The UCLA Bruins (10-2) dominated the Virginia Tech Hokies 42-12 in the 84th Sun Bowl. With some hard-hitting football and much needed second-half adjustments, the Bruins powered through this game against an opponent they have never played on the gridiron. In his second year, head coach Jim Mora was not only able to win his first bowl game, but also accomplished the difficult feat of winning ten games in a season. Let us see how it all went down!
The Bruins started the game with a drive that took just over a minute to get a touchdown. Brett Hundley used his strong legs to get UCLA off to a 7-0 lead. Virginia Tech had called the perfect play to sack Hundley in the backfield, but the agile Bruin QB had too many moves. The space on his left side, opened up a clear path for a 7-yard score.
Despite both QBs having less than stellar passing games, one throw in particular from the Hokie’s offensive leader, Logan Thomas, saw skilled teammate, Kalvin Kline, catch a 36-yard pass which set up a 2-yard run by C.J. Coleman. The game was tied, 7-7.
The Bruin defense had their hands full with Thomas, fortunately/unfortunately, the Bruins managed to stop him by knocking him out of the game completely. Jordan Zumwalt had a clean look at Thomas and floored him three minutes into the second quarter. Advantage, Bruins.
Hundley showed what he is made of on their sixth possession of the game. The Bruins only needed two plays, Hundley’s two legs and 86-yards to get the Bruins up on the Hokies, 14-7. The run itself was spectacular, but the block that WR Devin Fuller put on a VT defender broke it all open for Hundley.
Just over 5 minutes left in the third, Shaq Evans muffed a punt that gave the ball to the Hokies on the UCLA 13. They do not call it the “Sun Bowl” for nothing. As Evans was looking up for the punt, the sun distracted him and the ball fell out of his hands. Luckily for Evans, the Bruin D was able to stop every TD attempt, while Virginia Tech had to settle for a field goal. UCLA up, 14-10.
At the end of the third period, UCLA picked up the pace and started to play their own game. Their effort lead them into the last quarter where Paul Perkins ran the ball into the endzone “untouched”, less than a minute into the fourth. The O-Line, which had been beaten up throughout the day, did a good job to move the VT D-Line away so Perkins could, well, walk in for the score. Bruins lead, 21-10.
Trying not to go down without a fight, back-up VT QB Mark Leal, made a fatal error that fell into the hands of “Linebacker” Myles Jack. While trying to scramble out of the pocket, Leal let fly an errant pass attempt. How he could not see that hair and midriff of Jack, is on him. Jack intercepted the ball and took it to the house and UCLA was dominating at that point, 28-10.
The Hokies needed a little help from the Bruins to score as punter, Sean Covington, stepped out of bounds on a punt. Instant safety. UCLA lead, 28-12
The Bruins were not done either, especially Jordan Zumwalt who was playing in his last game as a Bruin. Not only was he making big hits on defense, but he got an interception with just over 8 minutes left in the game and took it down to the Hokie 10-yard line. That lead to a TD catch by Thomas Duarte who had nothing but space in the endzone. UCLA rolling, 35-12.
That wasn’t even the icing on the cake.
After getting the ball back again, Hundley had let fly a rocket to a streaking Evans for a 59-yard touchdown strike. The funny thing is that UCLA attempted this several times throughout the game and only managed to get a completion so close to the end of the game. UCLA was smacking around Va Tech at that point, 42-12.
So the #BruinRevolution rolls on as UCLA gets their first 10-win season since 2005. We now wait for Hundley’s decision about next year. It is a big decision and whether he chooses to stay or not, UCLA has a bright future ahead of them. Good job, Bruins.