UCLA made sure it will go into next week’s showdown against Stanford possessing an unbeaten record with a convincing 37-10 victory over California at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
Sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley completed 31 of 41 passes for 410 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, the first 400-yard passing game of his career boosting his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
Devin Fuller caught six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown while Shaq Evans caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown as the Bruins racked up 488 total yards and improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Bears (1-5, 0-3) cut UCLA’s lead to 17-10 with 2 minutes 35 seconds left in the second quarter when Daniel Lasco capped a 12-play, 81-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run.
But UCLA responded with a quick-strike score just before halftime, Hundley hitting Thomas Duarte with a 27-yard touchdown pass 40 seconds before intermission to give the Bruins a 24-10 halftime lead, and the Bruins pulled away in the second half.
About the only blemish for UCLA was their nine penalties for 64 yards, all accrued before the fourth quarter.
Cal quarterback Jared Goff completed 26 of 43 passes for 215 yards, but none for touchdowns.
Here's a recap of the game:
UCLA 37, California 10 (4:41 left in the fourth quarter)
Cal drove 81 yards in 20 plays, but on fourth and goal from the UCLA three-yard line, Bears quarterback Jared Goff was stopped by Eddie Vanderdoes on a draw play for no gain.
The Bruins took over and drove 97 yards in 12 plays, with the touchdown coming on a 22-yard pass from Brett Hundley to Shaq Evans. The biggest gain during the drive was a 31-yard pass from Hundley to Thomas Duarte.
Hundley has completed 31 of 41 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns, the first 400-yard passing game of his career.
UCLA 30, California 10 (3:10 left in third quarter)
Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley scrambled out of the pocket and dumped a short pass to Devin Fuller for a 35-yard catch-and-run play.
But on third and goal from the nine-yard line, Hundley overthrew a wide-open Shaq Evans in the end zone, and UCLA had to settle for Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 27-yard field goal.
UCLA 27, California 10 (9:04 left in third quarter)
Bruins safety Randall Goforth’s interception and 31-yard return to the Cal 16-yard line set up Ka'imi Fairbairn’s 22-yard field goal.
UCLA 24, California 10 (halftime)
The Bruins answered Cal’s touchdown with a quick strike of their own, Brett Hundley hitting wide-open freshman Thomas Duarte on a post pattern for a 27-yard touchdown pass 40 seconds before intermission.
Hundley hit Shaq Evans for 15 yards and Devin Lucien for 20 yards on the drive, capping an impressive half in which the Bruins quarterback completed 21 of 25 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Jordan Payton caught four passes for 61 yards and Evans caught four passes for 41 yards for UCLA, which amassed 325 total yards.
Bears quarterback Jared Goff completed 14 of 24 passes for 117 yards.
UCLA 17, California 10 (2:35 left in second quarter)
Remember what we said about that UCLA rout being on? Never mind. Cal showed some fight with a 12-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by Daniel Lasco’s six-yard touchdown run.
The drive featured a 23-yard pass from Jared Goff to Bryce Treggs and was aided by three UCLA penalties on defensive end Cassius Marsh, who was called offsides on two straight plays and ejected after a 15-yard personal foul for throwing a punch.
UCLA 17, California 3 (9;13 left in second quarter)
Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Anthony Jefferson stopped Khalfani Muhammad for no gain on a third-and-two play from the UCLA 34-yard line, but Vincenzo D’Amato salvaged the short drive with a 51-yard field goal to put the Bears on the board.
UCLA 17, California 0 (13:29 left in second quarter)
The rout appears to be on, with Paul Perkins capping an 11-play, 77-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
The standout play of the drive was a 12-yard pass from Brett Hundley to Shaq Evans, who juggled the ball as he fell to the ground and cradled the ball between his knees for the catch.
Hundley then hit Thomas Duarte over the middle for an 18-yard gain to the Cal one-yard line, setting up Perkins’ score.
UCLA 10, California 0 (4:57 left in the first quarter)
The Bruins have yet to yield a first down to the Golden Bears in three possessions.
Then again, UCLA went three and out with its second possession.
But the Bruins kicked it into gear and marched down the field on Cal, scoring on an 18-yard pass play to Devin Fuller.
Hundley was four-for-four passing on the drive, connecting with Steve Manfro for 14 yards, Jordan Payton for nine and Fuller for 13 before the scoring strike.
UCLA 3, California 0 (11:45 left in first quarter)
The Bruins forced the Golden Bears to punt after holding them to one yard in three plays.
Brett Hundley and Co. took over at the UCLA 44-yard line and immediately made their presence felt with a 43-yard pass play from Hundley to Jordan Payton.
But Cal held up in the red zone when -- after an incomplete pass, a false-start penalty and five-yard run by Paul Perkins -- a swing pass from Hundley to Perkins was four yards short of a first down.
Ka'imi Fairbairn then opened the scoring with a 24-yard field goal.
No. 11 UCLA has the opportunity to ascend to the top 10 with a victory over lowly California at the Rose Bowl tonight.
It would be the first time in the top 10 since being ranked seventh in 2005 heading into a game at Arizona. The Wildcats beat the Bruins, 52-14.
First comes the Bears. This is Bruins' longest continuous running series. They have played California every year since 1933, with UCLA holding a 50-32-1 lead in the 83 games before Saturday. Stanford is the only team UCLA has played more, as they will face the Cardinal for the 85th time next week.
As rivalries go, this ranks second to USC for the Bruins. Jim Mora got a dose of that in his first season, when a bottom-tier California team routed the Bruins, 43-17.
“I still don’t know if I understand it,” Mora said. “I don’t think I have got the full taste of the Cal-UCLA rivalry, as much as I have the UCLA-USC rivalry. I think I’ll learn about it as we go along.”
As a primer, Mora could note that the Bruins denied California a trip to the Rose Bowl in 1975 with a 28-14 victory in Berkeley. The Bears haven’t been to a Rose Bowl since the 1958 season.
UCLA kept the Bears out of the Rose Bowl in 1951. California did the same to the Bruins in 1949.
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