Oct 16, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris (9) passes against the UCLA Bruins during the first quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Dorian Thompson-Robinson tosses 2 TDs as UCLA edges Washington

Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as UCLA defeated Washington 24-17 Saturday night in a Pacific-12 Conference game in Seattle.

It was the second consecutive victory for the Bruins (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) and the second straight defeat for the Huskies (2-4, 1-2).

Thompson-Robinson hit tight end Greg Dulcich over the middle on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 8:19 remaining to break a 17-all tie.

The Huskies reached midfield on their next possession, but Dylan Morris’ deep ball for Rome Odunze was intercepted by UCLA’s Devin Kirkwood at the 4-yard line with 4:50 remaining.

The Bruins then ran out the clock.

Thompson-Robinson, a senior, completed 21 of 26 passes for 183 yards and a 165.3 rating. He also gained 87 yards on 12 carries.

Zach Charbonnet rushed 21 times for 131 yards for the Bruins, who improved to 3-0 on the road.

Morris completed 20 of 30 passes for 184 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Teammate Kamari Pleasant rushed nine times for 80 yards.

Thompson-Robinson guided the Bruins to a 17-3 lead.

He threw a 17-yard scoring strike to Kam Brown with 29 seconds left in the first quarter to give UCLA a 7-3 lead.

After a 39-yard field goal by Nicholas Barr-Mira made it 10-3 with 7:04 left in the half, Thompson-Robinson scored on a 1-yard sneak on a fourth-and-goal play with 3:33 remaining to extend the lead to 17-3.

The Huskies responded with an eight-play, 69-yard drive, with Morris hitting Odunze in the back left corner of the end zone to make it 17-10 with 52 seconds left in the half.

The Huskies tied the score at 17-all on their first drive of the third quarter, with Morris sneaking in from a yard out on fourth-and-goal.

Washington’s Peyton Henry opened the scoring with a 25-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter.

The Huskies honored their 1991 national championship team with throwback uniforms.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) looks to pass against Fresno State Bulldogs defensive back Justin Houston (13) in the second quarter at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State, No. 20 UCLA face mirror images at QB

Arizona State faces No. 20 UCLA in a matchup Saturday of Pac-12 teams looking to get the upper hand in the conference’s Southern Division.

The Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will enter the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., after winning their first Pac-12 opener since Herm Edwards became head coach in 2018.

The 35-13 win over Colorado at home last week was highlighted by Jayden Daniels throwing for 236 yards and rushing for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a similar dual threat quarterback coming off 251 yards passing and 30 yards rushing with two touchdowns in the Bruins’ 35-24 win at Stanford last week.

Chip Kelly and Edwards were each hired in 2018 and Kelly has a 2-1 edge over Edwards heading into Saturday’s game.

Thompson-Robinson is 2-0 in his career against Arizona State. In those two victories, he is 34 of 47 (72.3 percent) for 368 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 23 times for 64 yards and one score.

“I don’t know if you stop him. I think you try to contain him,” Edwards said of Thompson-Robinson. “No one is going to stop him. Great athlete — you’re not going to stop him. You can try to contain him and hold him to a minimum. You have to understand your rush lanes.”

Practicing against Daniels during the week helped the Sun Devils prepare for Thompson-Robinson because of their similar styles.

“Our quarterback does the same thing. You run past him upfield and you open windows for the guy to escape,” Edwards said.

UCLA (3-1, 1-0) is hoping Thompson-Robinson will be healthy Saturday. He was in obvious pain clutching his right arm late in the win over Stanford.

“The one thing I don’t think gets mentioned enough with Dorian is how tough he is. He’s been tough from the get-go,” Kelly said. “It’s an underrated quality for a quarterback to be a tough guy. It’s something that we’ve known for four years now.”

Saturday’s game will feature two potent rushing offenses that are fueled by their running quarterbacks.

UCLA has produced 200 or more rushing yards in seven of its last 10 games and has held the advantage in the run game in 10 consecutive games.

Arizona State is at 211.5 rushing yards per game this season, second best in the conference, while averaging 3.8 rushing touchdowns in each contest.

Conversely, the rushing defenses of both teams are similarly strong.

UCLA is allowing only 2.4 yards per carry and 64.0 rushing yards per game, fifth-fewest in the country, while Arizona State’s defense is giving up 3.5 yards per carry and 123.3 yards per game on the ground.

A matter of concern is UCLA’s secondary, which has allowed 330.3 passing yards per game, ranking fifth-most in the nation — especially with Daniels as Saturday’s opponent. He is completing nearly 73 percent of his passes (69 of 95) while passing for 808 yards.

“I’m confident our coaching staff will put a pretty good plan together in how to defend him, but that’s obviously the key — Jayden is the key to that offense and we need to contain him because he’s explosive in the run game,” Kelly said.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA;  Fresno State Bulldogs wide receiver Ty Jones (8) makes a catch against UCLA Bruins defensive back Jay Shaw (1) in the second quarter at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresno State rallies back to stun No. 13 UCLA, 40-37

Jake Haener threw his two touchdown passes in the final 2:55, including a 13-yard game-winner to Jalen Cropper with 14 seconds remaining, and Fresno State survived to upset No. 13 UCLA 40-37 on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

Haener finished with 455 yards passing.

Fresno State (3-1) built a 23-10 lead at halftime over a UCLA team playing its first game since a Sept. 4 upset of LSU, using a combination of multifaceted offense and aggressive run defense to catch the Bruins off-guard.

Running back Ronnie Rivers scored on touchdown runs of one and 36 yards in the first half, and Cropper scored on a goal-line carry as the Bulldogs exploited a 49-16 disparity in plays run over the first two periods.

UCLA (2-1) came back, holding Fresno State out of the end zone for more than 33 minutes of game time after the second of Rivers’ touchdowns.

Quarterback Dorian-Thompson Robinson threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to Kyle Philips, and Zach Charbonnet rushed for the second of two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give UCLA two different leads.

Both times after falling behind, Fresno State answered.

The Bulldogs went 75 yards in 10 plays in 4:32, capped when Haener found Erik Brooks for a score to push the visitors ahead, 33-30.

UCLA responded with a scoring drive of its own, as Thompson-Robinson — who went 14-of-24 for 278 yards — connected with Philips for 15 of his team-high 113 yards receiving.

Fresno State then had gains of 10, 27 and 26 yards on the ensuing possession to set up Haener’s win-sealing strike to Cropper near the pylon. Cropper finished with 14 catches for 141 yards, while Haener went 39-of-53.

Rivers rushed for 136 yards to lead all ballcarriers and outgained the entire UCLA team.

The Bruins finished with 117 yards on the ground, but the running back tandem of Charbonnet and Brittain Brown, who had been vital in the win over LSU, were limited to 23 and 19 yards, respectively.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet (24) runs the ball against the Louisiana State Tigers during the second half the at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 UCLA well aware of what awaits in Fresno State

No. 13 UCLA returns home to Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday from an early bye week to host an upset-minded Fresno State team that has the Bruins’ complete attention.

While UCLA (2-0) is playing its first game since a high-profile win Sept. 4 over 2019 national champion LSU, and sport their best ranking since peaking at No. 7 in 2015, they come into Saturday’s nonconference matchup with a losing streak against the Bulldogs.

Fresno State (2-1) won each of the last three meetings with UCLA dating back to 2000, the most recent a 38-14 rout in 2018, during Chip Kelly’s first season as Bruins head coach.

The Bulldogs have a different head coach this time, with Kalen DeBoer taking over for Jeff Tedford following the 2019 season. But Fresno State’s ability to test Pac-12 opponents appears to be unchanged with the shift in leadership.

The Bulldogs led currently fourth-ranked Oregon in the fourth quarter of a 31-24 loss in Week 1.

Fresno State’s near-miss against the two-time reigning Pac-12 champion Ducks was the result of a rally from down 21-6 in the first half. The Bulldogs have started slow in all three games, including Week 0 and Week 2 blowouts of Connecticut and Cal Poly.

A faster start is crucial for Fresno State. Which has a cumulative first-quarter score of 14-14 in three games this season. UCLA, on the other hand, has started strong by outscoring Hawaii and LSU 24-3 in the opening quarter and 45-13 in the first half.

“You’ve got a team that it’s super important for them to just play well all the time, they start putting unneeded pressure on themselves,” DeBoer said. “Especially when you’re looking at (quarterback) Jake (Haener). He just wants to go out of the gates and make it happen.”

Whether he’s pressing early or not, the Fresno State quarterback caught Kelly’s attention with his eight passing touchdowns and three rushing scores through the Bulldogs’ first three games.

“He’s a really, really good football player,” Kelly said. “He’s got a knack for keeping plays alive.”

Kelly praised Heaner’s “knowledge” of the Fresno State system and compared the quarterback’s dual-threat play to that of NFL star Russell Wilson.

“When he takes off, he’s taking off looking for touchdowns,” Kelly said of Haener’s rushing.

On the topic of rushing, UCLA has been prolific on the ground to open the season. The Bruins are averaging 227.0 yards per game, with running backs Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet combining for 200.5 of them.

Charbonnet is averaging a whopping 13.1 yards per carry for 111.5 per game with four touchdowns. It has come in a breezy 17 rushing attempts.

The Bruins defense, meanwhile, has allowed only 75 rushing yards in its two outings. UCLA held both Hawaii and LSU to fewer than two yards per carry.

Fresno State had its work cut out for it establishing the run against Oregon, totaling 77 yards at 2.6 per carry, but went for four rushing touchdowns and 196 yards against FCS opponent Cal Poly.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet (24) scores on a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 LSU ready for first meeting with UCLA

UCLA’s season has gotten off to an impressive start.

No. 16 LSU already has had challenges getting ready for its opener against the host Bruins on Saturday.

UCLA rolled to a 44-10 home victory against Hawaii last Saturday as a tune-up for its first meeting against the Tigers, who evacuated to Houston over the weekend to avoid Hurricane Ida and prepare for their opener.

The Bruins got their first nonconference victory in seven tries under fourth-year coach Chip Kelly. Beating LSU would give Kelly his first nonconference win against a Power 5 opponent.

“This team is a special team,” Kelly said. “You can be a special team and get your tail kicked on weekends too, but the players we have right now are really special. … It’s a mature team. … They’re really disciplined in terms of what they want to do.”

Zach Charbonnet had 106 of the Bruins’ 244 rushing yards and ran for three touchdowns on just six carries. Brittain Brown added 78 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“If you ask me, I think we have the best running back duo in the country,” said quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who completed just 10 of 20 passes for 130 yards, which included a 44-yard touchdown to Kazmeir Allen.

UCLA held the Rainbow Warriors to 269 total yards and made two interceptions. Ale Kaho blocked a punt that David Priebe recovered in the end zone.

“Took care of the ball on offense, created turnovers on defense. … You couldn’t ask for more than that,” Thompson-Robinson said.

It was an encouraging start for a program seeking its first winning record in six years.

LSU is eager to put the disappointment of last season behind it by getting off to a winning start of its own. The Tigers were defending national champions when they were upset at home by Mississippi State 44-34 last season, setting the tone for a 5-5 record.

“This game is probably the most important starting game I’ve had since I’ve been head coach,” Ed Orgeron said of the opener for his fifth full season as head coach. “Our team knows that. For us to get on the right foot, to get to where we want to be, we have to start well.”

LSU also has been dealing with a series on injuries on offense. Sophomore Max Johnson won what was expected to be a close competition to be the starting quarterback when fifth-year player Myles Brennan suffered a broken bone in his non-throwing arm on the eve of preseason camp.

The Tigers’ two most experienced running backs — Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery Jr. — have been sidelined for much of preseason practice. Sophomore Josh Williams and highly regarded freshmen Corey Kiner and Armoni Goodwin have gotten most of the preseason snaps.

“I want Tyrion and John to be our running backs,” Orgeron said. “But they haven’t remained healthy throughout camp. Let’s see if they come back (for UCLA). If they come back and play well, they’re going to be fine. But if not, we have to find out who’s our best running back.”

Starting guard Chasen Hines and top reserve offensive lineman Anthony Bradford also have been injured, but Orgeron is hopeful that they will be ready this week.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet (24) scores on a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Charbonnet runs for 3 TDs, UCLA routs Hawaii in opener

Zach Charbonnet rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half of his UCLA debut Saturday, as the Bruins rolled to a 44-10 nonconference victory over visiting Hawaii in the season opener for both teams.

Brittain Brown added 78 yards rushing and one TD as UCLA jumped out to a 31-3 lead early in the second quarter and was never threatened. The Bruins piled up 393 total yards to 269 for the Rainbow Warriors.

Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro passed for 216 yards but could not help his team recover from a slow start. Hawaii had minus-3 net yards over its first three possessions and was outgained on the ground 246-26.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who missed 10 days of training camp for an unspecified reason, was off target early as the Bruins turned to the running game. Thompson-Robinson completed 10 of 20 passes for 130 yards and one TD.

Charbonnet, a California native who transferred to UCLA after two seasons at Michigan, had three rushing TDs less than 19 minutes into the game.

UCLA led 3-0 early in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Nicholas Barr-Mira, before getting 21-yard and 48-yard TD runs from Charbonnet and a 1-yard score from Brown to lead 24-3 after one quarter. Hawaii got a 48-yard field goal from Matthew Shipley.

Charbonnet scored again on a 21-yard run with 11:31 remaining in the first half and UCLA led 31-3 at halftime.

Thompson-Robinson got the Bruins’ passing attack going with a 44-yard TD strike to Kazmeir Allen on UCLA’s first drive of the second half for a 37-3 advantage.

UCLA increased the lead to 44-3 with 11:20 remaining in the third quarter on a blocked punt by Alabama transfer Ale Kaho and a recovery in the end zone by David Priebe.

Hawaii finally found the end zone with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter on Cordeiro’s 1-yard pass to Caleb Phillips, and the teams were scoreless in the fourth.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) moves the ball while UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa (92) defends during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA DL Odighizuwa declares for 2021 NFL Draft

UCLA defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa announced over social media that he will enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

“To my family, thank you for raising me to be humble and work hard. Y’all molded me and layed (sic) the groundwork for me to succeed,” Odighizuwa wrote in a graphic that was posted to Twitter by ESPN. “To the Bruin coaching staff, thank you for helping me grow and get closer to my dream. To my many UCLA brothers, I love and thank you all. Thank you for laughing with me, and grinding with me every day. I will never forget the countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears we shed side-by-side.”

Odighizuwa, whose older brother played two seasons for the New York Giants, recorded 30 tackles — including six for loss — and four sacks in seven games this season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) throws the ball before the game against the Southern California Trojans at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford looks to end season on high note vs. UCLA

Two teams hoping to finish with a winning record go head-to-head when Stanford visits UCLA on Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif.

The game pits a hot Stanford club (3-2) that’s won three in a row against a UCLA squad (3-3) that would like to believe one more win would be a springboard to a bowl bid.

Both teams have helped put entertainment back into Pac-12 football this season, with Stanford’s last four games having been decided by a total of 12 points, while UCLA’s three losses have been by a cumulative 14 points.

There’s been nothing competitive about recent Stanford-UCLA matchups. The Cardinal had won 11 in a row — including a meeting in the 2012 Pac-12 championship game — before UCLA went north and clobbered the Cardinal 34-16 last season.

Joshua Kelley ran all over Stanford that day with 176 yards, and even without the since-graduated star, the Bruins had a nice thing going on the ground last week in a 43-38 loss to Southern Cal, riding Demetric Felton (90 yards) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (50) to a 185-yard day.

Ethan Fernea hauled in a TD pass from Thompson-Robinson in the loss, a setback that didn’t necessarily eliminate the Bruins from bowl consideration. The Bruins haven’t been to a bowl since 2017, and they haven’t finished with a winning record since 2015.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re not bowl-eligible until we have a winning season,” Fernea noted. “So we have to win that Stanford game before we start thinking about other stuff.”

Stanford announced this week it would not accept a bowl bid if offered. So the Cardinal, who have beaten California, Washington and Oregon State their last three times out behind the strong play of quarterback Davis Mills, have been fully focused on UCLA this week as they’ve prepared for the game in nearby Santa Barbara.

“For this team to come back after being on the road the last few weeks and be on a three-game win streak, facing all kinds of odds,” Stanford coach David Shaw gushed this week. “We talk so much about character and recruiting the right guys. We push each other; we support each other.”

The Cardinal had a run of 10 straight years in a bowl game snapped last season, when they went 4-8. Stanford currently has the same record as Oregon (3-2), but the Ducks were chosen to represent the Pac-12 North in the conference championship game this week by virtue of a season-opening win over the Cardinal.

Mills did not play in that game. He has completed 71 percent of his passes (65-for-91) in the three-game winning streak.

UCLA’s Thompson-Robinson has seen his completion percentage improve in each of his four starts, capped by a near-perfect, 30-for-36, 364-yard, four-TD effort last week against Southern Cal.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) throws the ball before the game against the Southern California Trojans at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 USC holds off UCLA in final seconds

Amon-Ra St. Brown caught an 8-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to lift No. 15 USC to a 43-38 win against UCLA in a Pac-12 game on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Nicholas Barr-Mira made a 43-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to give UCLA a two-point lead.

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, a preseason all-conference first-team pick, completed 30 of 47 passes for 344 yards and five touchdowns. Tyler Vaughns caught eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Drake London and St. Brown caught two touchdowns each.

Vavae Malepeai rushed for 110 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown for USC, which secured a berth in the Pac-12 championship game earlier Saturday when Colorado lost to Utah.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 30 of 36 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Greg Dulcich caught eight passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.

London had given the Trojans a 36-35 lead when he caught his second touchdown pass of the game with 8:09 left, but USC could not convert the two-point try, allowing UCLA to move ahead on Barr-Mira’s field goal.

The Bruins (3-3) took a 35-23 lead when Thompson-Robinson threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 69-yarder to Dulcich, with 1:16 left in the third.

Malepeai answered with a 10-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 35-30 with 11:40 remaining, and Talanoa Hufanga intercepted his fourth pass of the season on the next UCLA possession to set up London’s second touchdown.

UCLA took advantage of a slow start by the Trojans to score the first 14 points of the game and eventually take a 21-10 lead into the half.

Brittain Brown scored on a 15-yard run on the opening drive of the second half to extend the lead to 28-10, but Slovis came back with touchdown passes to Vaughns and St. Brown to cut the lead to 28-23 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media