PASADENA, CA (News4usonline) – One positive takeaway for the UCLA Bruins in their non-conference football game against Jalen Hurts and the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday is that they were able to score in the two middle quarters. The not-so positive news is that the Bruins were blanked out in the first and last periods of the Sooners’ 48-14 win at Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl.
Hurts, in the running for the Heisman Trophy, annually awarded to the best college football player, continues to make his case (albeit three weeks into the college football season) for the honor with another stellar performance, totaling 439 yards and four touchdowns for his work on the field. Hurts completed 15 of 20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
The senior transfer from Alabama also rushed for 150 yards and a score on 14 carries. Hurts posted a 26-2 record as a starter for Alabama in 2016 and 2017, and guided the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff Championship game twice during that time, culminating with the team winning the national title two years ago.
Last year, Hurts played mostly in a backup role as the Crimson Tide made it back to the national championship game. Earning a degree in December allowed Hurts to have a year eligibility as a graduate transfer. And thus, the listed 6-foot-2, 218 pound Hurts has already unleashed his near impossible to stop versatility as a dual-threat quarterback on the rest of college football.
Unfortunately, UCLA (0-3) became the latest team to feel Hurts’ wrath. Coming into this ballgame, the Bruins were already looking at a steep mountain to climb in order to pull off the upset. UCLA’s last win against a top five team came in 2006 when the Bruins beat crosstown rival USC. The Bruins haven’t played a team ranked as high as Oklahoma since 2008.
Looking for their first non-conference win since they defeated Hawai’i in 2017, Chip Kelly’s team, after falling to Cincinnati and San Diego State in their first two games, was in a potentially upset-in-the-making game position.
Hurts and the Sooners nipped that in the bud right away, driving the length of the field on their opening series to go up 7-0. Hurts would do the honors for the Sooners, hitting a huge gap in the field of play created by his offensive linemen and running away from UCLA defenders on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run.
That Oklahoma drive took all of 2:36 off the clock in the first quarter. Just like that, Hurts and the Sooners (3-0) managed to quiet the Bruins fans. Stepping on the gas pedal a little more the Sooners scored on their next two possessions to close out the period with a 17-0 lead. Oklahoma doubled their first period output in the second quarter to walk into halftime with a 34-7 advantage over the Bruins.
The Sooners officially put this game in the books as a win when Hurts connected with wide receiver Charleston Rambo on a 39-yard pass play to close out the third quarter. This game was, however, not a complete disaster for the Bruins. Outside of the game-breaking big plays Hurts and Oklahoma made, UCLA played about as well as they could against the Sooners’ offensive juggernaut.
Last year, UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson made his college debut against the Sooners. In that 49-21 defeat to Oklahoma, Thompson-Robinson passed for 254 yards and a touchdown. The second time around for Thompson-Robinson was not quite as rewarding for the sophomore signal-caller. Thompson-Robinson completed 15 of 26 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had two interceptions in the game as well.
While there was not a whole lot for Bruins fans to cheer for, UCLA running back Demetric Felton has been a welcomed sparkplug all season. The redshirt junior has been all over the field this season for the Bruins. It was no different against Oklahoma. Felton totaled 132 yards in offense, doing a little bit of everything. He rushed for 65 yards on five carries against the Sooners.
Felton also caught 44 yards worth of passes on three receptions, and added 23 yards on his only kickoff return.
Dennis is editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about civil rights, education, government, crime, and social justice. Dennis covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. He is a graduate of Howard University. HU!!