PASADENA, Calif. -- The UCLA defense got tested, as expected, by Nevada dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo. But fortunately for the Bruins, they’ve got a pretty good dual-threat guy as well in Brett Hundley. The second-year starter paced the Bruins with his arm and his legs and the Bruins erupted in the second half en route to a 58-20 victory. Here’s how it went down at the Rose Bowl.
It was over when: The Bruins, who led wire-to-wire, started to pull away in the third quarter. Leading 24-13, Kenny Orjioke blocked a Nevada punt deep in Wolf Pack territory. Phillip Ruhl recovered it on the hop and ran it in four yards for the score, extending the Bruins' lead to 31-13.
Game ball goes to: Gotta be Hundley, who picked up where he left off last season. Giving 2013 a sense of symmetry, UCLA’s first touchdown of the year came on a zone-read from Hundley, who scampered 37 yards for the touchdown. Last year, UCLA’s first touchdown of the season came on a 72-yard zone-read from Hundley. As a passer, he missed on a couple of deep balls, but hung in the pocket more than he did last season and made good decisions.
Unsung hero: Strong performance from running back Jordon James, who carried 21 times for 155 yards and a touchdown. The running back spot had been hotly debated following the departure of Johnathan Franklin, who was a finalist last year for the Doak Walker Award and the school’s all-time leading rusher. James spearheaded a rushing attack that totaled 345 yards on the ground.
Worth noting (1): The Bruins, who were the most penalized team in FBS football last year, were flagged 12 times for 93 yards.
Worth noting (2): Fajardo put some pressure on the Bruins by rushing for 79 yards and a score in the first half. But UCLA buckled down in the second half, holding him to just 27 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
What we learned about UCLA: The potential is there to be extremely explosive. Hundley looked sharp -- save a couple of deep throws -- and the running game didn't look like it missed a beat. Granted, there are tougher opponents ahead, but Nevada is no pushover, and the Bruins successfully pushed over them. This was a strong start for the Bruins and should be a good confidence boost as they prep for their next game on Sept. 14 at Nebraska.