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(Thursday, August 30th)
Final Score: UCLA 49, Rice 24
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Jim Mora era at UCLA got off to a great start as the Bruins defeated the Rice Owls, 49-24, in the season opener at Rice Stadium.
Running back Johnathan Franklin finished with 214 rushing yards and three touchdowns for UCLA (1-0), falling just shy of his career-high of 216 yards set against Washington State in 2010. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley was impressive in his first start, finishing with 202 passing yards, 68 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Hundley hit on 21-of-28 passes and was picked off once.
For Rice (0-1), Taylor McHargue completed 17-of-28 passes for 172 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also led the team in rushing, adding 95 yards and a score on the ground. Sam McGuffie paced all players with eight catches for 63 yards.
After the Bruins forced Rice to punt on its first possession, they wasted no time putting points on the board. On their first offensive snap of the season, Hundley took off on an 72-yard touchdown run. A blocked extra-point off the foot of Ka'imi Fairbairn kept the UCLA lead at 6-0.
On the ensuing Rice drive, a McHargue pass was intercepted by Sheldon Price, which helped set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Hundley to Jerry Johnson, making the score 12-0 following yet another blocked PAT.
Following a three-and-out by the Owls, the Bruins struck with another huge play. This time it was Franklin ripping off a 74-yard touchdown run and, after the first successful PAT of the night, UCLA took a 19-0 lead a mere six minutes into the contest.
Rice responded with a six-play, 80-yard drive, which was capped off by an eight-yard touchdown reception by Luke Wilson from McHargue, to cut its deficit to 19-7 with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter.
A 53-yard field goal from Chris Boswell with 2:18 left in the first quarter brought the Owls to within nine, 19-10.
Rice's comeback attempt continued early in the second quarter. On a drive extended thanks to a muffed punt by UCLA, McHargue rushed in for a one-yard score to make it 19-17 at the 13:08 mark.
UCLA responded with an 11-play, 71-yard drive, but it had to settle for a 27- yard field goal by Devin Lucien to extend its lead to 22-17 with under 10 minutes to play in the half.
The Owls had a chance to respond with a field goal on the next drive, but Boswell missed a 43-yard attempt.
The Bruins made Rice pay for the miscue as Franklin ripped off yet another long touchdown run (78 yards) to bring their lead back to double-digits, 29-17. In the process, Franklin became the first player in school history to have two rushes of at least 72 yards in one game.
A 40-yard run by McHargue on the following Owls drive helped set up a three- yard touchdown pass to McGuffie to bring the deficit to just five, 29-24, with under two minutes before the break.
Following an interception of Hundley, Rice was on the move to try and add more points before intermission, but a Turner Petersen fumble was picked up by Damien Holmes who returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bruins a 35-24 lead heading into halftime.
After a frantic first 30 minutes of the game, the first score of the second half didn't come until 12:29 left in the fourth quarter when Hundley connected with Joseph Fauria on a four-yard touchdown pass, making the score 41-24 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
UCLA put the game out of reach with 22-yard Franklin touchdown run midway through the fourth period.
UCLA out-gained Rice 646 yards to 358. The 49 points is the most the Bruins have scored since putting up 51 in a win over Oregon State on Oct. 22, 2005.
Rice's Cameron Nwosu set an NCAA record with three blocked PATs in the game.
08/31 00:26:40 ET
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