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UCLA football fails to overcome No. 5 Oklahoma, falling behind 48-14

Junior defensive back Mo Osling III picked up a season-high three solo tackles in UCLA football's loss to No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday. Osling recorded nine tackles in 10 games in 2018. (Niveda Tennety/Assistant Photo editor)


No. 5 Oklahoma48

This post was updated Sept. 14 at 10:43 p.m.

The sea of red and white throughout the Rose Bowl bleachers had a lot to cheer for Saturday night.

The blue and gold, on the other hand, booed their hometown Bruins.

UCLA football (0-3) dropped its seventh straight nonconference game in a 48-14 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma (3-0) on Saturday. The Bruins posted their best offensive output of 2019 with 311 yards, but the Sooners almost doubled them up with 611 – the most UCLA has allowed since Nov. 11, 2017.

The Sooners’ 309 yards on the ground were their fewest of the season, but Heisman contender, quarterback Jalen Hurts, put up 150 of those.

“When you face a quarterback like (Hurts) that can run, pass rush is more (important), you gotta box him in,” said sophomore defensive lineman Atonio Mafi. “He’s a really good threat running the ball, but also, we’re not just playing the run game to stop the running back. You got the read option and whatnot, so we had to focus on gang tackling this week and I think, definitely, we could have done a better job.”

Hurts – who had been averaging 407 total yards per game entering Saturday’s matchup – put up 289 yards and three touchdowns through the air in addition to his success on the ground. He broke out a 52-yard run to start the game, wrapping up the Sooners’ first drive with 99 rushing yards.

Sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, on the other hand, did not play up to his Oklahoma counterpart.

“He’s definitely a hell of a player, as you could see by his performance tonight,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I knew coming into the game I had to kind of match his intensity, match his play, so yeah, he brought my game up.”

The former four-star recruit threw his third and fourth interceptions of the season Saturday night. His 201 passing yards and negative 6 rushing yards were both season highs, as was his 132.6 passer rating.

Thompson-Robinson took multiple sacks that lost his team 10-plus yards, one of which resulted in a shower of boos from UCLA fans in the second quarter.

The sophomore did rush for 48 yards on 10 carries – excluding his four sacks – three of which went for double-digit yards.

“Coach (Chip) Kelly preached this week, ‘You know, if nothing’s there, you’re a runner too,’” Thompson-Robinson said. “So just to try to get a couple yards here and there is very beneficial and stuff like that for play-calling.”

The Sooners outscored the Bruins 34-7 in the first half, but UCLA did start off the second half with a spark with Thompson-Robinson leading the way.

The Bruins opened the half with a seven-minute, 26-second touchdown drive that ended with an 8-yard pass from Thompson-Robinson to junior wideout Jaylen Erwin.

The UCLA defense forced Hurts and Oklahoma to punt for the first time all night on the ensuing possession, giving the Bruins the ball back with 6:15 to go in the third. On the first play of that drive, however, Thompson-Robinson took an 18-yard sack before redshirt junior wide receiver Demetric Felton broke out a 42-yard run that brought the Bruins back to midfield.

Felton led UCLA with 65 yards on five carries, while redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley posted 51 on 18 attempts.

Kelly elected to go for it on 4th-and-2 on the Sooners’ 43-yard line four plays later, but Thompson-Robinson’s pass to redshirt junior tight end Devin Asiasi fell incomplete.

Oklahoma took over from there and put together a five-play scoring drive that ended with a 39-yard touchdown pass over the middle from Hurts to wide receiver Charleston Rambo.

On the first set of downs of that drive, redshirt senior linebacker Josh Woods sacked Hurts for a 17-yard loss, bringing up a 4th-and-26 for the Sooners. Woods was offsides, however, and the play was called back.

“Good teams don’t do that,” Kelly said. “We have to strive to understand that players like (Hurts) are going to make plays against you, but we can’t give them plays – and I think we gave them one there – and they obviously capitalized a couple plays later.”

The Bruins followed up the Sooner score with a 57-yard drive that consisted of three first downs, but senior kicker JJ Molson pushed a 36-yard attempt wide right.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson busted into the endzone on a 1-yard carry to cap off Oklahoma’s 48-point night with 6:51 remaining in the game.

Defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro’s defense allowed 17-plus points in a quarter three times in 2018. The Sooners scored 17 points in the first and second quarters Saturday night.

UCLA will go on the road for the next two weeks, starting with a matchup with Washington State on Sept. 21 to kick off conference play.


Sports editor

Connon is the Sports editor and a reporter on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, women's golf, men's golf and cross country beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats. Connon also contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment and co-hosts Daily Bruin Sports' weekly podcast, "Out of Bounds." Connon is a third-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.

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