In any other year, that would be a good thing. However, fans know that during this season, it means that Oregon got off to a slow start and continually committed dumb penalties that shot themselves in the foot.
UCLA was able to march down the field on the first drive of the game and go up 7-0, and a turnover on downs for Oregon, followed by a blocked punt allowed the Bruins to punch it in and go up 14-0 before the quarter was over.
Fortunately, the Ducks took a 12-play drive down the field and got a score from Travis Dye to cut the lead, and later got another nice drive led by Anthony Brown, evening the score at 14-14 until UCLA converted a FG as time expired to take a 17-14 lead into the break.
Here are a few takeaways from the first half:
The UCLA running game was having way too much success early on, making everything look easy. They averaged 6.6 yards per rush on the first drive of the game. Dorian Thompson-Robinson got out of the pocket often, picking up 26 yards on the ground, and UCLA totaled 93 rushing yards in the half.
Johnny Johnson III and Devon Williams had solid showings in the first half, hauling in 7 catches for 105 combined yards. It is hard to predict which WR is going to have the biggest impact each game, but the Ducks seem to be making an effort to get some receivers into the action this week.
Another slow start was brutal for the Ducks. They allowed UCLA to march down the field and score easily on the first drive, and then a failed 4th-down conversion gave a turnover on downs soon after. An interception from DJ James helped on the next defensive possession, but the Ducks were unable to turn it into anything and allowed the Bruins to block their punt, giving UCLA a prime opportunity on the 30-yard-line, which they easily turned into points. On top of that, penalties were once again an issue, which is nothing new for the Ducks.
Though the start was slow, Oregon’s offense got into a rhythm in the second quarter, putting together a couple of nice drives and evening the score up at 14-14. Anthony Brown did a good job in the passing game, throwing 15-for-22 for 167 yards and 0 touchdowns. However, he found his playmakers and was able to move the ball down the field. That’s all we really can ask of him.