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Oregon bounces back from first loss, beats UCLA

Oct 14, 2006 - 11:28 PM EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- Dennis Dixon and 18th-ranked Oregon bounced back from a humbling defeat.

Dixon passed for two touchdowns and Jonathan Smith rushed for 121 yards to lead the Ducks to a 30-20 victory over UCLA in a battle of Pac-10 Conference rivals.

Oregon (5-1, 3-1 Pac-10) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten after getting blown out at California last weekend, 45-24, as Dixon was intercepted three times.

But the 6-4 junior directed three scoring drives in the first quarter alone.

"That was a tough day for all of us at Cal," said Dixon, who was 10-of-17 for 144 yards. "All I can say is it's great to be home where we get a real lift from the crowd. We feel like we can beat anybody here."

And the Ducks were able to run the ball at will against UCLA (4-2, 2-2), which entered the game ranked second in the nation in run defense at 50 yards per game.

Oregon rushed for 256 yards with Stewart leading the way. Dixon scrambled 11 times for 69 yards and Jeremiah Johnson finished with 66 yards on 12 carries.

Dixon hit Dante Rosario with an 11-yard touchdown pass three minutes into the game to cap a seven-play, 85-yard drive. The point-after attempt was blocked by Justin Hickman.

Dixon also engineered a seven-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a seven-yard run by Johnson with 5:32 left in the quarter.

Then Dixon connected with Brian Paysinger on a 26-yard touchdown with 1:01 remaining in the quarter to stake Oregon to a 20-3 lead.

Paysinger set career highs with four receptions for 105 yards.

As is usually the case, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti also used Brady Leaf, who threw a four-yard touchdown pass to James Finley with 3:25 left in the third quarter for his lone completion of the game.

"The offense came together and we played virtually a mistake-free game," Bellotti said. "That's what we emphasized in practice this week, cutting down on the turnovers. And we turned it over just once and had a nice balance on offense with the run and the pass against a defense that was allowing a little more than 12 points a game."

UCLA was without starting quarterback Ben Olson, who is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks after spraining his left knee in last week's win over Arizona.

Redshirt sophomore Patrick Cowan, who threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Olson last week, threw for just 112 yards against Oregon and was intercepted once.

"I have to play better than that," said Cowan, who completed 16-of-31 passes. "This is a tough environment to play in and it became tougher when we fell into such a big hole in the first quarter."

Kahlil Bell scored on a pair of one-yard runs in the fourth quarter for the Bruins, who have lost five of the last six meetings with Oregon.

Bell's first touchdown came on the first play of the quarter and pulled UCLA within 27-13.

Matt Evenson was short on a 45-yard field goal attempt on Oregon's next possession, but converted a 22-yarder with 5:22 left to give the Ducks a 30-13 advantage.

Bell's second touchdown came with just 1:59 remaining.

Chris Markey rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries for the Bruins.

"We just couldn't overcome a bad first quarter," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "In this conference, you can't get away with that."

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