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No. 18 UCLA starts slowly, coaches scrap on sideline during 42-30 loss to No. 12 Oregon

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PASADENA, California — UCLA coach Jim Mora put his hands on Jeff Ulbrich's face early in the second quarter, trying to get him to calm down after the first-year defensive coordinator angrily ripped off his headset and handed Mora his play sheet.

Unfortunately for Mora, he couldn't lay his hands on his struggling team and transfer either the same fire or the same calming effect to slow down Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mariota ran for two touchdowns and passed for 210 yards and two more scores as No. 12 Oregon rebounded from its first defeat with a 42-30 victory over No. 18 UCLA on Saturday.

While their players looked on awkwardly, Mora managed to calm down Ulbrich, who took back his equipment and resumed his role on the Bruins sideline. The former San Francisco 49ers linebacker and Mora dismissed the incident after the game.

"He is one of my closest friends, and we are both very passionate and very competitive," Mora said. "If you don't have that fire, then something is wrong in this business."

The rest of the afternoon was also a mess for UCLA, which has lost two straight.

Royce Freeman rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12), who built a 42-10 lead early in the fourth quarter with systematic superiority over UCLA, a preseason Top-10 team. Thomas Tyner and Pharaoh Brown caught TD passes as Oregon coasted home in its sixth straight win over the Bruins (4-2, 1-2).

A week after a 31-24 home loss to Arizona, Oregon showed no symptoms from the loss.

"It says a lot about the character of this team that they were able to flush (last week) and just keep chugging," Mariota said. "We came out this Monday, and you could feel the intensity pick up. ... We believed in what we could do."

Left tackle Jake Fisher's return from injury boosted the Oregon offense and encouraged Mariota, who had been sacked 12 times in the past two games without Fisher watching his back. The defense kept Hundley uncomfortable for most of the day, giving up just 232 yards in the first three quarters while Oregon built an insurmountable lead.

"When you play a team like Oregon, you got to be almost perfect to beat them," Mora said. "They are just so explosive and so good. I think that we did some things today that were really positive but we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times."

PHOTO: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley passes the ball during the first half of a NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley passes the ball during the first half of a NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mariota also made the game's most entertaining play when he recovered his own fumble while rushing for a 23-yard score early in the second half, impressing his teammates and coaches with his dribbling skills.

"Next time, I want him to do a 360, pick it up and score," Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said with a grin.

Hundley passed for 216 yards and ran for a score for the Bruins, who followed up their last-minute loss to Utah by falling into a huge early hole. Their large home crowd trickled out of Arroyo Seco throughout the second half.

Paul Perkins rushed for 190 yards and Jordan Payton caught two fourth-quarter TD passes for UCLA. But the Bruins failed to contend with Oregon's speed and sophistication.

Most glaringly, the struggling UCLA pass rush was unable to get to Mariota, who had been sacked 12 times in the past two games.

"We never got him into enough pass rushing situations, that's what it comes down to," Ulbrich said. "You get him into 3rd-and-long situations, you can rush the passer."

Mariota was much more comfortable with left tackle Jake Fisher back from injury. Mariota rushed 13 yards for the Ducks' opening score after Hundley fumbled deep in Bruins territory, and Mariota later recovered his own fumble while rushing for a 23-yard score early in the second half.

"I think our O-line played really well today, not just Jake," Frost said. "I think they took it as a challenge that they were getting criticized."

While Oregon found its composure, UCLA seemed to unravel as quickly as its aspirations of making the inaugural College Football Playoff. Beyond the dustup between Ulbrich and Mora, UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes also threw a punch after a play during the first half. He was penalized, but not ejected, despite Mora saying afterward that an official told him about the attempted haymaker.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the league would review the play.

But neither UCLA coaches nor players had an answer for Mariota, who revitalized his Heisman Trophy hopes with a stellar effort in his second career head-to-head meeting with Hundley.

After UCLA got only a field goal out of an 83-yard drive, Mariota hit Tyner for a 21-yard TD on a screen pass, prompting the sideline dispute between Mora and Ulbrich.

Payton and Nate Starks scored fourth-quarter TDs, and UCLA recovered one onside kick before Freeman recovered the Bruins' second onside attempt.

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