The UCLA football team managed to get their first win of the season as the Bruins dismantled the California Golden Bears behind a solid performance across the board.
Berkeley, Calif. – It was a long time coming, but it finally happened. Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Chip Kelly, the UCLA football program claimed its first win of the 2018 season with a 37-7 victory over PAC-12 rival Cal.
With the win, the Bruins’ 2018 record improved to 1-5 overall, and 1-2 in conference play. Cal’s record moves to 3-3 (0-3 PAC-12).
More from Go Joe Bruin
- UCLA Football: It’s time for the nation to meet Dante Moore
- UCLA Football: Where are they ranked heading into week 4
- UCLA Football: Position battle breakdown for Utah showdown
- UCLA vs. Utah: Location, time, prediction, and more
- UCLA Football: Highlights from Chip Kelly’s appearance on the Jim Rome Show
Notably, Saturday’s win also marked the Bruin’s first road game victory in over two years when UCLA beat BYU 17-14 in Provo, Utah on September 17, 2016.
The Bruins drew first blood at the 2:18 mark in the first quarter when Joshua Kelley punched in a five-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a successful PAT by J.J. Molson. Kelley wouldn’t stop there as the junior would go on to score two more times and setting a new collegiate career-high in rushing yards with 157.
UCLA extended its lead in the second quarter to 13-0 after Molson tacked on a pair of back-to-back field goals. With seven seconds left on the clock in the first half, two well-placed timeouts by Chip Kelly iced Cal’s Thomas Gregg. Gregg’s attempted field goal then banked off the goalpost, giving the Bruins a comfortable lead heading into intermission.
At the half, UCLA posted 199 total yards (107 pass, 92 rush). Freshman standout quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 10-12 passes, leading to an impressive 158.2 passer rating. Kelley finished the first half with 114 yards off 19 carries. Caleb Wilson, arguably one of the best tight ends in the nation, led the Bruins’ receiving corps by hauling in 92 yards after being targeted five times.
However, the Golden Bears showed signs of life halfway through the third quarter when Cal’s Patrick Laird scored off a one-yard rush at the 8:38 mark, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 13-7.
The Bruins responded two minutes later when Kelley scored his second touchdown of the day off a one-yard rush, putting UCLA up 20-7. Kelley would find the end zone for the final time early in the fourth quarter off yet another one-yard rush, giving the Bruins a 28-7 advantage.
There’s still a long way to go, but Saturday’s win was a big step in the right direction for the Bruins as the team finally put together a complete game.
Five minutes into the fourth quarter, UCLA’s red-hot defense intercepted a Brandon McIlwain pass, paving the way for another successful offensive drive that would be capped-off by a Molson field goal.
Up 30-7, the Bruins would go on to score their final touchdown of the day with 5:38 left to play when UCLA’s Keisean Lucier-South scooped up a Mcllwain fumble and ran it back for 38 yards.
Thompson-Robinson finished the day by completing 13-15 of his passes for 141 yards, securing an outstanding 165.6 passer rating. Kelley earned 157 total rushing yards. Collectively, the Bruins tallied 348 total yards (207 rushing, 141 passing).
There’s still a long way to go, but Saturday’s win was a big step in the right direction for the Bruins as the team finally put together a complete game. This season has had a lot of “moral victories”, but today was especially encouraging as it officially put the Bruins in the win column.
UCLA’s offense was in sync, Thompson-Robinson ran (and passed) at will, and Kelley’s rushing attack was dominant. The Bruins’ defense put on its finest showing of the season by boasting 65 tackles, 39 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two sacks. Chip Kelly’s play calling reminded fans why he was such a hot commodity last offseason. Simply put, it was a good day to be a Bruin.
After spoiling Cal’s homecoming, UCLA will look to capitalize off today’s win and enjoy its own homecoming next Saturday when they welcome the Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 3-4) to the Rose Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.