UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, right, is sacked by Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo
October 07, 2014
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, right, is sacked by Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo

LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA's Brett Hundley has plenty in common with Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Both quarterbacks possess dynamic dual-threat skill sets, and both could be top NFL draft picks and potential franchise cornerstones.

Hundley and Mariota have something else in common, something that may well decide the game between the No. 12 Ducks (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) and 18th-ranked Bruins (4-1, 1-1) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

They've both been sacked with extraordinary frequency in recent weeks. It's a trend that Hundley wants to end and UCLA's defense wants to continue.

''We have similar traits,'' said Hundley, who spent time with Mariota at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana this summer. ''He is a fast quarterback. He is very efficient in his offense. He can throw the ball around and run when he needs to.''

Both quarterbacks also have been under siege this season, with Hundley being sacked 10 times and Mariota taking five sacks in their last outings alone.

UCLA ranks 123rd out of 125 FBS teams in sacks allowed this season, while Oregon has given up 12 sacks in its first two Pac-12 Conference games.

That pressure is the best way to limit a talented quarterback, UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark said.

''You've got to get pressure on great quarterbacks, and Marcus Mariota is a great quarterback,'' Clark said. ''You can't let him sit back there and throw the ball, because he is going to pick you apart.''

At least Mariota can point to myriad injuries on the offensive line as the main cause for his recent troubles. Missing its top three offensive tackles, Oregon started a freshman at left tackle and a former walk-on at right tackle in its 31-24 loss to Arizona.

Even with those personnel losses, Clark still sees a dangerous and capable opponent on film.

''They have some issues, but at the same time it is Oregon, an explosive offense, a great offense with the players to put 50 on the board,'' Clark said.

Hundley's issues are far more troubling and systemic. Over the last three seasons, Hundley has been sacked an FBS-worst 107 times in a spread offense that is supposed to protect the passer by getting the ball out quickly. Despite his abilities as a runner, Hundley often seems unsure of where to move in the pocket or when to take off and run.

On one fourth-quarter series in the 30-28 loss to Utah, Hundley took sacks on three consecutive plays. The Utes were able to capitalize on the favorable field position that resulted to get a crucial field goal.

UCLA coach Jim Mora said afterward that sacks can be attributed to all 11 players on the field, but Hundley singled himself out for blame on Monday.

''I take a lot of accountability for that,'' Hundley said. ''I can help get the ball out of my hands faster and move around and stuff like that.''

The Bruins also have to address their lack of a consistent pass rush, having dropped the opposing quarterback just seven times in five games. No one player was expected to replace outside linebacker Anthony Barr's production, but the talent across the front seven was supposed to make up for his departure. However, they have failed to regularly collapse the pocket.

How UCLA responds on both sides of the line of scrimmage will determine how long its aspirations of reaching the inaugural College Football Playoff remain viable.

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