UCLA began their season with an erratic, high octane win at Rice, 49-24. Red shirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, touted since his commitment as a possible savior for a school that has had well documented struggles at the position in recent years, began his UCLA playing career with an explosive 72 yard run, setting twitter on fire with declarations of an early victory, and the play was followed up by Hundley’s first career touchdown pass, an 11 yarder to WR Jerry Johnson. Even though both extra points were blocked, the quick scores had Bruins fans ecstatic.
A 74 yard touchdown run by Senior running back Johnathan Franklin looked like an early knockout punch, putting the score at 19-0 with 8:28 left in the first quarter, but Rice was having none of it, and through a bizarre series of UCLA defensive breakdowns and special teams misfires coupled with an inspired offensive effort by Rice, the score was somehow 19-17 with 13:08 left in the half.
By games end, several more long touchdown runs by Franklin and Hundley and a suddenly stout UCLA defense had taken back the momentum, resulting in a 49 point showing by the Bruins and a comfortable margin of victory. I’m not sure anyone really knows what to make of this game, but either way, Hundley’s debut was impressive, as he finished 22/29 with 204 yards to go along with 146 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Coupled with Franklin’s 142 yard, two score night, UCLA has a lot to be happy about on the offensive side of the ball. Then again, a baffling showing on special teams and an inconsistent defensive effort leave several questions unanswered going into next week’s game against Nebraska. If they expect to defeat the #17 Cornhuskers, they will need to put together a far more consistent performance.
Utah, on the other hand, gave me very little to dissect. They took care of business and dominated Northern Colorado 41-0. Nothing much to glean from a blowout victory over an inferior opponent.