LSU vs. UCLA score, takeaways: Revitalized Bruins cage No. 16 Tigers for biggest win since 2015

Concluding a rough Saturday for the Pac-12, the league received the boost it needed as UCLA pulled off a 38-27 takedown of No. 16 LSU in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins entered as slight underdogs but outmatched the Tigers physically by pressuring quarterback Max Johnson all night on their way to a marquee victory. It's the biggest win for the Bruins since 2015 when they beat then-No. 13 Utah 17-9. 

UCLA's defense sacked Johnson four times and knocked him down repeatedly while thriving behind a stout defense that held LSU to just 48 yards rushing. UCLA's offense wasn't bad, either, as Zach Charbonnet ran for 117 yards and a touchdowns on 11 carries. The Michigan transfer also hauled in a 35-yard reception in the second quarter to help set up a touchdown that put the Bruins up 14-7.

UCLA never relinquished the lead from there and put the game out of reach with 6:31 remaining when quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson found receiver Kyle Phillips for a 45-yard touchdown strike. The win improves UCLA to 2-0 under fourth-year coach Chip Kelly, who picked up his second win over a ranked opponent Saturday.

LSU will return to the drawing board with plenty to work on as it hosts McNeese State next week. UCLA is off in Week 2 before hosting Fresno State on Sept. 18. The Bruins have started 2-0 with wins by a combined 45 points over LSU and Hawaii in Week 0.

1. UCLA puts the Pac-12 on notice

This will be a tough reality for some to comprehend, but a Pac-12 team that hasn't recruited at an elite level dominated an SEC team that is loaded with talent up front. The Bruins are a veteran squad, and their offensive line helped open some big holes at timely moments for Charbonnet and Brittain Brown. Conversely, the LSU offensive line could not hold off UCLA's pass rush nor generate holes in the running game.

Unlike Kelly's Oregon teams that were built on perimeter speed, this team is built on physicality and legitimate veteran leadership. If Thompson-Robinson can play within himself, as he did most of the way Saturday, the Bruins will be a tough out in the Pac-12. Their schedule is tough as they must play Oregon and Washington out of the Pac-12 North. But the No. 11 Ducks struggled against Fresno State on Saturday, and the No. 20 Huskies fell to Montana from the FCS. If this game proves to be an accurate representation of who the Bruins are, don't be surprised if their game at USC on Nov. 20 has implications in the Pac-12 South title race.

2. Chip Kelly's big win

Regarded as a slam-dunk hire in November of 2017 because of his prior success at Oregon, Kelly had yet to find a winning formula at UCLA entering this season. After last season's 3-4 finish, in which all four losses came by a combined 15 points, he entered the 2021 season with only a 10-21 record with the Bruins.

It took longer than expected, but he finally has UCLA back to competing at a high level. In fact, Kelly's tenure now looks promising compared to many who were hired during the 2017-18 coaching carousel. He has outlasted Kevin Sumlin (Arizona), Chad Morris (Arkansas), Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee), Willie Taggart (Florida State) and Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State), and has his program trending up.

3. Greg Dulcich is a weapon

UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich's breakout 2020 season flew under the radar because of the Pac-12's abbreviated slate, but the former walk-on showed the conference he could play last season. On Saturday, he showed the country as well. Dulcich's three receptions went for 117 yards, including a 75-yard score that got the Bruins on the board. His other two receptions went for first downs and help set up UCLA scores.

4. Kayshon Boutte is special

LSU's speed on the perimeter showed up at times and was evident in the play of receiver Kayshon Boutte. The sophomore speedster finished the 2020 season with a 300-yard, three touchdown receiving effort against Ole Miss, and he picked up where he left off against the Bruins. Boutte again racked up three touchdown catches among his nine total receptions for 148 yards. It may not be much solace for Tigers fans in the moment, but they have a special talent in Boutte, and he clearly has chemistry with Johnson. He won't be eligible for the NFL Draft until 2023, but when he is, you can expect his name to be called in the first round. Junior receiver Trey Palmer also flashed breakout potential for the Tigers as he finished with seven catches after entering the game with just 11 for his career.

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UCLA +1.5, o63
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UCLA 1.5, O/U 63

Season Leaders

passing
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M. Johnson 2815 YD, 27 TDS, 6 INTS
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M. Johnson 2815 YD, 27 TDS, 6 INTS
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D. Thompson-Robinson 2409 YD, 21 TDS, 6 INTS
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D. Thompson-Robinson 2409 YD, 21 TDS, 6 INTS
rushing
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T. Davis-Price 211 ATT, 1004 YD, 6 TDS
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T. Davis-Price 211 ATT, 1004 YD, 6 TDS
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Z. Charbonnet 203 ATT, 1137 YD, 13 TDS
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Z. Charbonnet 203 ATT, 1137 YD, 13 TDS
receiving
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K. Boutte 38 REC, 509 YD, 9 TDS
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K. Boutte 38 REC, 509 YD, 9 TDS
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K. Philips 59 REC, 739 YD, 10 TDS
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K. Philips 59 REC, 739 YD, 10 TDS
Live updates
(108)
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UCLA does it

Tough spot for LSU after the Tigers were forced to leave Baton Rouge amid Hurricane Ida and finish preparing in Houston. They showed glimpses of potential tonight but were outmatched by a veteran team that looks ready to compete in the Pac-12 for the first time in Chip Kelly's fourth season.

September 5, 2021, 4:14 AM
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@UCLAFootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 4:18 AM
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Can LSU make it interesting?

Well, if there's a silver lining for the Tigers, Kayshon Boutte has been special. Just notched his third TD reception of the night to pull LSU within 38-27 with 4:06 remaining. Two timeouts remaining for the Tigers, who will likely need an onside kick at some point if they are going to pull a miracle. At the very least, this one isn't quite over yet.

September 5, 2021, 4:03 AM
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UCLA winning in the trenches

That's going to be a tough reality for some to wrap their heads around: a Pac-12 team that hasn't recruited at an elite level dominating an SEC team up front. But it's the reality of what's occurred tonight. The Bruins are a veteran squad, and their offensive line helped open some big holes at timely moments. Conversely, the LSU offensive line could not hold off UCLA's pass rush and could not generate holes in the running game. LSU had a speed edge on the perimeter, and it showed at times. But they were outworked at the line of scrimmage and out-schemed.

September 5, 2021, 3:59 AM
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@UCLAFootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:52 AM
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Ballgame?

Wow, the Bruins may have just sealed it as DTR finds Kyle Phillips for a 45-yard score. He broke loose from Derek Stingley Jr. and scampered down the sideline to make it a three-score game. 

September 5, 2021, 3:52 AM
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UCLA doing it on the ground

The Bruins struggled to run the football in the first quarter, but they are doing it now when it matters most, surging into LSU territory and bleeding the clock while nursing an 11-point lead. LSU looks gassed and is in desperate need of a turnover here. Bruins on the cusp of saving the day for the Pac-12.

September 5, 2021, 3:48 AM
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Big stop for UCLA

UCLA gets a stop and forces LSU to punt. This is where protecting the football absolutely MUST be a top priority for the Bruins. A turnover is the only way the Tigers seize momentum in this moment. Bruins on the cusp of a breakthrough victory under Chip Kelly if they can play smart football for the last 11:05.

September 5, 2021, 3:39 AM
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@UCLAFootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:32 AM
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@LSUfootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:32 AM
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Charbonnet/Dulcich strike again

Zach Charbonnet has broken loose a few times now, and his 43-yard carry sets up a UCLA touchdown to make it 31-20. Holding penalty appeared to set the Bruins back, but DTR found Dulcich (who else?) on 3rd-and-14 to set up a 1-yard score.

September 5, 2021, 3:32 AM
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@UCLAFootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:26 AM
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Buckle up

We head to the fourth quarter after each squad adds 10 in the third. Bruins have the ball to start the frame. Great, great nightcap for those of you just now paying attention after UGA-Clemson. UCLA has NOT backed down from LSU's physicality. In fact, UCLA's defensive front and pass rush has probably been the defining element of the game thus far. No running game for LSU.

September 5, 2021, 3:24 AM
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Get Max Johnson an ice bath

Seriously, they're going to have to fly him back in ice, because UCLA has put Max Johnson on the ground so many dang times in this game. Dude is warrior, for sure. Field goal gets the Tigers within 24-20. Shaping up to be a crazy finish. The temptation will be to malign the LSU offensive line, but UCLA's defensive front deserves a lot of credit, and the fact that its secondary hasn't broken against this group of playmakers is something that shouldn't be scoffed at as well.

September 5, 2021, 3:21 AM
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Ty Davis-Price's block

Wow, what a block by Davis-Price to give Max Johnson the extra second he needed on third down to extend a play and find Boutte. The blitz was bearing down and TDP just put his body on the line for his QB. That's a winning play right there for LSU.

September 5, 2021, 3:16 AM
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@LSUfootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:14 AM
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Dulcich again

UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich breaks free for a 23-yard completion to set up a Bruins' field goal to make it 24-17. Another excellent job in contain by the LSU defense to keep DTR from reaching the sticks on third down. Can't stress enough how critical that element has been to keep the Bruins somewhat bottled up in this game. LSU's only real defensive flaw has been in defending tight ends and slot guys.

September 5, 2021, 3:09 AM
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@UCLAFootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:09 AM
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@LSUfootball via Twitter
September 5, 2021, 3:07 AM
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