by Rob Moseley
After Byron Marshall's third touchdown Saturday night, giving Oregon a 21-point lead in an eventual 42-14 win over UCLA, he returned to the UO sideline and eventually took a seat on the bench.
A television cameraman set up over Marshall's left shoulder, putting the Ducks' sophomore running back squarely in the spotlight. Marshall has played his way there since the ankle injury to De'Anthony Thomas, and that continued against the Bruins.
With Thomas on the sideline in the second half after aggravating his ankle injury, Marshall finished with 133 yards and three touchdowns in Oregon's win over the No. 12 Bruins.
Marshall went over 100 yards for the fifth straight game — all in Pac-12 play this season, each since Thomas was initially injured. With his purposeful, explosive running, he's starting to look like one of the top backs in the Pac-12.
The presence of the cameraman Saturday night seemed to affirm that.
"I'm not really worried about that — I could care less about the fame," Marshall said. "We came out here and played a great game against a great team, and got a win."
Thomas started and participated in his first plays from scrimmage since Sept. 14. He ran 10 times for 31 yards and a touchdown, enduring a chippy UCLA defense until aggravating the injury and sitting out the second half.
"We've got a bye week, so I'll take advantage of that and try to get back out there next week," Thomas said.
Marshall was up to the task of replacing him. He ran 14 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns after halftime, reaching the end zone three times for the second time in three games.
"It was a chance for Byron to show what we've been seeing," receiver Bralon Addison said. "I think everybody else now has seen what type of running back Byron is."
Addison said teammates reassured Thomas at halftime they could finish off the Bruins in his absence.
"We just said, man, we've got you," Addison said. "Byron told him, we've got your back,
"Byron did exactly what he's supposed to do. He came into the game and took the game over."