Pasadena, CA – Early in the second quarter, starting quarterback Wilton Speight went down and the true freshman quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, had to step in.
Things were winding down in a very back-and-forth, and quite frankly uneventful second half until Thompson-Robinson attempted to elude a sack only to have the ball knocked out of his hands.
The ball was recovered in his own end zone resulting in a safety for the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0) and a 19-17 lead.
The miscues and bad throws from the offense would be the undoing of UCLA football (0-1) as Cincinnati would walk away with a 26-17 season-opening win on Saturday.
“I tried to make a play out of nothing,” Thompson-Robinson, who finished 15-for-25 with 117 yards, said. “It just didn’t work out for me.”
Seemed that a lot hadn’t been going well for him on the night as he said he wasn’t fully prepared for jumping in to lead the offense.
”Coach told us that Wilt was starting and I was second-string,” he added. “I think I could have been more prepared.”
But it wasn’t just Thompson-Robinson making errant throws, there were missed tackles and bad penalties from the defense, coaching miscues and just a “lot of mistakes” that were made.
”That’s on the coaching staff,” head coach Chip Kelly said. “I knew there were 12 men on the field, but I couldn’t call a timeout, we didn’t have anymore.”
Despite the disappointing night for the Bruins, there were flashes of greatness from the players.
Rick Wade’s strip sack forced fumble and Kesean Lucier-South’s recovery led to an eventual touchdown run Bolu Olorunfunmi in the first quarter.
But what really took off for the Bruins was the speed of true freshman Kazmeir Allen, who finished with five carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Kazmeir broke off for a 74-yard touchdown run in the third to give his team a spark and tie the game.
”I (saw) no one,” Allen said. “The blocking was there and I was free.”
The unranked Bruins are on the road next week against No. 7 Oklahoma, who dominated Florida Atlantic 63-14, and will be looking to take tonight’s loss as a lesson.
”We’re going to move forward like we always have done.” Kelly said.