By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
There has been so much talk of UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly. Will he stay, will he go? He has to win so many games to keep his job. In a city like Los Angeles it’s hard not to hear those things when you play for Kelly.
The team responded big time as they jumped on Hawaii scoring 24 first quarter points on the way to a 44-10 win at the Rose Bowl.
It was the first non conference win for Kelly after going 0-6 including 0-5 vs. power 5 schools his four years he has been at the helm. The Bruins were fired up during the pre-game warmups.
On the first possession they held the Rainbows to a three and out. That’s when sophomore punter Mathew Shipley went down to get a low snap and punted the ball away. The play went to review and the officials said Shipley’s knee touched the ground giving the Bruins the ball first and ten at the Rainbow 15. Three plays later Nicholas Barr-Mara kicked a 27-yard field goal.
A few minutes later the offense put together a ten-play drive in which seven of them were running plays and Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet ran their way through the Rainbow defense.
Charbonnet finished the drive off breaking through line and accelerating past the defense untouched for a 21-yard score. The run brought the crowd of 32,982 on its feet that made it 10-3.
The transfer from Michigan led all rushers with 106 yards on just six carries a (17.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He’s the first to score three since Joshua Kelley against Arizona in 2019.The veteran Brown added 78 yards on 13 carries for a 6.0 average with a TD.
The team had 392 total yards of offense with 244 coming on the ground and 148 through the air.
“It’s comforting to know there’s not much of a transition between either one of those guys,” said Kelly. “At times we really relied on Josh [Kelley] a lot. There were times we could get [Dominic] Felton in from wide receiver and he’d start to pick it up. He’s being used in the NFL right now at slot and running back. Brittain and Zach are similar in terms of body types and the types of runs they can do. They are three down backs. When you play the schedule we have to play, we need to have multiple backs. I was very happy with how those guys played today.”
In 2019 Charbonnet as a freshman at for the Wolverines he rushed for 726 yards and 11 TD’s. But during the 2020 he had just 19 carries for 124 yards. He then was “odda there” entering transfer protocol in January
“They run angry,” said Junior Lineman Jon Gaines III. “We love that as an offensive line, to be able to have the opportunity to get them to the second and third level and see what they can do it’s a great experience for us.”
All eyes were anticipating Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s senior debut and he connected on 10 of 20 passes for 130 yards including a 44-yard strike to Kazmier Allen and no INT’s or fumbles on the day.
Special teams play a role as Ale Kaho blocked a Rainbow punt and David Prieb recovered it in the endzone.
The defense did a solid job only giving up 243 passing yards and holding the Rainbows to just 26 rushing yards. Mo Osling III had five while Qwuantrezz Knight, Steven Blaylock, Carl Jones Jr. and Mitchell Agude each had 4. They had seven tackles for loss by seven different players.
Senior Datona Jackson intercepted a Chevon Cordeiro pass and returned it 11 yards to set up a score. It was his first career pick. Jay Shaw of Centennial Corona added his fifth career interception later in the game.
BRUIN NOTES: The Bruins had no turnovers in the game something that was very troubling in2020… The 34-point win is the biggest margin since they defeated Nevada 58-20 in 2013… Bruins improve to 4-0 vs the Rainbows from a series that started in 1935…
UP NEXT: LSU at the Rose Bowl- Coach Kelly made a statement at practice Monday- “First-off our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Louisiana, it’s a lot bigger than football. They experienced Katrina 15 years ago and this story is a lot bigger. I hope they stay safe and I feel for coach O. they had to leave their families.”
Coach Ed Orgeron is returning back to So Cal. He was an assistant from1998 to 2004 at USC and worked under Pete Carrol helping win two National Titles. He returned in 2010 as an assistant and was named interim head coach for the Trojans in 2013.
After winning the National Title in 2019 the Tigers had had a rough 2020 going 5-5 finishing 4th in the SEC West. This year with a revamped coaching staff he looks to bring the # 15 Tigers back to the top.