Bruins secure win against Wildcats despite shaky offense in second half
Graduate transfer running back Brittain Brown scored two touchdowns Saturday night in UCLA football’s victory over Arizona at the Rose Bowl. Brown finished with 98 yards on 18 touches. (Liz Ketcham/daily Bruin senior staff)
By Jack Perez
Nov. 28, 2020 8:55 p.m.
This post was updated Nov. 28 at 9:25 p.m.
While the Bruin offense took over the first half, it was the defense that put the game away in the second.
UCLA football (2-2) defeated Arizona (0-3) 27-10 on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are still yet to lose at the Rose Bowl in 2020 and have now equaled their total home wins from 2019.
The offense moved the ball well in the first half, but the unit came out flat after halftime – punting five straight times in the second half, going three-and-out on three of those occasions.
Defensively, UCLA held Arizona to just one field goal in the Wildcats’ final seven drives. Arizona was without starting quarterback Grant Gunnell for most of the game as he left with an injury after the first play from scrimmage. The Bruins picked off two of quarterback Will Plummer’s passes in the fourth quarter to put the game to bed.
Graduate transfer defensive back Obi Eboh led the defense with two tackles for loss and added a sack to his final stat line. He said the defensive coaches set up the unit for a successful outing.
“This defense has been coming really aggressively and we’re getting to the quarterback as you’ve seen in the past few games,” Eboh said. “I got to give credit to the coaches for developing a very sound gameplan and the rest of our defense executing it.”
The Bruins boasted a 13-point lead going into the half. Second-quarter scores on the ground from redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton and on a catch and run by graduate transfer running back Brittain Brown gave UCLA a cushion to end the half.
Brown would add one more with less than two minutes remaining in the contest to put the Bruins out of reach. He finished with 98 yards on 18 touches to go along with his two scores. He said after the game his partnership with Felton has allowed the rushing game to thrive so far.
“It’s a lot of fun being a 1-2 punch,” Brown said. “Because you know you have a teammate who can help you out if you’re down a little bit or if you’re up, then the other person can pick you up.”
UCLA also scored its first field goals of the season after going three straight games with no field goal attempts. Redshirt freshman Nicholas Barr-Mira chipped in from 30 and 31 yards for his first two collegiate field goals.
Felton set a new career high in rushing yards for the second consecutive week, totaling 206 yards on 32 attempts. He also pitched in four catches for 24 yards in the receiving game. However, he may have hurt himself late in the fourth quarter, which could hamper a Bruin running backs’ room already depleted by contact tracing.
Coach Chip Kelly could not provide an update on the injury. He did say he was proud of the effort from every phase of the run game.
“(Felton’s) worked extremely hard since he moved to running back and has really turned himself into a quality back,” Kelly said. “I thought our o-line did a really nice job. I think the unsung group that doesn’t get enough credit is how well our receivers block and tight ends block. It was a team effort, but when any back goes over 200 yards that’s a huge day, so we’re really happy for Felton.”
UCLA also did not commit a turnover after giving up the ball nine times through the first three games. It was also responsible for 20 straight unanswered points to end the first half after an early Arizona touchdown.
In his second career start, redshirt freshman quarterback Chase Griffin went 12-of-20 for 129 yards and a touchdown. He was not asked to do much to earn his first collegiate win as a starter. After the game, he said he was thankful for coming out on top.
“I just say it’s a blessing,” Griffin said. “There’s no other way to put it.”