Playing their first-ever game as a #1 ranked team, the Oregon Ducks were as stunning as their neon uniforms in a 60-13 demolition of UCLA Thursday night before a raucous crowd at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10) amassed 582 total yards — 15 more than their season average, as five different players scored. Quarterback Darron Thomas threw for a career high 308 yards with three touchdown passes, while Heisman Trophy candidate running back LaMichael James ran for 123 yards and two TDs. Receiver Jeff Maehl caught eight passes for 107 yards and a score, and even backup tailback Remene Alston, Jr. ran for 75 yards and three touchdowns.
The Ducks, who are No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, are celebrating their first top ranking in school history, and improved to 7-0 for the first time since starting 8-0 in 1933.
UCLA (3-4, 1-3) totaled just 290 yards and was overmatched by Oregon’s speed and depth. “Obviously the game got out of hand,” said UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel. “We’ve got some serious work to do in rebuilding our program, getting back to where we can be a good football team, one that can compete successfully in this conference and we’re going to start it as quickly as possible because obviously this isn’t good enough.”
Bruins QB Richard Brehaut threw for 159 yards on 16-of-23 passing with an interception and ran for the Bruins’ lone touchdown in the fourth quarter, long after the game was decided.
“Our receivers made some amazing catches today,” Thomas said. “The key was that the offensive line did a tremendous job blocking for the running game and giving me time to make the proper reads.”
The Ducks struck early, scoring on all of their first-half possessions to take a 32-3 lead at halftime. Things got no better for UCLA in the third quarter, with two more Oregon touchdown drives sandwiched around a Bruin field goal for a 46-6 advantage. The Duck backups continued to pile on in the fourth, scoring twice more for a 60-6 lead before Brehaut’s six-yard plunge in the closing minutes.
The Ducks, who were #2 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings last week, will travel to USC next Saturday, while the Bruins will host Arizona.