By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Last Friday the UCLA football team had concluded it’s final practice for preparation for a game against the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl.
When Head Coach Chip Kelly returned to his office he learned not only did the game date change, but so did the opponent. Because of COVID-19 positive tests Utah had to bow out and CAL was the new opponent. The Bears were scheduled to play Washington earlier this month, however that was canceled due to a positive test on the team.
So on Sunday at the Rose Bowl the Bruins took on the Bears and they came out blazing jumping out to a 27-10 first half lead.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed and ran his way through the Bears defense connecting on 14 of 26 passes for 196 yards after throwing a first quarter interception.
The junior QB engineered a nine play 77-yard drive that included an 18-yard run and was capped with a 27-yard TD pass to Freshman Charles Njoku for his first career TD reception.
Thompson-Robinson showed his athletic ability accounting for four first half touchdowns. He also rushed for 52 yards on 8 carries giving him 161 yards in two games this season.
Dometric Felton ran for 107 yards on 25 carries to lead a ground attack and Brittan Brown had 71 yards as they totaled 244 yards on the ground.
The Bruins (1-1) ran a rapid pace offense that put CAL back on their heels. “Tempo helped out a lot,” said D-T-R. “We found out early that it was going to be a big key in the game so we used that to our advantage.”
Senior Greg Dulchic had 3 receptions for 80 yards including a 44-yard reception as the Bruins rolled up 440 yards of offense.
On the defensive side Qwuantrezz Knight and Osi Odighizuwa had five tackles a piece while Mo Osling III chipped in with four as the Bruins limited CAL to 178 yards of offense and 11 first downs. They only allowed 4 of 14 third down conversions. It was just the third time since 2009 UCLA held an opponent under 200 yards offense.
The defense looked at Denver Bronco game film to prepare because Coach Bill Musgrave was Offensive coordinator there before joining the CAL staff.
Coach Kelly summed the weekend situation: “We’re just grateful we get the opportunity to play. What’s going on with COVID in this country is crazy. I don’t know what the future holds but as long as you get to play football in a safe environment. As long as it’s going to be safe we’ll go play.”