UCLA 28, Virginia 20
The Sports Xchange
By Steve DeShazo, The Sports Xchange
UCLA 28, Virginia 20
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- On a day when Brett Hundley didn't look like a Heisman Trophy contender, his defensive teammates did the scoring.
No. 7 UCLA returned three second-quarter Virginia turnovers for touchdowns in a season-opening 28-20 victory over the Cavaliers Saturday.
Ishmael Adams and Eric Kendricks ran back interceptions for scores and Randall Goforth sprinted 75 yards with a fumble as UCLA exploited the Cavaliers' carelessness with the ball.
That made up for an under-whelming performance by Hundley, who was held without a touchdown pass for only the third time in 28 career games.
Hundley connected with Eldridge Massington on a 48-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage, but was harassed by an inspired Virginia defense for most of the day. He completed 20-of-33 passes for 242 yards and was sacked five times.
However, Hundley didn't need to be productive, thanks to his opportunistic defensive teammates.
Adams returned an interception 20 yards after teammate Owamagbe Odighizuma got a hand on Greyson Lambert's pass from behind, causing it to flutter.
The Cavaliers were driving later in the second quarter, but Kendricks caused Kyle Dockins to fumble after an apparent first-down reception, and Goforth returned it 75 yards for a touchdown that was upheld by video replay.
Right before halftime, Kendricks stepped in front of Khalek Shepherd, picked off Lambert's pass and returned it 37 yards for a 21-3 lead.
That prompted embattled Virginia coach Mike London to pull Lambert in favor of fellow sophomore Matt Johns rather than last year's starter, David Watford.
Johns promptly led the Cavaliers on a 75-yard scoring drive capped by a leaping 29-yard touchdown catch by Andre Levrone, and threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Darius Jennings in the third quarter.
Johns completed 13-of-22 passes for 154 yards in his first career appearance as anything other than a holder for kicks.
Hundley did score a six-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter, extending his streak of either running or throwing for a score in every game of his career.
Virginia drove to the UCLA 17 with 3:20 left, but Johns' fourth-down pass for Doni Dowling was broken up, and Huntley's 35-yard third-down completion to Jordan Payton helped the Bruins run out the clock.
NOTES: Ishmael Adams' 86-yard second-quarter punt return for a touchdown was negated when UCLA teammate Priest Willis was flagged for continuing to play after losing his helmet. ... Virginia started true freshman Quin Blanding, one of its two five-star recruits, at free safety. The other, DT Andrew Brown, did not play.
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