Jack leads UCLA past Washington
Myles Jack was visibly surprised when he learned the identity of the last UCLA running back to score four rushing touchdowns nearly a decade ago.
"Wow, Maurice Jones-Drew was my idol back in my running back days," Jack said.
Jack is still a linebacker at heart. But his running back days are now.
Just ask the Washington Huskies after the remarkable freshman from the Seattle suburbs ran right through their defense.
Jack ran for 60 yards and four scores, defensive end Cassius Marsh caught a touchdown pass, and No. 13 UCLA stayed in control of its destiny in the Pac-12 South race with a 41-31 victory over Washington on Friday night.
Devin Lucien turned a short pass into a 40-yard TD with 9:57 to play, and the Bruins (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) got creative to hold off a lively challenge from the Huskies (6-4, 3-4), who lost starting quarterback Keith Price to a shoulder injury right before halftime.
Jack followed up his 120-yard debut at running back last week by becoming the 13th player in UCLA history to score four touchdowns. Jack and the hulking Marsh scored the Bruins' first five touchdowns as UCLA stayed right behind division leader Arizona State, which visits Pasadena next weekend.
"I don't really take much credit for it," Jack said. "It's just the line blocking for me. The holes are right there, and I just hit them. When I'm in there, everybody in the stadium knows what we're about to run."
So far, nobody can stop it.
For the second straight week, Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone dipped into the defense's roster to win a back-and-forth meeting of two bowl-bound teams with prolific offenses.
UCLA coach Jim Mora had been coy about whether Jack would even play offense again, but the freshman jumped in during the Bruins' opening series, rushing for an 8-yard score on his first carry. Used mostly as a short-yardage back, he added two more scores in the first half and finished with 12 carries.
Oh, and he also made five tackles.
"He's having fun out there," said Brett Hundley, who passed for 159 yards and two scores. "I talk to him in the backfield and put a smile on his face. He's a monster, that's all I can say."
Cyler Miles passed for 149 yards after replacing Price, but the Huskies have lost nine of their last 12 Pac-12 road games.
Damore'ea Stringfellow, Jaydon Mickens and Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught TD passes for Washington, which hasn't beaten UCLA at the Rose Bowl since 1995.
"We've got to get right back up, but it's going to be a big challenge," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "It's probably good we get an extra day (of rest), because that locker room is hurting right now."
The Bruins led 27-7 early in the second quarter and were up 34-24 heading to the fourth. The Huskies kept it close despite losing Price.
Miles, a redshirt freshman, had played only sparingly this season behind Price, a three-year starter who holds Washington's career record for touchdown passes. Miles went 15 for 22, but threw two interceptions on consecutive throws in the final minutes.
Stringfellow, a freshman with three catches all year, had eight receptions for 147 yards and a score with 8:01 to play. He also had a long TD catch wiped out in the first half by one of Washington's 11 penalties for 113 yards.
Bishop Sankey rushed for 91 yards and a score for the Huskies, who dropped to 7-20 on the road during Sarkisian's five seasons.
"We fought back after we were down, so I couldn't be more proud of the guys," Sankey said. "We were confident in Cyler. We believe all of our guys can step in and do their thing."
The Bruins wore their black "L.A. Midnight" uniforms on a rare Friday night game at the Rose Bowl, but the stadium was roughly half-full at kickoff while fans struggled through Los Angeles' usual Friday traffic.
UCLA still led 14-0 less than six minutes in on two short scoring drives set up by Huskies turnovers.
Jordan Zumwalt forced Seferian-Jenkins' fumble on Washington's opening series, and Jack rumbled for UCLA's first score just 2:38 in. Marsh then caught his 2-yard play-action TD pass on a short drive set up by Sankey's fumble near midfield.
After the Huskies made a 95-yard scoring drive capped by Sankey's TD run, Washington could have recovered a fumble by Jack after a 25-yard run -- but Shaq Thompson failed to fall on the ball. Two plays later, Jack scored from 1 yard out.
Jack's third TD surge put the Bruins up by 20 points. Washington scored again, but Price left the field grimacing after his final snap of the first half, and he returned to the sideline in the third quarter in a warm-up suit and cap.
Miles showed no nerves while leading a short scoring drive after UCLA fumbled the second-half kickoff, hitting Seferian-Jenkins for a score that cut the Bruins' lead to 27-24. But UCLA answered with Jack's fourth TD run, this time from 2 yards out.
UCLA's defense finally got to Miles in the final minutes, with Anthony Barr recording a big drive-killing sack before the Bruins' consecutive interceptions.