WESTWOOD—The UCLA Bruins lost their season opener against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday, September 1. Chip Kelly’s first game as a Bruin did not go as planned. The Bruins will look to bounce back next week.
The Bruins started the game with the ball, but the first couple possessions for both teams yielded no points. Midway through the first quarter, the Bruins snatched momentum by recovering Quarterback Hayden Moore’s fumble. The fumble was forced by Rick Wade and recovered by Keisean Lucier-South.
Starting in the red zone, UCLA capitalized by scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Bolu Olorunfunmi. The Bearcats would go 3 and out on their next drive. On the following drive, they started at their own 45-yard line. Joshua Howard gained yardage on the ground and through the air to help get UCLA into field goal range. UCLA led 10-0.
On the next possession, the Bearcats would finally score. On a 14-play drive with many rushes by Michael Warren II, the running back finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown. This was when the Bearcats began to take control of the game.
On the first play of UCLA’s next drive, Quarterback Wilton Speight was intercepted by James Wiggins. Cincinnati’s Warren would score his second rushing touchdown of the day, making the score 14-10. Cincinnati proceeded to get a field goal before the end of the quarter. The Bearcats led 17-10 at halftime.
In the third quarter, UCLA quickly got the ball back to their offense. On the second play of the drive, Running Back Kazmeir Allen took off for a 74-yard touchdown. After this score, the game was tied at 17-17.
The next few possessions would not be fruitful for either team. But, in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati seized control of the game. They forced a fumble from Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson when UCLA was backed up. The Bruins recovered the ball in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
On UCLA’s next possession, they would turn the ball over on downs with a little less than six minutes remaining. The Bearcats ended the game on their final possession, as Warren scored his final touchdown of the game. The final score was 26-17.
It was an impressive win for the Cincinnati Bearcats. UCLA will need to improve its overall play if it wishes to compete in the PAC-12 Conference.
Kazmeir Allen (UCLA) rushed for 103 yards and one touchdown on 5 carries. Theo Howard (UCLA) had catches for 52 yards. Michael Warren II had 35 carries for 142 yards and 3 TDs. Desmond Ridder went 13/24 passing for 100 yards, but had 14 carries for 63 yards.