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UCLA football unable to best Beavers, falling in first conference game at home

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Burton completed 27-of-41 passes for 236 yards in his first collegiate start on Saturday night, but UCLA football ultimately fell to Oregon State 48-31. (Joe Akira/Daily Bruin staff)

By Ryan Smith

October 5, 2019 9:46 pm

This post was updated Oct. 5 at 11:33 p.m.

The Bruins dug themselves a hole early and never got out of it.

UCLA football (1-5, 1-2 Pac-12) dropped its second straight contest Saturday night, falling to Oregon State (2-3, 1-1) at the Rose Bowl 48-31. The Bruins are now 0-3 at home to begin the season for the second straight year.

The Beavers’ offense moved the football with ease throughout the night, doing a majority of its damage in the first six minutes of the game.

After opening the game with a 75-yard touchdown drive that took just two minutes and 43 seconds, Oregon State added two more touchdowns in the following three minutes and 18 seconds.

“You can’t spot them a lead like we did in that first quarter,” said UCLA coach Chip Kelly following the game. “There’s nine minutes to go in the quarter and we’re down 21 and I thought our guys battled. We had some uncharacteristic mistakes, … and then the onside kick, not something we practiced, you don’t see that very often and I think we’ve shown it before but we didn’t show it this week to our guys, so that’s on us.”

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Burton – who made his first career collegiate start – had only thrown two passes by the time the Bruins went down by 21, but he looked comfortable from start to finish, completing 27 of his 41 passes on the night for 236 yards and a touchdown.

Burton got UCLA on the board with his first career touchdown pass – a 7-yard toss to redshirt freshman receiver Kyle Philips early in the second quarter, but the Bruins still went into the half staring at a 17-point deficit after giving up a fourth touchdown three minutes before the break.

Kelly said he was most impressed by Burton’s ability to manage the game and steer clear of turnovers despite the team being down for the majority of the night.

“I thought (Burton), for his first start, did a really nice job,” Kelly said. “He protected the football, did not put it in harm’s way. I thought he made some really big throws – the throw to (Philips) for a touchdown was a really big throw and I thought he extended some plays with his feet and we knew he could.”

UCLA showed signs of life in the third quarter, capping off its first drive of the half with a touchdown from redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley to cut the lead to 10, but that was as close as the Bruins would get despite adding two more touchdowns late in the game.

UCLA’s best opportunity to pull within single-digits came late in the third quarter when it forced Oregon State into a fourth-and-six situation in Bruins’ territory. However, the Beavers converted, and then quarterback Jake Luton found receiver Isaiah Hodgins on the next play to push the lead back to 41-24.

Hodgins – who entered the game with six touchdowns in four games – found the end zone three times and racked up 123 yards receiving. The man throwing him the ball – Luton – finished the night with 285 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

Redshirt junior receiver and running back Demetric Felton led UCLA in both receiving and rushing with 55 yards on nine receptions and 111 yards on 11 carries, respectively. Felton was also responsible for the Bruins’ biggest play of the night, a 75-yard touchdown run in which he bolted past the entire defense.

Burton had high praise for the hybrid playmaker and said that Felton is somebody that he’s always known would be a big-time contributor for the offense.

“(Felton) is an unbelievable player,” Burton said. “Since day one when I got here I knew he was something special. He brings a lot to the table rushing. I know he had that big (75-yard run) but at receiving too.”

With the loss, UCLA falls into last place in the Pac-12 South after starting conference play with the historic 32-point comeback against Washington State.

However, senior linebacker Lokeni Toailoa – who registered seven tackles in the game – said the team isn’t concerned about its record, and added that no one in the locker room is going to let the struggles affect their mindset.

“Everyone here comes from a family,” Toailoa said. “When the going gets tough you don’t abandon each other. When the going gets tough it brings you closer together. That’s how you get through these hard times. So we’re just one big family and we’re a bunch of competitors, a bunch of alpha males. So none of this defines us, none of this has us hanging our heads or any of that.”

The Bruins will have a bye week before heading out on the road to face Stanford on Oct. 17.

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Ryan Smith | Sports senior staff
Smith is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the football and men's basketball beats. He was the 2018-2019 Sports editor and an assistant Sports editor in 2017-2018. Smith was previously on the women's basketball, men's water polo, baseball, men's golf and women's golf beats.
Smith is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the football and men's basketball beats. He was the 2018-2019 Sports editor and an assistant Sports editor in 2017-2018. Smith was previously on the women's basketball, men's water polo, baseball, men's golf and women's golf beats.
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