The UCLA Bruins topped the Nevada Wolfpack by a score of 41-7 in a dominant performance in three facets of the game. However, there should be cause for concern as the team takes a step up in competition as starting signal-caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in Week 1.
Still, the game started off with a bang as CB Darnay Holmes returned the opening kick 103 yards to the house.
Darnay Holmes to the house on the opening kick — 103 yards for 6!!! pic.twitter.com/OyXN8LjsNu— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 20, 2020
It was that easy for Holmes as he made one man miss and used his speed to outrun the kick coverage unit for Nevada. The defense would open up play just as dominant as they held Nevada to a three-and-out on their opening series.
Running back Joshua Kelley looked strong in his first action of the year as well, rushing for two first downs on the opening drive that ultimately was undone by DTR’s sloppy play.
Thompson-Robinson missed a wide open Chase Cota on one throw, saw another interception dropped before ultimately getting sacked on third down on their first drive before punting it away. DTR finished the game with a suboptimal passing performance.
His interception came later in the first half, leading some to believe that head coach Chip Kelly could make the decision to change quarterbacks after halftime.
DTR is struggling. Currently 5-13 for 38 yards and this bad underthrown INT.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 20, 2020
Will Chip make a QB change at halftime?
Bruins still lead 17-7 at the break. pic.twitter.com/XXmbyiW072
Kelly did not, however, as he stuck with Thompson-Robinson through the game but relied heavily on the rushing attack.
This recap would be remiss without mentioning that DTR didn’t get much help as he saw a pass dropped, poor footwork on the sidelines on one target and had a sure-fire first down fumbled away, albeit on a bad call.
This was called a fumble on the field by Demetric Felton. Thanks to a bad challenge early in the game, UCLA can’t challenge it.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 20, 2020
He was definitely down. pic.twitter.com/yKXcf8IEYG
In fact, after the fumble by Demetric Felton, the Wolfpack looked like they could get the game back within reach but Elijah Gates had a different idea. He dropped back and perfectly read and undercut a slant route to intercept Nevada QB Carson Strong, who was making his first collegiate start at quarterback.
Gates was the lone member of the Bruins with a takeaway on defense.
The rush game powered the UCLA offense through the rest of the game, outgaining Nevada 234 yards to 30 on the ground.
Kelley led the way and survived a scare that was diagnosed as a strained Achilles in the third quarter. He walked off under his own power and asked to return to the game a few plays later. RB coach DeShaun Foster along with Kelly decided to keep their star running back off the field as the game was well out of reach at the time of his attempted return.
Being diagnosed as a strained Achilles for Kelley.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 20, 2020
Wants to go back in it seems but is being held back from doing so.
With the lead now at 31-7, it makes sense.
Kelley finished the game with a game-high 13 attempts and 80 yards. DTR actually led all rushers with 85 yards including two 20+ yard runs for first downs. Martell Irby and Felton also punched in scores.
It was an ugly passing performance that got outweighed by the strong game on the ground for the Bruins as well as two return touchdowns (Kyle Phillips added a punt-return touchdown from 72 yards out as well).
DTR will have a week off in Week 2 to improve his down-for-down accuracy and ability to find open receivers to get prepared for their Week 3 matchup against Nebraska.
Until then, we’re sitting pretty at 1-0 with someone who looks every bit like a top running back in the nation. Enjoy it, Westwood!
This game was over when:
Kyle Phillips made it 24-7 with a 72-yard punt return late in the third quarter.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Joshua Kelley, RB
Defensive Player of the Game:
Atonio Mafi, DT
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Darnay Holmes, CB
NCAA Football 14 WTF Moment:
On a read-option run, DTR was tackled by his own offensive guard who was pass-blocking air. Yes, you read that correctly, air.
Reminder, this is a fictional take on our recreation of the 2019 NCAA football season using last year’s updated rosters and playing the games in NCAA Football 14 on a Playstation3. For more information, check out our intro story.