119 yards and one score on 21 carries. Junior wideout Isaiah Hodgins caught 10 balls and scored three touchdowns, including a 22-yarder to close the third quarter that killed UCLA momentum.
Oregon State continually turned UCLA mishaps into points. A Burton incomplete pass on fourth-and-4 gave the Beavers possession at their own 39. It only took 44 seconds for Luton to strike again, this time to Tyjon Lindsey for a 53-yard score.
Felton kept UCLA alive when the Bruins needed it most, blasting down the left sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.
“We were running an inside zone and there was nobody on the backside, as I could see when I was taking the handoff,” Felton said. “So I hit that hole, made a guy miss and just ran.”
UCLA trailed by 10 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.
Burton and the UCLA offense came out of halftime firing on all cylinders. The Bruins sped 75 yards in 11 plays, a drive capped off by a 30-yard Jaylen Erwin reception and 1-yard Kelley touchdown run. UCLA did so in under five minutes, a mark the Bruin offense couldn’t come close to in the first half.
Much like the end of the first quarter, UCLA left the second quarter with points. Burton found Felton for a crucial 19-yard gain on fourth down and JJ Molson netted a 37-yard field goal to bring the Bruins within 17 at the half.
Luton and the Oregon State offense moved the ball with ease on the game’s first possession. Facing third-and-short, Luton completed a short pass to Kolby Taylor, who broke 45 yards down the right sideline to set up first-and-goal at the UCLA 3-yard line. Two plays later, Luton lobbed a pass to Hodgins in the left corner of the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown. Oregon State took a quick 7-0 lead, doing so in 75 yards over seven plays.
Facing fourth-and-1, UCLA’s Joshua Kelley got dropped by Beavers redshirt junior outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. for a loss of 5 yards. Oregon State capitalized in the UCLA redzone four plays after, as Pierce collected a 5-yard touchdown to put the Beavers ahead by two scores.
But, Oregon State’s early onslaught wasn’t finished yet. Beavers redshirt sophomore defensive back David Morris recovered an Oregon State onside kick and Luton connected with Teagan Quitoriano for a 27-yard TD on the very next play. In the snap of some Beaver fingers, UCLA trailed 21-0.
Burton said, “I just thought about the next play. I wasn’t really thinking, ‘oh, we’re down 21-0 with all of this time.’ I was more just focused on what kind of look we were going to get and how we’re going to attack.”
The Bruins showed signs of that attack mentality to start the second quarter, marching into Beaver territory over 13 plays. Burton collected his first career touchdown pass on a 7-yarder to sophomore Chase Cota, cutting UCLA’s deficit to two scores. Each time the Bruins looked as if things were trending in the right direction, however, Pierce and Luton were there to disrupt.
Pierce dashed right, reversed field and broke down the left sideline for a 53-yard gain. Luton gifted Hodgins his second touchdown reception of the night from 5 yards out, just past the left pylone, and Oregon State led 27-7 nearly midway through the first half after a missed extra point attempt.
Next up: UCLA (1-5 overall) travels to Stanford one week from Thursday (Oct. 17), who beat No. 15 Washington by 10 points Saturday night. Oregon State hosts No. 17 Utah.
Blake Atwell is a multimedia journalist and sophomore at Santa Monica College.