PASADENA, Calif. (AP)While some may have wondered if UCLA would let last week’s loss at Oregon linger, Zach Charbonnet and the rest of the Bruins quickly shelved those concerns.
Charbonnet tied a career high with 198 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns as the 12th-ranked Bruins bounced back with a 38-13 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.
”I thought Zach played outstanding today,” coach Chip Kelly said. ”He’s a three-down back. He can pick up pass protection, he’s a weapon coming out of the backfield and obviously we saw what he’s like when he runs the football.”
Charbonnet – who leads the Pac-12 in rushing with 964 yards – is the first UCLA back since Tyler Ebell in 2002 to have five straight 100-yard games. Eight of his 21 carries went for at least 10 yards. The junior also had 61 yards receiving on five catches and leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game at 170.9.
The Bruins ran for 324 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry as they improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play. It is UCLA’s best start since 2005, when it won its first eight games.
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson had 249 scrimmage yards, including 199 passing, and rushed for a touchdown.
Thompson-Robinson said he could tell that as soon as the Bruins stepped off the plane last Saturday night that they put the Oregon loss behind them.
”That was a really tough plane ride for us to sit down and think about, but as soon as we touched down we were ready to go and get back on the field,” said Thompson-Robinson, who was 18-of-29 passing. ”Especially for guys like me. I only have like four or five more weeks here as a Bruin, so I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity I can.”
Stanford (3-5, 1-5) had a two-game winning streak snapped but scored its first touchdown in 11 quarters when Tanner McKee connected with Benjamin Yurosek on fourth-and-goal from the UCLA 2-yard line. It was the Cardinal’s first touchdown in 170 minutes, 54 seconds.
”Yeah, we need more than that. . That was just punching the ball in,” coach David Shaw said of the late TD. ”There’s a lot of things that we need to clean up for momentum, and the biggest thing is really protection and connection between our quarterbacks and receivers.”
McKee completed 13 of 29 passes for 115 yards, one week after throwing for 320 yards.
Shaw said it was his team’s worst game in a month.
”Our mindset is always play good defense, no matter what. But obviously, if we want to have a good game, we’ve got to play some complementary football,” linebacker Ricky Miezan said.
Stanford scored on its opening possession on Joshua Karty’s 22-yard field goal before UCLA took the lead with two touchdowns in 20 seconds. Thompson-Robinson capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a 3-yard run off right guard to give the Bruins a 7-3 lead with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter.
The Cardinal turned it over on the first play of their ensuing drive when Darius Muasau picked off McKee. Charbonnet then went 23 yards up the middle on the next play to put UCLA up by double digits.
”We emphasized going back to fundamentals, tackling and stopping the run. Keep it simple. Last week we were thinking too much,” Muasau said.
The Bruins scored on their first four drives. Charbonnet scored from 1 yard out in the second quarter to make it 24-3 at halftime and added a 37-yard TD late in the third quarter.
GOING THE DISTANCE
UCLA extended its lead to 38-6 in the fourth with a six-play, 99-yard drive. Kazmeir Allen went 72 yards for a touchdown, which was the Bruins’ first run of more than 70 yards since Demetric Felton Jr. had a 75-yard TD against Oregon State in 2019.
Defensive coordinator Bill McGovern missed the game due to illness. Analyst Clancy Pendergast, a former college and NFL defensive coordinator, filled in.
Stanford: With their top two running backs out for the season due to injuries, the Cardinal went with a backfield by committee and had 118 yards rushing. Caleb Robinson had 25 yards on five carries on the opening drive but finished with 10 carries for 36 yards.
UCLA: The Bruins beat Stanford at the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2006. They have won eight straight home games since last season’s loss to Oregon.
UCLA could find itself back in the Top 10 after a convincing victory. If that happens, it would mark the first time since Oct. 30, 2005, that the Bruins and rival Southern California would both be in the Top 10.
Stanford: Hosts Washington State next Saturday.
UCLA: Travels to Arizona State next Saturday.
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