Four Minutes of Lightning

Pasadena – Many watching the first half of the Oregon-UCLA match up may have nodded off to sleep in a defensive punch out that ended up 3-0 when the two teams headed to the locker rooms after the first 20 minutes. However, what a difference can four minutes make as the Ducks special teams, defense, and offense woke up and took command giving Oregon a 24-10 win at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

(PHOTO)Jeff Maehl's touchdown capped a stunning start to the second half. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"It was just a great play," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly of the first play of the second half when Kenjon Barner took the kickoff back 100-yards for a touchdown. "We felt like in our kickoff return that we could get something in this game."

When Barner took the ball at Oregon's own goal line he looked up and followed his blockers. About 15-yards into his run he knew he had a shot of taking the ball the distance.

"My team just blocked for me," described Barner of his kick return. "They opened up holes, I was able to see them, I made my cuts and I was able to score."

Total elapsed time – 23 seconds and it was Oregon 7, UCLA 3.

The Ducks kicked off and no sooner had the replays of the scoring kickoff return been shown, UCLA's Kevin Prince was picked off by Talmadge Jackson III on the UCLA 32 and in less than 55 seconds Oregon was up 14-3 off the pick-six and point after. Price ended the game 13-25-1, 81 yards and no touchdowns.

"I just anticipated it, sat on it, he didn't even see me and threw it right to me," said Jackson of the interception. "I was happy to run it back for six."

The emotional turn around was apparent because the next time the Ducks touched the ball they drove eight plays for 50 yards ending with Nate Costa hitting Jeff Maehl for a 20-yard touchdown passing play, oddly the first wide receiver score of the season. Maehl said he wanted to end the drought for him and his wide receiver buddies. The drive lasted 2:25, and it was all that was needed for Oregon to move to 5-1 for the season, and more importantly 3-0 in Pac-10 play. The loss dropped UCLA to 3-2 for the year and 0-2 in the conference race.

For the game, Costa was very respectable, throwing for 82 yards on 9-of-17 with one costly interception given up in the later part of the third quarter. Pinned back on the Oregon 2, Costa faded back to buy some space but Akeem Ayers used his great athletic ability to jump in front of Costa's pass and intercept the ball, while keeping one foot in the end zone.

"Nate did a great job," complimented Kelly. "I said all year that was the best defense we'd face all year."

For the most part Costa managed the game well, and when the Bruin defensive ends sat back and challenged Costa to keep the ball and run, the signal caller wisely handed off. The benefactor in those decisions was LaMichael James, who seemed to wiggle out of the tiniest of places racking up 152 yards on 20 carries, including a long of 49. That 49-yarder came in the nick of time. Oregon found itself pinned at the goal line in the first quarter when Costa handed off to James and off he went. The play took Oregon out of immediate peril and also set the tone for the Ducks all day. No matter where they found themselves, Oregon had answers for everything UCLA could hurl at them.

Oregon finished the day with 303 yards total offense, 221 of that in rushing. Barner added to his 100-yard touchdown return with a nifty 48-yard run, including stiff arming a defender for the last 10-yards of the gallop. Andre Crenshaw saw action in the final quarter with seven carries for 23 yards, while Remene Alston picked up 15 yards on six carries.

Ed Dickson was the leading receiver with three catches for 24 yards while James had two grabs for 8.

Jackson Rice had a total of seven punts for 286 yards with a 40.9 average, two inside the 20 and a long of 57 yards.

"We feed off each other," remarked Kelly of his squad. "It's a great team. These guys have great chemistry and a great attitude right now (and) they are a great bunch of guys to be around."

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