By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
It was a tail of two halves as UCLA came back from what was looking like another danger zone killer. With Bruins trailing in the first half and the Rose Bowl crowd of 36,573 silenced and low keyed. “You got to perform if you want people to come see you,” said former Bruin Brenden Ayuanbodejo honorary game captain.
On the last play of the half Nicholas Barr-Mira ‘s 40-yard field goal put UCLA within 10. The best part of the night for the home team was they did what they had to do and out- scored Colorado (3-7,2-5) in the second half 34-0 which enabled them to come away with a 44-20.
The Bruins came alive in the second half and when the dust cleared Zach Charbonnet had three rushing touchdowns for the second time this season, Dorian Thompson-Robinson rolled up 356 yards of total offense and UCLA became bowl eligible for the first time in four years.
Charbonnet had all of his scores in the second half as the Bruins rallied from a 20-7 second-quarter deficit with 37 straight points
“Like I said at the beginning of the week, we still have stuff to play for and obviously the bowl game was one of them. So now we can check that off the list, but the work’s not done,” said DTR whose 23-yard keeper in the third quarter that put the Bruins on top for good at 23-20.The team scored on four straight drives.
With the win UCLA (6-4, 4-3) became the fifth team from the Pac-12 to become bowl eligible. It is also the first time they will play in a bowl in Chip Kelly’s four-year tenure.
“We felt confident when we were in at halftime. There weren’t a lot of adjustments,” Kelly said. “We just had to play our game and I think all three phases really played their game in the second half.”
It is the second time this season Charbonnet has had three touchdowns. The junior, who finished with 67 yards on 17 carries, scored from 2 yards out on the opening drive of the third quarter to get the Bruins within 20-16.
After a DTR score, Charbonnet ended the next two drives with TDs.
DTR led the team in rushing with a season high 99 yards and completed 18 of 27 passes for 257 yards and he did have one interception.
“I was pretty (ticked) and frustrated at halftime. We had some penalties in the first half and I obviously wasn’t playing my best,” he said. “We knew we had to pick each other up.”
Kyle Philips’ had 8 catches for 99 yards and had a nifty 82-yard punt return in the fourth quarter to finish up the scoring.
BRUIN NOTES: UCLA Takes on USC this week at the Coliseum. Kyle Phillips was named PAC 12 special teams Player of the Week.