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UCLA notes: Defensive players keep coming to aid of offense

Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes scores a touchdown, joining club that includes linebacker Myles Jack and end Cassius Marsh, as UCLA beats USC.

November 30, 2013|By Chris Foster

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The best offense may be a good defense . . . or a good defensive player.

It's working for UCLA anyway.

Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is hardly shy about poaching from the UCLA defense. Linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Cassius Marsh have scored touchdowns this season.

Eddie Vanderdoes joined the touchdown club in Saturday in the Bruins' 35-14 victory over USC.

Vanderdoes, a freshman defensive tackle, has been used in the Bruins' short-yardage package this season. Saturday, instead of blocking, he got the ball in the second quarter, scoring on a one-yard run.

Jack scored the Bruins' first touchdown on a three-yard run. It was his seventh touchdown in the four games since being introduced as a running back.

Jack had only one other carry Saturday; he was stopped for a one-yard loss on a fourth-and-one play at the USC 12-yard line in the second quarter. UCLA had five defensive players on the field with the offense on that play.

Marsh had a touchdown reception Nov. 15 against Washington.

Good returns

Defensive back Ishmael Adams continues to make UCLA coaches look bad. Why wasn't Adams returning kicks all season?

Adams volunteered to return kickoffs last week and averaged 37 yards on five returns. He was a problem for USC on Saturday as well, with three returns for 130 yards, a 43.3 average.

He broke five tackles on a 46-yard return after USC had cut UCLA's lead to, 21-14, in the third quarter. It set up a quick drive that ended in a five-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brett Hundley.

James returns

UCLA's running game received a bit of a boost with the return of Jordon James.

James was the nation's fifth-leading rusher when he sprained an ankle against Utah on Oct. 3. He missed five of the last seven games. He came into Saturday's game with 471 yards rushing, but had only eight yards since the injury.

James had 54 yards in 16 carries against USC.

It wasn't his best effort this season, but he gave UCLA some gritty yards. The Bruins had 188 yards rushing in the game.

UCLA also had receiver Devin Fuller (pulled hamstring) and running back Steven Manfro (ankle) back in the lineup.

Fuller had two receptions for 11 yards. Manfro carried once for 10 yards and caught a pass for minus-three yards.

Benenoch ejected

UCLA freshman tackle Caleb Benenoch was ejected in the first quarter for striking USC's J.R. Tavai after a play.

Ben Wysocki replaced Benenoch at right tackle, leaving the Bruins with four guards along the offensive line. Xavier Su'a-Filo, a guard by trade, was moved back to left tackle after Simon Goines suffered a broken leg against Arizona State last week.

Injury report

Cornerback Fabian Moreau and running back Damien Thigpen did not suit up for UCLA.

Moreau, who pulled a hamstring against Arizona State last week, was replaced by senior Brandon Sermons.

It was the second consecutive game that Thigpen missed because of a sprained ankle.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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