Berkeley, CA – The UCLA Bruins (1-5, 1-2) capitalized on the momentum they built in a tight loss to the Washington Huskies last week, bringing down the Cal Golden Bears (3-3, 0-3) in a 37-7 drumming during Cal’s homecoming weekend and annual Joe Roth game to earn their first win of the year and get first-year head coach Chip Kelly into the win column for the first time since leaving Oregon for the NFL in 2012.
UCLA entered the game entered the game 0-5 on the year, it’s worst start since the 1943 season, and sat among just four FBS teams without a win. But its five previous opponents entered the week with a combined record of 25-3, and with its surprising, single-digit loss to then Top 10-ranked Washington last week, the Bruins appeared confident coming into the day.
The UCLA defensive was both stdout and opportunistic throughout.
The Bruins forced six total turnovers on the night, including two fumbles and two interceptions from Golden Bears quarterback Brandon McIlwain (5).
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bruins dominated the trenches, finishing with 348 yards with 207 coming on the ground.
UCLA running back Joshua Kelley (27) has been a bright stop for the struggling team throughout the year and put his skills on display again in this one.
Having posted a career-high 125 yards rushing against Washington, Kelley eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third consecutive time in this one and topped his own best with 157 yards on 30 attempts to go along with three touchdown carries.
Freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (7) also shined against the Golden Bears, completing 13-of-15 attempts for 141 yards through the air, plus 49 yards rushing on 9 carries.
Speaking to his young quarterback’s improved play from the start of the season, Kelly said, “Each week he’s gotten better the more experience he gets.”
Despite the turnover issues, McIlwain completed 22-of-40 passes for 168 yards, but the UCLA defense held strong in eliminating one the keys to his success so far this year—his ability to run.
Golden Bears linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk (59) ranked first in the PAC-12 in solo tackles entering the day and made his presence felt repeatedly once again, finishing with 22 total tackles, 14 unassisted.
Senior Golden Bears running back Patrick Laird (28) finished with 95 yards rushing and a touchdown and eclipsed the 1,500-yard milestone on the ground, as well as the 2,000-yard mark in all-purpose yards.
The win today ends a 12-straight losing streak on the road, as well as an eight-game streak of losses in Berkeley for the Bruins.
“Total team loss,” Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox said in post-game. “We didn’t do anything well enough to win the game and we need everybody. We need everybody to perform better, the entire program.”
Coach Kelly, on the other hand, was pleased to get out of California Memorial Stadium with the victory.
“It feels amazing. This is why you play football. This is why you grind during training camp, winter, spring and fall,” he said.
The Bruins return home this weekend to take on the Arizona Wildcats (3-4, 2-2) on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m., while the Golden Bears will hope to get their first PAC-12 conference win when they travel to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers (1-5, 0-3).