Bruins defensive tackle Donovan Carter tries to block a pass by Ducks quarterback… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)
Reporting from Eugene, Ore.
UCLA lost a game Thursday night. That was expected.
The Bruins lost a quarterback. That was hardly a surprise.
But UCLA also lost face, which left the Bruins stunned.
The ruthlessness with the way No. 1-ranked Oregon dispatched UCLA on Thursday night in a 60-13 rout left no doubt the Ducks deserve to be the top-ranked team in the nation. What it said about the Bruins was less clear.
The 47-point loss equaled the Bruins' second-worst in conference play since World War II, after a 55-7 loss to Oregon State in 1999.
"This is bad," defensive tackle David Carter said. "This is very bad."
The Ducks (7-0 overall, 4-0 in Pacific 10 Conference play) wore out the Bruins, with 582 total yards, and wore out their mascot, who does a pushup for every point Oregon scores after every Oregon score.
It left the Ducks with a firm hold on the No. 1 ranking, a subject Coach Chip Kelly avoids talking about.
"We have a vision for this football program," Kelly said. "We prepare against that vision, compete against that vision and measure ourselves against that vision."
The Ducks left UCLA with a blurred vision, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions in the first half. When the Bruins got a 25-yard field goal by Kai Forbath to cut the deficit to 15-3, the Ducks countered by going 55 yards in 27 seconds to go up, 22-3.
The rest was a statistical pile-up for the Ducks. Quarterback Darron Thomas threw for a career-high 308 yards and had three touchdown passes. Running back LaMichael James had 123 yards rushing.
The Ducks had 23 plays of 10 or more yards.
The dismantling, in front of a national television audience, left the Bruins flustered, with games against Arizona and Oregon State coming up at the Rose Bowl.
Lose either, and the Bruins (3-4, 1-3) will need to win two of their last three to get bowl-eligible. Lose both, and a third-consecutive eighth-place finish might be the best UCLA can hope to achieve. The situation is dire enough for Coach Rick Neuheisel to call a Sunday practice after originally scheduling a day off.
"I'm not thinking about the bowl situation," strong safety Tony Dye said. "I just want to win a game. I want to win the next game more than anything in my life. Two losses like that in row like this? That is unheard of in my mind."
This was the follow-up to up a 35-7 loss to California.
The Bruins go into this stretch unsure whether quarterback Kevin Prince will be available. Prince said he has a torn meniscus in his right knee and will have arthroscopic surgery Saturday. A timetable for his return will be established after the surgery.
Richard Brehaut started and took the Bruins to the Oregon 30 on the first possession. On third down, he lobbed a deep pass that was intercepted by John Boyett and the Ducks' rout was on. It was one of three turnovers by Brehaut, who also fumbled twice.
This was the first chance for the Ducks to test-drive their No. 1 ranking and they ran over the Bruins, then backed over them.
Neuheisel said this week that someone is going to "solve" Oregon's quick-strike offense, a comment that miffed Kelly. The Ducks went for two points on their second touchdown, and called two timeouts while when the Bruins tried to run out the clock in the first half.
If there was a message being sent, it was received.
"They were aggressive, I'll leave it at that," Neuheisel said.
Neuheisel had in-house problems to worry about.
"We've got some serious work to do in rebuilding the program and getting back to where we can be a good football team, one that can compete in this conference successfully," Neuheisel said.