UCLA defense struggles in loss to Jake Luton and Oregon State


PASADENA >> UCLA backup quarterback Austin Burton was roughed up and sacked by Oregon State, but he did what was asked of him in the 48-31 Pac-12 Conference loss.

It was the defense that didn’t produce.

“We’re on to the next one at this point,” Burton said. “I know we have a bye then head into Stanford so it will be good to get some guys healthy that have been injured.”

It’s the only thing the Bruins can do with key players like Theo Howard (hand), Quentin Lake (hand) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (leg) who all missed the game due to injury.

The Bruins lost starting inside linebacker Krys Barnes early in the first quarter. He didn’t return.

The Beavers’ offense had rarely turned the ball over this season and trend didn’t change against the Bruins. Oregon State (1-1 Pac-12, 2-3 overall) had three consecutive scoring drives in the first quarter to take a big lead and didn’t allow UCLA (1-2 Pac-12, 1-5 overall) to come back.

“I think we had 21 in the first five and a half minutes,” Luton said. “It was awesome. Defense and special teams did a fantastic job.”

Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton scored at will against a struggling UCLA secondary. Luton completed 18 of 26 passes for 285 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. The career-high surpassed his previous mark of four touchdowns throws in the 45-7 win over Cal Poly. Luton also continued his streak of 161 attempts without an interception.

He also rushed for 27 yards and a late fourth quarter touchdown.

Receiver Isaiah Hodgins caught a 4-yard pass from Luton to finished a seven-play drive for 75 yards in the first 2:43 of the game.

The Beavers quickly built on a 7-0 lead with running back Artavis Pierce’s 5-yard touchdown run. David Morris recovered onside kick and the Beavers would score again when Luton found tight end Teagan Quitoriano wide open for 27-yard touchdown with 8:59 left in the first quarter. Only nine seconds ticked off the game clock in between the two scores.

“Anytime you’re down like that, especially early in the game, it sucks,” linebacker Lokeni Toailoa said. “But we can’t let that dictate our mindset for the rest of the game because all we worried about is one play at a time, one drive at a time.

“We’re down 21-0, but we didn’t let that affect the way we were playing.”

UCLA fans, among the 48,532 attendance, came to their feet late in the third quarter before Luton sat them back down with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Hodgins. The tandem connected on three touchdowns.

Burton, the redshirt sophomore filled in for Thompson-Robinson and completed 27 of 41 passes for 236 and a touchdown.

The Bruins struggled to get the passing game going in the first quarter as Burton completed two of his three attempts for 18 yards. In an effort to keep the game close with the Beavers, Burton finished the first half 16 of 21 for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Shemar Smith brought Burton down in the final seconds of the second quarter, sending the Bruins to the locker room down 27-10. Linebacker Avery Roberts also had a sack on Burton.

The Bruins managed to get the ground game going in the second half behind Joshua Kelley and Demetric Felton Jr.

Kelley recovered his own fumble at the goal line for a touchdown. Felton had a 75-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 10 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. After Felton’s production was limited last week against Arizona, Felton delivered with 11 carries for 111 rushing yards. He also had eight catches for 55 yards.

The Bruins will have a bye week before traveling to play Stanford (3-3, 2-2) on Thursday, Oct. 17. Currently, every team on the Bruins’ remaining schedule after Stanford are conference opponents with overall records above .500, starting with a two-game homestand against Arizona State and Colorado.