The Bruins stopped the bleeding but still have some ground to make up in the second half.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a 75-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Marcus McMaryion. Fresno State converted all three of its third down conversions on the drive and finished the half 7-for-11.
UCLA got the ball back but could not move it out of its own territory. The Bruins got one first down on a defensive holding call on third and long, but they gained just 7 yards on the rest of the drive.
Fresno State started its next drive on its own 25 yard line, but ended up on UCLA’s 26 three plays later after McMaryion hit tight end Jared Rice for a 37-yard play action pass. The Bulldogs finished up their second straight 75-yard touchdown drive with a 10-yard pass to tight end Kyle Riddering.
The Bruins gave away the ball on the ensuing possession when freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumbled a snap. The Bulldogs capitalized with a field goal to go up 16-0 early in the second quarter.
Thompson-Robinson scrambled for a 16-yard run on UCLA’s next drive, but freshman running back Martell Irby was stuffed on fourth and short. The Bulldogs started their second straight possession in Bruin territory, but redshirt junior linebacker Keisean Lucier-South stripped McMaryion to get the ball back.
Capitalizing on the turnover, Thompson-Robinson hit junior wide receiver Theo Howard over the middle for a 45-yard touchdown to get the Bruins on the board.
Thompson-Robinson finished the half 5-of-11 with 86 yards and a touchdown, and Howard caught three passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Irby led the Bruins on the ground with seven carries for 31 yards.