Brett Hundley

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has been at the center of the Bruins' efforts this season to put up the best offensive numbers in school history. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / August 31, 2013)

An important piece of UCLA's past recently reached out to the Bruins' current quarterback.

Brett Hundley was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from Gary Beban, who congratulated him on his play. It was a humbling moment.

"The only Heisman Trophy winner in UCLA history," Hundley said. "I was like 'Wow.'"

UCLA history found Hundley. Hundley, and the Bruins offense, will now chase UCLA history.

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A year ago, UCLA averaged 34.4 points per game, the sixth-most ever by a UCLA team. And the Bruins this season could move up the charts.

There was a score-when-we-want look to UCLA in a 58-20 victory over Nevada in the season opener, but Hundley said, "I feel we can get much better. It's a little scary to think about it."

Hundley had 337 yards in total offense as UCLA rolled up 647 yards against Nevada. Beban had 1,586 total yards in 10 games during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1967.

The game has changed, sort of.

"I don't see a whole a lot of new principles," former UCLA coach Terry Donahue said. "I see a lot of stuff that has been working for years. It's just presented differently. You look at the films of the 1967 team and you won't see much motion at all. Today there are so many formation shifts, guys from yesterday would say, 'Holy mackerel, what is that?'"

Noel Mazzone, UCLA's offensive coordinator, said the base system he uses isn't complex. But there are plenty of built-in variations. "Kids are kids," he said. "They all want the ball in their hands. I like spreading it out, throwing it around little bit. It's exciting."

It puts points on the scoreboard.

Only five UCLA teams averaged more points per game than the 2012 Bruins.

"This year we're trying to be No. 1," Hundley said.

A look at UCLA's five highest-scoring teams before last season:

A bone to pick

UCLA averaged 42.7 points per game in 1973 and led the nation in rushing at 400.7 yards per game with halfbacks Kermit Johnson and James McAlister in the wishbone.

"Two halfbacks like that running the option?" McAlister said. "Whatever way we went there were two great runners. I'm not trying to brag, but when one of us hit the corner, it was bye-bye."

Johnson became UCLA's first single-season 1,000-yard rusher, gaining 1,129. McAlister had 714 yards. The Bruins scored 50 or more points six times.

UCLA finished with a 9-2 record, losing its opener to Nebraska and the regular-season finale to USC.

Red-zone attack