No. 22 UCLA 37, Houston 6
No. 22 UCLA showed what it can do on offense in its first two
games of the season, rolling up 85 points and 1,299 yards. It was
the Bruins’ defense that stood out in the third game.
Redshirt freshman Brett Hundley passed for 320 yards and two
touchdowns, and the hard-hitting Bruins held high-scoring Houston
in check Saturday night in a 37-6 victory over the Cougars.
”We played outstanding defense tonight except for one play,”
said first-year coach Jim Mora, referring to an 86-yard run by
Houston’s David Piland with 4:54 remaining that kept the Cougars
from being shut out for the first time in nearly 12 years. ”We’re
still trying to put it all together. But you take a win any time
you can get it.
”We’re 3-0 going into conference play and that’s a real
The Bruins (3-0) face Oregon State (1-0) in the Pac-12 opener
for both teams next Saturday at the Rose Bowl, where an
enthusiastic crowd of 53,723 watched UCLA dominate Houston from
start to finish.
Johnathan Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher, gained 110
yards on 25 carries, Sheldon Price tied a school record with three
of UCLA’s five interceptions, and Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked three
Hundley completed 27 of 42 passes with two interceptions.
Franklin, a senior who averaged 215.5 yards in his team’s first two
games, moved into second place on UCLA’s career rushing list with
3,210 yards. Gaston Green gained 3,731 yards in the 1980s.
The teams combined for 11 turnovers – six by Houston.
”It’s great when you can win a game and have a lot of lessons
learned from it,” Mora said. ”We can’t feel bad about it, but we
have to realize we have a lot of work to do. That’s three weeks in
a row we’ve scored on defense. We’d like to see that trend
UCLA went ahead for good on the game’s second play when
linebacker Eric Kendricks returned Piland’s errant backward pass
intended for Ronnie Williams 23 yards for a touchdown. Then Price
and his friends went to work.
”You know you’re going to have opportunities on the ball,”
said Price, a senior cornerback. ”I had three passes my way and I
was able to make the plays.”
While the defense might have taken the spotlight on this night,
the offense was awfully good as well except for the turnovers. UCLA
finished with 29 first downs and 567 yards of total offense and had
the ball for 41:14 to just 18:46 for Houston. The Bruins averaged
649.5 yards in total offense in their first two games to rank third
in the country.
The Cougars finished with 14 first downs and 388 yards in total
offense. They averaged 31 points and 395.5 yards in their first two
”This is what we set out to do,” said Tevin McDonald, whose
50-yard interception return set up a field goal.
Regarding Price, McDonald said: ”He went up and got them all.
Coach emphasized all week putting up a complete game. We take every
game the same.”
Piland completed 28 of 60 passes for 249 yards with the five
interceptions. Dewayne Peace caught 10 passes for 103 yards and
Kenneth Farrow gained 74 yards on 13 carries for the Cougars.
”I guess I took it upon myself to get out of my element and do
more than I did and that’s what caused the turnovers and the
miscues and everything else,” Piland said. ”I take responsibility
Playing under first-year coach Tony Levine, the Cougars are off
to their first 0-3 start since 2001, when they went 0-11. They were
13-1 last season including a 38-34 season-opening victory over the
Bruins, but coach Kevin Sumlin left for Texas A&M and many of
their best players moved on as well.
”There were things we did poorly last week we improved on,
especially tackling against a great UCLA offense,” Levine said.
”When you create turnovers, it gives you a chance to win the game.
Unfortunately, we turned it over on our end offensively.”
The Bruins led 17-0 after a dominant first half. The lead might
have been bigger but for three second-quarter turnovers in Houston
The Bruins moved 90 yards on 17 plays on their third possession,
scoring on a 7-yard pass from Hundley to Datone Jones to make it
14-0. It was the first career reception for Jones, a fifth-year
senior who starts at defensive end.
UCLA appeared on the verge of scoring again before D.J. Hayden
picked off Hundley’s sideline pass at the Houston 9 on the first
play of the second period.
But UCLA forced a punt and Steven Manfro returned it 27 yards to
the Cougars 26, setting up a 35-yard field goal by Fairbairn.
Houston was unable to capitalize after recovering fumbles at its
31 and 29 on the next two UCLA possessions. The Cougars crossed
midfield for the first time after the second recovery, but Matt
Hogan was wide left on a 46-yard field goal.
Damien Thigpen returned the second-half kickoff 55 yards,
setting up a 45-yard, six-play scoring drive capped by Hundley’s
12-yard pass to Jordan James.
The Bruins committed their fourth turnover midway through the
third quarter, but McDonald’s interception return two plays later
set up a 23-yard field goal by Fairbairn. An interception by Price
on Houston’s first play following the kickoff set up a 33-yard
field goal by Fairbairn that made it 30-0.
Houston reached the UCLA 12-yard line early in the final period
before Price made his third interception in the end zone for the
Cougars’ sixth turnover.
Manfro’s 14-yard run with 3:10 remaining completed the