Senior Day couldn’t have started any better for the Bruins.
Redshirt senior safety Adarius Pickett intercepted a pass less than a minute into his last collegiate game.
But for the rest of the first half, Stanford quarterback KJ Costello flung the ball all over UCLA’s defense. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinal lead the Bruins 27-20 at halftime.
On the other hand, UCLA’s offense was stuck in mud, going three-and-out in its first three possessions.
To end the half, the Bruins had first and goal at the two-yard line, but three straight rushes by redshirt junior running back Joshua Kelley netted zero yards. After an offsides penalty on Stanford pushed the ball inside the one-yard line, Kelley almost didn’t make it into the end zone again.
Only after a replay review did the referees rule that Kelley crossed the plane and scored.
UCLA’s offense wasn’t much better through the air.
Graduate transfer quarterback Wilton Speight was erratic, overthrowing at least three open receivers. The Bruins’ offensive line also allowed two sacks in the first half.
Speight finished 10-of-16 for 155 yards.
Aside from a 23-yard run to start UCLA’s fourth drive, Kelley had a quiet performance against Stanford’s defensive front seven. His 14 other carries only garnered 33 yards.
Kelley added a 12-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, marking eight consecutive games in which he’s scored a touchdown.
The Bruins’ lack of pass rush was evident throughout the first half, registering only one quarterback hurry and no sacks.
A defensive holding penalty kept Stanford’s third possession alive after an incompletion on third down. Costello later hit wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the end zone for the 12th time this season.
Cardinal running back Bryce Love also found his groove, rushing for 49 yards on 11 carries in the first half.
The Bruins averaged only 5.3 yards per play, compared to 6.9 yards per play for the Cardinal.