It was not the flashy or dominant performance that has become the standard for quarterback Marcus Mariota this season, but he was efficient and avoided turnovers, setting the stage for Oregon to pull away in a 42-14 win over UCLA behind its rushing attack and defense.
Mariota was 21-of-28 passing for 230 yards, hitting Bralon Addison for an 8-yard touchdown. The Bruins were effective tackling in space and taking away the deep shots that had allowed the redshirt sophomore to rack up gaudy numbers over his first seven games.
Still, Mariota looked poised and threw the ball well after settling in against the best defense he has faced this season. But UCLA wasn't able to get nearly enough pressure on Mariota to really challenge him as Stanford did in its 17-14 overtime upset last season.
UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr played extensively at defensive end and was largely neutralized by UO left tackle Tyler Johnstone, solidifying his credentials as one of the best offensive linemen in the Pac-12.
It helped that UO was able to run the ball effectively with sophomore Byron Marshall, whose 133 rushing yards and three touchdowns represented his fifth straight conference game topping the century mark, and freshman Thomas Tyner (77 yards and one touchdown).
De'Anthony Thomas had 10 carries for 31 yards and one touchdown and three receptions for 17 yards in his return from a sprained ankle. The versatile junior was not used in the second half, and reportedly said after the game that it was his decision not to play.
While this performance may slow down the dueling Mariota bandwagons as the Heisman Trophy favorite and top signal-caller in the 2014 NFL Draft, the real measure will come on Nov. 7 when he gets another crack at the Cardinal.