UCLA run NCCU out of the Rose Bowl

PASADENA (News4usonline) – The passing game of the UCLA Bruins football team took a day off against North Carolina Central University. Dante Moore and other UCLA quarterbacks had good reason to step back and take a breather.

That’s because the run game of the Bruins dominated the visiting Eagles all afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

UCLA rushed for 404 yards and six touchdowns as it cruised to a 59-7 win. The Bruins scored 35 points in the first quarter and made it 45-0 at the half. Anthony Adkins led the running rampage for UCLA, rushing for 96 yards on 10 carries as the Bruins improved their record to 3-0.

UCLA running back Carson Steele (33) on the move against the defense of North Carolina Central University on Sept. 16, 2023. The UCLA football team rushed for six touchdowns in the Bruins’ 59-7 win at the Rose Bowl. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“He’s a big, physical back but he is very nifty on his feet,” UCLA head coach Chip Kelly said of Adkins. “I think that he has really good vision. I’m not sure we knew how athletic he was, when we got him. Obviously, he played in a different style of offense at Army, being the fullback in the wishbone, and just pounding it between the A gaps. But he’s got a little bit of side-to-side in him and I think he is tough to tackle. He runs with good body lean. I think he is continuing to develop.” 

Adkins, who scored on a short touchdown run, had his biggest carry on a 38-yard run. Running the football and pushing the pile is something that the Bruins try to establish every game, he said.

“We pride ourselves on running hard, playing physical and playing aggressive every week, week in and week out,” remarked Adkins. “Doing our jobs, we take the load off the quarterback a little bit, and we pride ourselves on that.”

That pride will be put to the test against the Utah Utes in a Sept. 23 matchup for the Bruins. Utah is the reigning two-time Pac-12 Conference champion. For now, though, Kelly likes the way his team has progressed in the last three weeks. The win against North Carolina Central University

UCLA running back T.J. Harden (25) scampers for a big gain and North Carolina Central University on Sept. 16, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“The one thing I was impressed with, with our team, was just their approach,” Kelly said. “They had a great week of training and a great week of practice. I think that’s a sign of maturity. They are focused on getting better on a daily basis and that is something that we preach, but it’s not always followed.

“We understand that. But I do think it was followed this week. These guys went out this week, Sunday through Wednesday, of trying to get better as football players. There’s a standard that we train at. We have continued to train better each week.”

Moore seems to be making the right progress that Kelly needs out of his quarterback possession. Against North Carolina Central University, Moore completed just 8 of 12 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly said there’s still plenty of room for Moore to grow.  

“I think we can improve with decision making, timing, just like anybody,” Kelly quipped. “It doesn’t matter who it is. And I think that he’s played really, really well. We are just still starting with him. And pre-snap recognition, where the ball is going, and he’s really good at it, but he’ll continue to work on the fundamentals and the decision-making process.”

Through the first three weeks of the season, the Bruins have coasted to double-digit wins over Coastal Carolina, San Diego State, and North Carolina Central University. The real test for the Bruins begins with their first Pac-12 Conference game against Utah.

UCLA running back Carson Steele (33) runs for some of the 83 yards he gained against North Carolina Central University on Sept. 16, 2023. Steele scored a touchdown in the Bruins’ 59-7 win at the Rose Bowl. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

After playing the Utes, UCLA will play a home game against Washington State (Oct. 7), go on the road against Oregon State (Oct. 14) and Stanford (Oct. 21) before ending the month of October with a primetime contest against Colorado (Oct. 28) at the Rose Bowl.  

It doesn’t concern UCLA defensive lineman Dovid Magna who the Bruins play next. They’re ready to play regardless of the opponent or the venue, he said.  “I don’t think it matters who’s up next,” Magna said. “We pride ourselves on being ready for whatever opponent we have, whether it’s home or away. Whoever it is, we’ll be ready for them come Saturday and it will be a great game.”

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