UCLA football has winning record for the first time since 2017

The UCLA football program continues to move in a positive direction and the victory over Arizona State helped paint that picture.

The Bruins’ first road win of the season put the program over .500 with a 3-2 record for the first time since Oct. 21, 2017.

“It feels amazing,” said third-year quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. “I think the whole UCLA community has been waiting for this. Like I said and (coach Chip) Kelly said all along, we’re headed in the right direction and it’s all about the process. We’re taking it day by day and working very hard, so I’m very proud of this team and where we are headed.”

Thompson-Robinson was one of at least five players to return after missing the last two weeks to quarantine.

The Bruins leaned on the running game, led by Demetric Felton and Brittain Brown, who produced most of the scoring on offense while the starting quarterback was out.

Kelly spoke highly of Thompson-Robinson, who returned to practice just days before taking the trip with the team.

“To be able to get Dorian back in the middle of the week was huge for us,” Kelly said.“Not only can he beat you throwing the ball, but I thought he was really big for us in the run game.”

Thompson-Robinson continued where he left off as one of the Pac-12’s leaders in touchdown passes with eight. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown.

The quarterback rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries but was also on the receiving end of five sacks by the ASU defense.

“It’s all part of the game plan,” Thompson-Robinson said. “We do what coach Kelly tells us to do. All three backs do what they’re supposed to do, …  really just having a good team around us, a good offensive line, and everyone is working as one right now.”

While Felton ran for more than 167 yards in each of the last two games (against Oregon and Arizona), he was held to just 41 yards against ASU in a controlled role.

Kelly confirmed that Felton was held back against ASU but didn’t provide details on whether the team’s leading rusher was dealing with an injury. Felton was seen limping in the fourth quarter against Arizona the week prior.

Brown led the Bruins with 94 yards while a returning Keegan Jones had five carries for 10 yards.

Like Jones, receiver Delon Hurt returned after missing a pair of games and contributed immediately on offense, catching Thompson-Robinson’s 9-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

Defensive back Quentin Lake also returned  and made UCLA’s only pass breakup to help seal the victory in the final seconds of the game. Lake also had six tackles.

Caleb Johnson was an impact player for the Bruins on defense, with a game-high 10 tackles including 2.5 for a loss.

Johnson produced two of the Bruins’ five sacks and recovered a fumble after miscommunication between quarterback Jayden Daniel and a teammate.

“I just saw (Daniels) drop to the field, and I just had to dive for it real quick,” Johnson said. “We had just talked about how we needed to get turnovers and jump whenever we see a fumble.”

Linebacker Damian Sellers  forced a fumble, early in the third quarter, out of the hands of ASU’s Rachaad White on a 51-yard play but White was able to recover the ball.

The Bruins will return to the Rose Bowl for a Pac-12 South game against quarterback Kedon Slovis and unbeaten USC.

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UCLA football finding what works under pandemic constraints

While the UCLA football program continues to go without some players as a result of coronavirus contact tracing, the team has found a successful balance with its offense and defense complementing one another.

On offense, UCLA’s backfield has carried a majority of the load the past two week while starters such as quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson remain out.

The duo of Demetric Felton and Brittain Brown have kept the offense moving forward on the field and on the scoreboard.

Felton has set career-highs in several rushing categories over the last two games, including the 206 yards he had against Arizona on Saturday.

“I was really happy for (Felton),” Kelly said. “He’s worked extremely hard since he moved to running back and has really turned himself into a quality back.”

Brown scored two touchdowns for the Bruins, including a 16-yard reception off a pass from quarterback Chase Griffin, that produced the lead they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the evening. It was just the second touchdown catch in the grad transfer’s career, with the first coming in 2018 when he played at Duke.

Kelly has also been impressed with the way others have contributed in order to help the duo move the ball down the field.

Griffin, made his second straight start for the Bruins, and managed the offense in the victory.

“It’s pretty awesome” Griffin said. “As a quarterback, I’ll play in any situation, but to have two backs who are really ready to go, and an offensive line and tight ends up front who are ready to block, and receivers on the outside who are ready to make plays, it makes it a whole lot easier.”

Arizona defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, who spent the past two seasons as the Bruins’ defensive back coach, was well aware of the Bruins’ potential on offense.

“(Rhoads) made some really good adjustments at halftime,” Kelly said. “They did a couple of things. And then we had to counter their counter.”

The Bruins scored 20 points in the first half but were shut out in the third quarter and held to seven points in the fourth, which came on UCLA’s last possession of the game.

“We shut them down until that last drive,” Arizona linebacker Anthony Pandy said. “(Rhoads) made the adjustments that we needed. He’s a great (coordinator). And we came out and played hard.”

Pandy was the Wildcats’ second-leading tackler with nine tackles. Rhoads’ defense produced three tackles for a loss but did not record a sack Saturday against the Bruins.

The Bruins’ defense were presented with an unexpected situation than they’d prepared for throughout the week, after Arizona’s starting quarterback Grant Gunnell went down on the first play from scrimmage with an injury. Freshman Will Plummer would finish out the rest of the game for the Wildcats but it didn’t change what the Bruins did defensively.

“I think that the way they used Plummer was the same way they’d used Grant,” Kelly said. “They weren’t afraid to put him in there and put him in the mix.”

The Bruins applied pressure throughout the game on Plummer, forcing him to scramble. He finished the night with 49 yards and was the Wildcats’ second-leading rusher.

“They were pressuring from a lot of off the edge pressure, corner blitzes, internal pressure,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Obviously, his mobility helps him in those situations to escape and he utilized that.”

Defensive back Obi Eboh and linebacker Mitchell Agude each recorded a sack on Plummer. Agude also forced two fumbles.

The secondary also took advantage of opportunities through the air, intercepting two of Plummer’s passes in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

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Demetric Felton has career game in UCLA’s victory over Arizona

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins dives for the touch down against the Arizona Wildcats in the fourth quarter NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins dives for the touch down against the Arizona Wildcats in the fourth quarter NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Elisha Guidry #30 of the UCLA Bruins locks away a pass intended for wide receiver Tayvian Cunningham #11 of the Arizona Wildcats in the second half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins sacks quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the second half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins is tackled by defensive back Rhedi Short #24 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Linebacker Choé Bryant-Strother #9 of the UCLA Bruins pressures quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for yardage against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins dives for the touch down against the Arizona Wildcats in the fourth quarter NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Elisha Guidry #30 of the UCLA Bruins locks away a pass intended for wide receiver Tayvian Cunningham #11 of the Arizona Wildcats in the second half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after sacking quarterback Will Plummer (not pictured) of the Arizona Wildcats in the second half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for yardage against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Linebacker Choé Bryant-Strother #9 of the UCLA Bruins pressures quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for yardage against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for yardage against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Chase Griffin #11 of the UCLA Bruins passes against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for yardage against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Chase Griffin #11 of the UCLA Bruins passes against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Chase Griffin #11 of the UCLA Bruins passes against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for a first time against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins sacks quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins runs for a touch down against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins looks on against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Chase Griffin #11 of the UCLA Bruins scrambles against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive back Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after sacking quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Linebacker Bo Calvert #33 of the UCLA Bruins pressures quarterback Will Plummer #15 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Brittain Brown #28 of the UCLA Bruins runs for a touch down against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Chase Griffin #11 of the UCLA Bruins scrambles against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Demetric Felton #10 of the UCLA Bruins runs for a first time against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, November 28, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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PASADENA — Running back Demetric Felton led UCLA  in Saturday’s 27-10 victory over Arizona in Pac-12 South play.

Felton rushed for a career-high 206 yards, breaking his previous high of 167 set last week against Oregon. He would exit the game after a slight limp running for a first down late in the fourth quarter. The status of his injury is unknown. He had 32 carries and was two shy of matching his career-high of 34 from last week.

Running back Brittain Brown said Felton looked fine after the game and was just taken out as a precaution.

UCLA ran for at least 200 yards for the third straight game, including 281 against Arizona and ran for at least 200 yards in eight of its last 12 games dating back to last season.

With the win, UCLA (2-2) has won seven of its last nine meetings against Arizona (0-3), including the last five against the Wildcats at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins did not let their turnover struggles carry over into the Rose Bowl, winning their second straight home game. Turnovers have proven costly for the Bruins, especially in the pair of losses against Colorado and Oregon on the road.

Redshirt quarterback Chase Griffin managed the Bruins’ offense in his second start while Dorian Thompson-Robinson remained sidelined due to coronavirus contact tracing.

Coach Chip Kelly was pleased with the effort of his quarterback and how the offense protected the ball.

The Bruins took the lead in the second quarter when Griffin threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brown.

Brown also scored on a 2-yard run late in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. He has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the last three games.

“It’s a lot of fun being a 1-2 punch (with Felton),” said Brown, who added 72 yards on 16 carries. “He’s shown what he can do and I’ve shown what I can do. Our offensive line also does a great job creating big holes for us.”

When Arizona turned the ball over on downs in the second quarter, Felton would add to the lead on a six-play drive punctuated with his one-yard touchdown run for a 17-7 lead and the Bruins would lead 20-10 at half.

The Wildcats suffered their 10th straight loss under coach Kevin Sumlin, as starting quarterback Grant Gunnell went down with an injury on the first play from scrimmage.

Will Plummer entered the game in relief of Gunnell but was unable to get the Wildcats on the scoreboard.

But he got help from Michael Wiley, who scored on a 3-yard touchdown run that gave the Wildcats their only lead, 7-0, after the Bruins had failed to convert a fourth down on their own 22. Arizona was held to a field goal in the third quarter.

The Bruins have outscored each of its opponents in the fourth quarter this season and allowed just three points in the final period of the season-opener against Colorado.

The defense has come alive this season behind its ability to get behind opposing offensive lines and pressure the quarterback.

The Bruins entered the game averaging nine tackles for loss per game but only recorded five against Arizona.

Defensive back Obi Eboh had two of the five tackles for a loss and also had a sack.

“You’ve got to give credit to the game plan that (defensive coordinator Jerry) Azzinaro and (assistant head coach Brian) Norwood put together for us,” Eboh said.

What the Bruins lacked in tackles for a loss, they made up for with two second half interceptions.

Junior defensive back Stephan Blaylock made his first career interception while redshirt junior defensive back Elijah Gates added his second career interception. Gates also had an interception against the Wildcats in 2018.

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UCLA football duo invited to compete in Reese’s Senior Bowl

UCLA defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and running back Demetric Felton will compete in the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, after accepting an invitation.

The senior bowl is an annual all-star college football exhibition game played in Mobile Alabama on Jan. 30, 2021.

Odighizuwa had 101 tackles, including 25 for a loss, and nine sacks in 39 career games for the Bruins.

Please OFFICIALLY welcome the next accepted invite to the 2021 @Reeses Senior Bowl 💪💪💪@UCLAFootball Osa Odighizuwa (@Osagoeshard) #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE #8Clap @JimNagy_SB @PaniniAmerica #RatedRookie pic.twitter.com/vkQfhlB4IX

— Reese’s Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 21, 2020

Felton has played both wide receiver and running back during his UCLA career. He has rushed for 597 yards and three touchdowns on 136 carries in 39 games. As a receiver, the Great Oak alumnus has 87 catches for 873 yards and six touchdowns.

It’s OFFICIAL. @UCLAFootball WR Demetric Felton @demetricfelton7 is heading to the @Reeses Senior Bowl! #BestOfTheBest #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE #GoBruins @JimNagy_SB @PaniniAmerica #RatedRookie pic.twitter.com/15695PBKTb

— Reese’s Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 21, 2020

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UCLA rally falls short in season opener against Colorado

  • UCLA running back Demetric Felton, front center, is stopped by, from left to right, Colorado linebacker Carson Wells, linebacker Akil Jones, defensive end Mustafa Johnson and cornerback Chris Miller in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer, right, throws a pass under pressure from UCLA defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, left, looks to throw the ball under pressure froim Colorado cornerback Chris Miller in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado linebacker Carson Wells, left, celebrates his interception of a pass with defensive tackle Lloyd Murray Jr. in the first half of an NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado linebacker Carson Wells, center, inercept a pass thrown by UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, right, for wide receiver Kyle Philips, left, in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA running back Demetric Felton, front, is tackled by Colorado linebacker Akil Jones after catching a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson looks to pass the ball against Colorado in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA linebacker Bo Calvert, left, looks to tackle Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer after a short gain in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado running back Jarek Broussard reacts after rushing for a touchdown against UCLA in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado special teams player Derrion Rakestraw, left, forces UCLA punt-returner Kyle Philips to fumble a punt in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado safety Isaiah Lewis, front right, hits UCLA running back Demetric Felton who loses control of the ball for an incomplete pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA defensive back Grady Liddell (20) leads teammates onto the gridiron to face Colorado in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell, center, leads his players onto the gridiron to host UCLA in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA defensive back Quentin Lake, left, stops Colorado wide receiver Dimitri Stanley after he caught a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado running back Jarek Broussard, front center, rolls into the end zone for a touchdown against UCLA in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, left, looks to pass the ball as Colorado defensive end Mustafa Johnson, center, fights for position with UCLA offensive lineman Paul Grattan, right, in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • A guard holds up signs for rules to follow for fans to deal with the coronavirus in the first half of an NCAA college football game as Colorado hosts UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Colorado running back Jarek Broussard reacts after rushing for a touchdown against UCLA in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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A lot of crazy and unpredictable things have happened in 2020, but UCLA’s football team isn’t one of them.

The Bruins are still an exciting and excruciating team to watch, but the results remain the same.

It was hoped that junior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, as flashy and productive as he was, would protect the ball better in his third-year starting after tying for the most turnovers in college football last year with 19.

It was hoped that bringing defensive backs coach Brian Norwood over from Navy and implementing his 4-2-5 defense would improve the embarrassment of not being among the top 100-ranked defenses over the last two years.

And there was hope that Bruins coach Chip Kelly, once a college football coaching star at Oregon, would finally get the Bruins going after winning just seven games in his two previous seasons, and going 4-8 last year.

After game one, the answer is no, but at least the Bruins kept fighting.

Thanks to four turnovers in the first half, Colorado raced to a 28-point lead and even though the Bruins clawed back, they couldn’t claw all the way back, falling to the Buffaloes 48-42 at Folsom Field in a game that was one of the most winnable on their short seven-game schedule.

“I think we put our defense in a bad situation in the first half,” Kelly said during a zoom call afterward. “We dug to deep a hole in the first half to be able to come back.”

Thompson-Robinson put up good numbers, and almost engineered a big comeback, throwing for 303 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown, but he also had two turnovers, and one that led to a touchdown and was part of the reason the Bruins fell in a big hole early.

Thompson Robinson’s 9-yard TD pass to Mike Martinez with 1:35 left brought the Bruins to within six points, but the Buffaloes grabbed the onside kick and that was that.

It was obviously another frustrating start and loss for Kelly, and those quick to judge him because he’s in his third year means little to him.

“I don’t think the year has anything to do with it,” Kelly said. “I don’t care if it was year one or year forty. Penalties and turnovers are things you can’t do if you’re trying to win football games in this league.”

UCLA’s defense couldn’t do anything to stop an offense led by Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer, a redshirt senior making his first start.

Noyer nearly transferred from Colorado this season after they converted him to safety, but they talked him out of the portal and with another shot to play QB, who better than UCLA to make him look like a star.

Noyer threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 64 yards and a TD. Jarek Broussard rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns, and the Buffaloes piled up the yards like teams did against them all last year, finishing with 525 yards combined through the air and ground.

“Nothing,” Kelly said when asked what Colorado did differently on offense, particularly under new first-year coach Karl Dorrell. “It  was the same offense they ran a year ago. Again, we put our defense in bad situations.”

Kelly was asked about the Buffaloes’ 261 yards rushing.

“I can’t look at that part of it and say we didn’t come up where we needed to come up, I think they’re obviously going to run a lot more because they were up the way they were up,” Kelly said. “They’re trying to work clock and they probably ran the ball more than they thought they were going to coming into it.”

The knockdown punches came early.

With UCLA’s first chance to get the ball, Kyle Phillips fumbled the punt and it led to Broussard eventually scoring on a six-yard TD run. And then Thompson-Robinson made things even worse following the ensuing kickoff,  throwing a pick to Carson Wells that was almost returned for a touchdown, with Wells returning it 14 yards to the Bruins’ 1.

That set up another easy score for Broussard, his second touchdown in less than two minutes and a 14-0 lead.

Thompson-Robinson was disappointed with the turnovers and the start, noting that coaches remind him how deflating they can be.

“Yeah, I mean, any turnovers hurt right,” Thompson-Robinson said. “Our coaches bring up a statistic from the NFL. If you have two or more turnovers you might as well go home. So, It’s hard to turnover the ball and still win the game. The coaches talked about it after the game, we dug ourselves a big hole and couldn’t dig ourselves out.”

After trading scores, The Bruins’ turnovers continued to haunt them with Demetric Felton fumbling inside their own 10, and it took Broussard just two plays to cash it in, scoring on a one-yard run for a 28-7 lead.

After the Buffaloes extended their lead to 35-7 on Jaren Mangham’s two-yard run, Bruins tight end Greg Dulcich was able to stop the bleeding, turning a short pass into a 52-yard touchdown and the Bruins trailed 35-14 at half.

The Bruins used that momentum to open the third quarter with Thompson-Robinson going 65-yards for a touchdown to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 35-21.

The Bruins’ good fortune continued after Jay Shaw blocked a field goal attempt with Qwuantrezz Knight, grabbing it and returning it 17 yards to the Bruins’ 40.

It took the Bruins just six plays to cash it in on Felton’s 15-yard touchdown run to pull with seven, trailing 35-28. Felton, a combo back, had a decent game, rushing for 57 yards to go with seven receptions for 46 yards.

But the Bruins could never pull ahead.

“I think there are a lot of positives you can build on,” Kelly said. “Mounting the comeback that we did, there were some positives things there. But it’s a matter of everything, you have to look at the whole game and how do we clean up what happened to us in the first half and build on what happened to us in the second half.”

Colorado snapped UCLA’s 21 straight unanswered point streak after Noyer finished a 10-play, 75 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to go back up, 42-28.

UCLA answered back with Thompson-Robinson and Keegan Jones hooking up for a 26-yard score, cutting Colorado’s lead to 42-35, but the Buffaloes added a pair of field goals from Evan Price to extend their lead to 48-35 early in the fourth quarter.

Thompson-Robinson noted the long layoff between last season to Saturday’s game probably contributed to the poor start and some of the sloppiness.

“For sure, we haven’t played against a live opponent in almost a year,” Thompson-Robinson said. “You see it around the country, guys are making mistakes early on, and even later on in the season too. It’s definitely a tough year, it’s different, it’s not like any other year.”

The Pac-12 was late to the college football party, deciding late in the summer to start the season in November and play a seven-game schedule over seven weeks.

Two Pac-12 games were cancelled over the weekend due to coronavirus outbreaks including Arizona’s game against Utah and California’s opener against Washington. UCLA is scheduled to host Utah next Friday, but the Utes game was cancelled because of positive coronavirus cases within their program, so the Bruins will learn more about whether their game will continue early next week.

“I think our league and everybody is working on trying to come to a resolution,” Kelly said about next week’s game. “Utah is working very hard from their end but we haven’t got any final clarification on that.”

 

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UCLA alumnus Krys Barnes test positive for coronavirus, placed on reserve/COVID-19 list by Packers

The Green Bay Packers placed linebacker Krys Barnes and reserve quarterback Jordan Love on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The list is for a player who has tested positive or has been in close contact with an infected person.

Barnes, who is asymptomatic, played in the Packers’ 34-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. Barnes left the game early with a calf injury. He has started seven of the eight games he has played in this season, totaling 49 tackles and a sack.

Love is not known to have tested positive but is a roommates with Barnes.

The Packers drafted Love in the first round out of Utah State while Barnes went undrafted before signing with the Packers after four years at UCLA. The rookies were also teammates Liberty High in Bakersfield.

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UCLA alumnus Krys Barnes test positive for coronavirus, placed on reserve/COVID-19 list

The Green Bay Packers placed linebacker Krys Barnes and reserve quarterback Jordan Love on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The list is for a player who has tested positive or has been in close contact with an infected person.

Barnes, who is asymptomatic, played in the Packers’ 34-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. Barnes left the game early with a calf injury. He has started seven of the eight games he has played in this season, totaling 49 tackles and a sack.

Love is not known to have tested positive but is a roommates with Barnes.

The Packers drafted Love in the first round out of Utah State while Barnes went undrafted before signing with the Packers after four years at UCLA. The rookies were also teammates Liberty High in Bakersfield.

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5 potential breakout players for UCLA football in 2020

There was offseason turnover at positions such as tight end and linebacker that will require UCLA to find new faces to fill the void this season. The five players on this list include returning players who will have to take on a bigger role and incoming graduate transfers who can apply what they learned with another program to help the Bruins in 2020:

Jordan Wilson, TE, Sr. – The tight end has played the last three seasons for the Bruins, but Wilson has the opportunity to take on a bigger role with the early departure of Devin Asiasi. Asiasi started all 12 games in 2019 and was drafted by the New England Patriots in April.

Tight ends played a crucial role in the offense during conference play last season, including the final three games, when Asiasi had 18 catches for 312 yards.

Wilson didn’t contribute as much in the last two seasons as he did in 2017 when he made six starts and caught 16 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Obi Eboh, DB, Sr. – The Bruins had one of the Pac-12’s worst pass defenses in 2019, but the addition of incoming Stanford transfer Obi Eboh could help bolster the depth at cornerback.

Unlike some of the other incoming grad transfers, Eboh comes from another Pac-12 program where he started.

“I’ve been seeing these guys (in the Pac-12) for three or four years so I think every team on the schedule I’ve played,” Eboh said.

Eboh had 23 tackles and started six of the 12 games he played for the Cardinal last season.

Brittain Brown, RB, Sr. – Brown joined the UCLA backfield this offseason as a graduate transfer from Duke. His arrival adds more than depth behind Demetric Felton.

With Felton expected to be the lead back this season, Brown can still contribute to an offense that features several returning pieces.

Brown was a candidate for the Doak Walker Award in 2019, the award given annually to the best running back in the nation, but he had his season cut short because of a shoulder injury.

At Duke, he had 222 carries for 1,126 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in three seasons.

Damian Sellers, LB, Fr. – The four-star linebacker from Scottsdale, Ariz., has the potential to contribute early as a true freshman at a position that had the biggest turnover because of graduation.

Sellers, who had 166 tackles, 23.5 sacks and recovered three fumbles in his last three years at Saguaro High, had offers from LSU, Oklahoma and USC among others.

Bo Calvert, LB, Jr. – Calvert has also stepped up and is expected to be a starter. He played in one game in 2019, the season finale against Cal (seven tackles), after missing the first 11 games due to academic suspension.

In 2018, the Oaks Christian alumnus was a reserve linebacker and a member of the special teams unit. He had nine total tackles in five games.

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UCLA adds receiver Isaiah Newcombe to 2021 class

UCLA received its ninth commit of its 2021 recruiting class Saturday night.

Three-star wide receiver Isaiah Newcombe, from Arizona, announced his commitment to the Bruins’ program via Twitter. He is UCLA’s fourth commitment in the last eight days.

Man!! Words can’t describe how excited I am right now!!🤩@CoachNewcombe @MsRachelN @UCLAFootball @GeoffreyLeins @CoachJimmieD @EthanYoungFB @CasteelFootball pic.twitter.com/rjL3pVo82z

— Isaiah Newcombe (@IsaiahNewcombe) June 14, 2020

“I would like to thank my family, friends, and coaches for supporting me throughout this whole process,” Newcombe tweeted. “I would also like to thank my dad for everything. You’ve helped in so many ways, you’ve pushed me to be the best. I would also like to thank all my teachers for helping and guiding me. After weeks of talking and praying over this, I’m excited to announce my commitment to the University of California, Los Angeles.”

Newcombe, 6-1, 185, is the third receiver committed to the Bruins’ 2021 class, joining Ezavier Staples and DJ Justice. According to 247Sports.com, Newcombe is not nationally ranked but the site lists him as the No. 10 prospect out of the state of Arizona.

With his addition, UCLA’s class falls to No. 5 in the Pac-12 and No. 58 nationally after rising to No. 4 in the conference and No. 54 earlier in the week with Deshun Murrell’s commitment.

The Arizona native chose UCLA over offers from Washington, Utah, Boise State and Fresno State.

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Former UCLA football coach Pepper Rodgers dies at 88

Former UCLA football coach Pepper Rodgers died Thursday after reportedly being hospitalized for injuries suffered in a fall at his home in Reston, Va., last week. He was 88.

A statement about his passing from his alma mater, Georgia Tech, did not give a cause of death.

Rodgers coached the Bruins for three seasons from 1971-1973. After a 2-7-1 record his first season, he turned the program around for winning seasons of 8-3 and 9-2 his last two years. He was named the Pac-8 Coach of the Year after the 1972 and 1973 seasons.

Under head coach Tommy Prothro, Rodgers was also an assistant coach for the Bruins during the 1965 and 1966 seasons. Prior to that he held assistant coaching positions at Air Force (from 1958-1959) and at Florida (1960 to 1964). His first head coach role came in 1967 for Kansas, where he led the Jayhawks to a Big Eight Championship during his second season.

He followed his time at UCLA by returning to Georgia Tech to coach his alma mater. In his six seasons with the Yellow Jackets, he led the team to four winning seasons and was twice named the Southern Independent Coach of the Year.

“I am devastated to learn of the passing of Pepper Rodgers,” Georgia Tech Athletics Director Todd Stansbury said in a release. “He was a Georgia Tech legend, having won a national championship as an outstanding player and going on to compile four winning seasons in six years as head coach.

“On a personal note, he was the coach that recruited me to Georgia Tech, and I am eternally grateful to him for bringing me here. If it weren’t for Pepper, I would have never had the opportunity to live out my dreams as a Tech student, football player, alumnus and, now, athletics director. He has also been a mentor and friend throughout my professional career and I will miss him greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Livingston, his family and his many, many friends. We have lost a great Tech man.”

Rodgers had two professional coaching roles, first in the United States Football League with the Memphis Showboats (from 1984 to 1985), and with the Memphis Mad Dogs of the Canadian Football League in 1995.

He served as vice president of football operations for the Washington Redskins from 2001-2004.

As a quarterback for Georgia Tech in the 1950s, Rodgers led the Yellow Jackets to two conference championships, two Sugar Bowl victories and a share of the 1952 national championship with Michigan State. He was named the MVP of the 1954 Sugar Bowl and inducted into the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 2018.

After his collegiate football career came to a close, he spent five years in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot.

Rodgers is survived by his wife, Livingston, his daughters, Terri and Kelly, and his sons, Rick and Kyle.

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