The offense is getting there.
After a dismal showing against Cincinnati, UCLA’s offense ran more speed option and read option plays in true freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s first career start.
But the Bruins’ offensive line was unable to offer any semblance of protection for the fledgling signal caller, as No. 6 Oklahoma procured five sacks to stall UCLA’s drives and build a 21-7 halftime lead Saturday afternoon.
Thompson-Robinson was under pressure from the Oklahoma defensive front seven for almost the entire first half – he was either sacked or hurried on every possession after the Bruins’ first two to open the game.
The Bruins’ only scoring drive came at the heels of a 65-yard catch-and-run from redshirt junior tight end Caleb Wilson. On a 3rd-and-16 play, Wilson ran free down the middle of the field and stiff-armed a defender for the longest reception of his career. Three plays later, senior running back Bolu Olorunfunmi plunged into the end zone from three yards out for his second rushing touchdown this season to put UCLA up 7-0.
But it didn’t take long for the Bruins’ demons to catch up to them again.
On the subsequent kickoff, Oklahoma return man Tre Brown gashed the coverage team down to UCLA’s 12-yard line, with senior cornerback Nate Meadors saving a touchdown. The Sooners quickly tied the game with the short field.
On the hosts’ next possession, quarterback Kyler Murray fired a bullet 15 yards downfield to receiver Marquise Brown. Redshirt senior safety Adarius Pickett and Meadors were in coverage, but they overpursued Brown, who made a simple inside turn and raced the remaining 43 yards for Oklahoma’s go-ahead touchdown.
Murray finished the first half 11-of-17 for 190 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Sooner running back Rodney Anderson, who compiled 1,161 rushing yards last season, ran for 19 yards on six carries before exiting with an injury.
Olorunfunmi led UCLA with 21 yards on the ground, but as a team the Bruins only ran for 25 yards on 25 carries, including sacks. Thompson-Robinson completed 6-of-9 passing attempts for 108 yards.