Bruins wake up to get their first win of the season

PASADENA — After the cancelation of their initial home opener, UCLA  finally played at the historic Rose Bowl by hosting Cal where the Bruins dominated the Golden Bears, winning 34-10. The two teams struggled to get out of the starting blocks on offense, but UCLA eventually kicked it into high gear with their running and passing game.

Even with a short amount of time to get ready, the Bruins played fast and quick, never looking back, leaving Cal way behind.

“Forty-three [hours], I think. And the one thing, and I think Justin (Wilcox) felt the same way, is we both had the same amount of time,” UCLA head coach Chip Kelly in his post-game press conference. “They were preparing to play Arizona State. We were preparing to play Utah. We probably had an advantage because they had to travel and we didn’t have to travel. But we started Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. We were fortunate, I think, that both teams at least understand each other a little bit. We played each other in the last game of the season, last year.”

UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scrambling out of the pocket against Cal. Photo by Don Liebig/UCLA Athletics

The moment that turned the tied came right before the end of the first half with UCLA up 20-10. With the Golden Bears trying to cut into the score, Cal quarterback Chase Garbers threw a pass that was tipped in the air and landing in the hands of junior linebacker Caleb Johnson. The interception set up UCLA for a quick offensive drive that lasted 1:22. The score helped seal the game going into halftime.

Leading the Bruin offense at quarterback was the athletic Dorian Thompson-Robinson. For the second straight game, he registered another multi-touchdown game with three scores in the air and one on the ground. Robinson ended this game with 196 yards passing and rushing for 52 yards. It is also the third time in his last four contests he ran into the end zone for a score.

“First of all, it feels great to get a win, Robinson said. “It seems like we’ve been fighting for that for a long time, fighting for this feeling, just doing anything and everything possible to get that win.”

Next to Robinson was his running backs who also proved to be a menace in the backfield for the Cal defense. Demetric Felton held the ball through the trenches for most of the game, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and tallied up 107 yards on 25 carries. Also running the ball for UCLA was Brittain Brown who did not get much playing time, but signed off on the win by scoring a 31-yard running play with 10:12 left in the competition, making the final score. 

The UCLA Bruins defense converge to stop Cal running back Bradrick Shaw. Photo by Don Liebig/UCLA Athletics

“The way it seemed is the opposing team couldn’t keep up with us,” Felton said. “Having the tempo, they had no time to call anything or really know what we were doing, so it helped out a lot.”

It was a better defensive performance in this game by UCLA who gave up 48 points t0 Colorado last week. They held the Cal offense to a total of 176 yards and stopped them from converting on fourth down twice. The defense was able to get to sack the Cal quarterback five times for a total loss of 28 yards. The Golden Bears also tried using your run game to their advantage but were stopped each time by the defensive line.

 “Last week we weren’t getting vertical as much,” Caleb Johnson said in his post-game press conference. “So we really wanted to try to get penetration, set the seam, even if we don’t get the tackle, safety’s going to come in and get the tackle. We did a good job of stopping the run early so they didn’t think about doing it no more most of the game.”

UCLA Bruins Football versus the University of California Bears at The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA. Photo by Don Liebig/Don Liebig/UCLA Athletics

Both the UCLA offense and the defense clicked in this game. The Bruins outgained the Golden Bears by 264 yards, with the Bruins finishing with 440. It was the largest margin of total offense/total defensive difference since Nov. 7, 2015, when UCLA shutout Oregon State.

 “We are disappointed we didn’t perform better,” Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said. “We felt like there were some opportunities to make some plays in there that we didn’t quite make. I have to do a better job helping these guys prepare, so we’ll look at everything that we could have done better as coaches first and foremost. Then watch the video and learn from it as a team.”

UCLA will now travel up to Eugene to play the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. As a result of the scheduling change, the UCLA-Oregon game scheduled for next Friday will instead take place on Nov. 21. The Ducks are 2-0 and first in the Pac-12 North Division.

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