QUICK HITS: UCLA 49, Rice 24

By Bryan Fischer | Blogger

UCLA Won: The Brett Hundley (and, yes, Jim Mora) era is underway and thankfully for the powder blue faithful, it starts with a nice win on the road. Yes it was hot and yes there were issues, but a win is a win for UCLA. They blew a big lead -- it was 19-0 in the first after just five plays of offense -- and allowed Rice to get back into the game but maybe the heat and opening night jitters can explain away some of the sloppy game.

Why UCLA won: Big plays and Brett Hundley, simple as that. Yes, the Bruins let the Owls back in the game early but let's face it, they played solid on offense and looked attacking on defense to snag a win. The team equaled, on their very first play from scrimmage, the number of 70+ yard plays they had from all of last season and finished with three touchdowns of at least that long on the night. Johnathan Franklin looked sharp running the ball and showed improved burst from last year that resulted in several long runs that helped him top the 200-yard mark with three scores. You expect some sloppiness -- and there was plenty of that in stretches -- but all-in-all it was a solid open to the season for a team that needs all the wins they can get.

When UCLA won: Perhaps from the very first offensive play, when redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley took a keeper all the way to the house for a 72-yard touchdown run on his first ever snap at the collegiate level. Thanks to some mind-numbing mistakes -- two blocked extra points! -- UCLA managed to keep the game closer than expected during the first half but the new starter under center was efficient enough in his first start to get the team a win from the beginning.

What UCLA won: Jim Mora captured his first victory as a college head coach and the Bruins made it through a full game relatively unscathed after a fall camp full of various injuries and issues. Things were not perfect and there were a few lapses that will no doubt be corrected over the coming week but UCLA recorded some positives that the squad will be able to take home and build on against Nebraska.

What Rice lost: They lost their home opener, of course, but beyond a few flashes here or there, the Owls looked pretty bad in a few stretches. There were mental mistakes, there were tackling issues, blocking issues and plenty of penalties. As a positive, at least the special teams unit was able to block three extra points. The team turned things around late in the 1st quarter to make it close but in the end with a few big plays, but they were just overwhelmed by a BCS team and worn down.

That was crazy: Rice linebacker Cameron Nwosu set an NCAA single-game record when he blocked three extra point attempts in the first half. UCLA also scored more points and racked up more yards than in any game last season. In fact, they scored their most points since a 2005 game against Rice.

 
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