Let's get this out of the way: the Oregon offense was exceptional against a very good UCLA defense in the second half Saturday night.
But the key to Oregon's 42-14 victory? The Duck defense.
After the game entered halftime tied at 14-14, the Oregon defense suffocated Brett Hundley and the UCLA offense, holding the Bruins to just 47 total yards in the second half.
That was plenty of breathing room for the Oregon offense.
After a punt and a fumble to open up the second half, Oregon scored four straight touchdowns to the end the game. Given how the defense performed, the first score was game over, but the dagger came when Marcus Mariota found Bralon Addison for his only passing touchdown of the night to push the lead to 28-14.
This won't be a game that will be considered heavily when weighing Mariota's Heisman stats. In a season of ridiculous statlines, Mariota finished 21-28 through the air for 230 yards and that one touchdown and ran seven times for 18 yards.
The star of the Oregon show was Byron Marshall, who ran 19 times for 133 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. While you wouldn't have guessed it looking at Mariota's statline, but the Oregon offense tallied 555 yards, including 325 on the ground.
Over the month of October, a ton of attention has been given to the Alabama defense after its dominating performances in an offense-happy SEC. And while you can nitpick Alabama's schedule, it's well-deserved. But as Saturday showed, don't let the greatness of of the Oregon offense let you overlook how good the Ducks' defense is too.
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