UCLA snapped their 4 game losing streak Saturday night with an ugly 38-24 win at the Rose Bowl over Oregon State, in a game that “featured” 21 accepted penalties, only some of which were bogus, 12 of which were on the Beavers, and a half dozen turnovers, 2 of which were pick-6s.
Oregon State fans fantasizing about pulling off the upset, never mind covering the game’s double digit spread, got their hopes up early, when Manase Hungalu scooped up Soso Jamabo’s fumble on the second play of the game, and took it back to the UCLA 4 yard line. 2 plays later, Artavis Pierce, making his first collegiate start in place of Ryan Nall, who was a pregame scratch, punched it in for a 7-0 lead not a minute and a half into the game.
Those hopes were quickly dashed, as UCLA proceeded to drive the field for a game tieing touchdown by Bolu Olorunfunmi, then capitalized on a Jordan Villamin fumble to take the lead on Jalen Starks’ score, and capped off the quarter by blocking a Nick Porebski punt, which Jordan Lasley took 53 yards the other way for another touchdown.
That made it 21-7 UCLA, and the Bruins kept the Beavers at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Oregon State got back within 7 points after another Pierce touchdown, set up by a 39 yard punt return by Rahmel Dockery, on a nifty deception play where the UCLA punt coverage didn’t know where the punt had gone, and mostly fell for Victor Bolden’s nifty fake return.
However another fumble, this time by Marcus McMaryion, cost the Beavers a chance to get closer, and bad clock management allowed the Bruins to extend the lead to 10 points at halftime on JJ Molson’s 49 yard field goal 11 seconds before the break.
Oregon State got within 3 points midway in the 3rd quarter when Lasley dropped the ball and Hungalu scooped that up, and this time got all the way to the end zone, above (AP Photo).
But a bogus targeting call on Jalen Moore, which will cost Moore the first half of next week’s game against Arizona, and a face mask penalty that wasn’t, facilitated a 4 yard touchdown run by Starks that rebuilt the lead to 31-21.
The Beavers had a chance to again get within 3 points after McMaryion hooked up with Timmy Hernandez for a 25 yard completion down to the Bruin 3 yard line, but Oregon State was unable to push the ball in, and had to settle for Jordan Choukair’s first career field goal, making it 31-24 UCLA heading to the 4th quarter.
Hungalu was the defensive player of the game, and kept the Beavers in the game with an interception in the end zone, after the Bruins had driven to the OSU 1 yard line. But after a 37 yard return, Oregon State went 3 and punt.
The Beavers got the ball back with over 5 minutes left, down only 1 score, but hadn’t come close to crossing midfield after burning off 3 minutes, when McMaryion threw a pick 6 to Randall Goforth that sealed the win for the Bruins.
Fittingly, Oregon State barely crossed mid-field with their last possession, only to turn the ball over on downs after McMaryion was sacked.
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Keven McGiven’s play calling was abysmal, particularly in the second half, where multiple drives stalled after 3rd down calls that worked still fell short of a first down.
The penalty total was as high as it was in part because Oregon State never figured out how to get any help with blocking Takkarist McKinley, one of the top defensive linemen in the country. On multiple occasions, Sean Harlow had to take a penalty to keep McMaryion from potentially getting obliterated.
The red-zone failures squandered any chance of the Beavers pulling out the upset win.
McMaryion actually had a decent night exclusive of the fumble and the pick-6, completing 22 of 33 passes, for 232 yards. It was a good enough performance that the plan Head Coach Gary Andersen had announced to have McMaryion split time with Conor Blount never materialized.
But McMaryion’s -18 rushing yards, due to sacks, limited Oregon State to just 75 net yards on the ground, 73 by Pierce, the game’s leading rusher, on 18 carries.
Hernandez wound up as Oregon State’s leading rusher, with 65 yards on 5 catches, while Bolden had only 51 yards on his 5 catches. Seth Collins had a 38 yard catch, but only one other reception, and an incompletion, but no carries, as McGiven continues to have no idea how to get Collins consistently involved in the offense.
Lasley led all receivers, with 105 yards on 5 catches for the Bruins.
UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul only completed 25 of 47 passes, as the Beavers managed some good pass breakups, though numerous drops by multiple Bruin receivers were also a part of that. Fafaul did throw for 281 yards.
Most concerning for Oregon State was that UCLA, which can’t run the ball, ran the ball on the Beavers for 163 yards, with Olorunfunmi accounting for 65 of them, on just 8 carries.
Also of concern, LB Adam Soseman was knocked out of the game with concussion symptoms early in the game, leaving the Beavers very thin at outside linebacker, with Bright Ugwoegbu already missing with an ankle injury.
Oregon State dropped to 2-8 for the season, and 1-6 in the Pac-12, while UCLA improved to 4-6, keeping the Bruins’ bowl hopes alive, and 2-5 in conference.
It was the Beavers’ 13th consecutive road loss, all but one by double digits.
(Image by Andy Wooldridge)