The UCLA football squad started off the Jim Mora era with a bang.
And then it whimpered. And then it left us off with a bang again.
The Bruins demolished the Rice Owls in possibly the most frustrating way a team can demolish someone.
After exploding — literally bursting out of the gates — to a 19-0 lead within just a couple of plays to start the game, the Bruins began to falter, letting Rice come within two points of a well-established lead, a lead that was sparked by Brett Hundley’s first college snap being a 72-yard touchdown run.
After Lou Spanos’ 3-4 defense proved to be inept against Rice’s option plays, things were entirely switched up, as Spanos abandoned the 3-4 in favor of playing more zone coverage.
And after the second half ended — with UCLA up just 35-24, leaving fans on Twitter dumbfounded (well, unsurprised) — Rice’s offense went to hell (or Lou Spanos sent them there), and the Bruins put their foot on the gas en route to a 49-24.
Those 49 points, mind you, was the most that UCLA has scored in seven years, back in December 30, 2005, when the Bruins hung 50 vs. Northwestern.
Here are some notable performances and stats:
- UCLA received 214 ground yards from Jonathan Franklin off of just 15 attempts. As we’ve said over and over, this dude has to be the best rusher in the Pac-12 in 2012.
- Brett Hundley’s debut saw him go 21-for-28 for 202 yards, two touchdowns, one pick, and 68 ground yards.
- Steven Manfro faded out, dropping punts left and right and even dropping an easy floater over his shoulder that would’ve culminated in a UCLA touchdown.
- Six different receivers caught three passes or more, and ten different players caught at least one pass.
- UCLA blanked Rice in the second half.
- All Jeff Locke ever does is kick for touchbacks.
We’ll have more on this game later. A hell of a lot more, even. Overall, it’s hard to be upset over a win like this, even if it did have its peaks and valleys.