Brett! Brett! Come back!
A call by UCLA Coach Jim Mora?
Pleas by Bruins football fans?
Not this time.
Instead, this is what Virginia Tech defenders might have been calling out for much of the first half during UCLA’s 42-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl at El Paso.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns in his first six carries to launch the Bruins, and he got his passing arm loose late to help turn the game into a rout.
Now we’ll have to see if the redshirt sophomore’s next move is to blast off to the NFL.
Hundley’s decision is key to UCLA’s immediate future.
Asked whether his performance Tuesday made his decision harder or easier, he answered “harder” in a television interview immediately after the game.
Hundley started slow as a passer, completing only seven of 17 passes for 73 yards in the first half. UCLA still led, though, 14-7, on two Hundley touchdown runs. The first came from seven yards out; the second from 86 -- the longest scoring run in UCLA bowl history.
Indeed, Hundley made Virginia Tech’s aggressive defense pay at every turn. Each time the Hokies managed to flush the quarterback from the pocket, he gained huge chunks of yardage.
So Virginia Tech backed off the rush –- and Hundley made the Hokies pay with his arm, completing nine of 10 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the second half before being removed late in the game.
What Hundley meant to UCLA’s offense, senior linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was to the Bruins’ defense.
Zumwalt made 10 tackles, including four solo, and intercepted a pass and returned it 43 yards in the fourth quarter.
Of Zumwalt’s tackles, most came on big hits -- the biggest, no doubt, being one that knocked Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas from the game in the second quarter.
Thomas, who is 6-feet-6 and 260 pounds, gained 50 yards in his first three carries.
Backup Mark Leal completed 12 of 25 passes for 130 yards but had two passes intercepted. Zumwalt had one and the other was made by freshman linebacker Myles Jack, who returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
UCLA improved to 10-3 with the win, securing the Bruins’ first 10-win season since 2005.
Virginia Tech fell to 8-5.
Now we’ll have to see whether Longhorns Air Traffic Control lets the UCLA plane out of Texas airspace with Mora still aboard.
Texas is looking to replace football coach Mack Brown, and Mora would seem a strong candidate. However, he has said he would stay at UCLA.
Here's a recap of the game:
UCLA 42, Virginia Tech 12 (5:49 left in fourth quarter)
Brett Hundley didn't throw the ball well in the first half, but as the game has worn on he's looking better and better.
He just connected with Shaquelle Evans on a 59-yard touchdown pass, hitting his receiver right in stride streaking down the sideline.
UCLA 35, Virginia Tech 12 (7:31 left in fourth quarter)
Brett Hundley now has a touchdown pass on his ever-improving ledger.
His seven-yard pass to Thomas Duarte capped a short drive set up by linebacker Jordan Zumwalt's interception and 43-yard return.
Hundley has completed 15 of 26 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. He has rushed for 161 yards.
Jordan Zumwalt is having a day.
In his final game for UCLA, the linebacker has delivered several bone-rattling hits, and now he has an interception and nifty 43-yard return.
Zumwalt's interception of a Mark Leal pass came along the sideline at the UCLA 47. Zumwalt did a toe dance to stay in bounds, then crossed the field on a 43-yard return to the Virginia Tech 10.
Seems like Coach Jim Mora might want to consider putting Zumwalt in on offense near the goal line.
About the only thing he hasn't done today is score a touchdown.
UCLA 28, Virginia Tech 12 (9:38 left in fourth quarter)
Just when it was looking like UCLA could do know wrong ... they did.
Punter Sean Covington stepped on the back line of the end zone as he punted the ball, giving Virginia Tech a safety.
UCLA 28, Virginia Tech 10 (13:22 left in fourth quarter)
Another touchdown for Myles Jack.
But wait! This one comes on defense.
Actually, this one was pretty much handed to him as well, though.
Mark Leal, Virginia Tech's backup quarterback, coughed up a pass he never should have thrown under a heavy rush, and it hit Jack right in the numbers.
Jack returned it 24 yards for the touchdown.
UCLA 21, Virginia Tech 10 (14:20 left in fourth quarter)
The way the Virginia Tech offense looks without starting quarterback Logan Thomas, UCLA may have just planted a dagger.
Paul Perkins scored on a five-yard run, capping a 12-play, 85-yard drive.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has completed seven of eight passes for 86 yards in the second half.
UCLA holds a 14-10 lead over Virginia Tech through three quarters at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
The only points of the quarter came on a chip-shot field goal by Virginia Tech after a UCLA fumble gave the Hokies the ball at the Bruins 12-yard line.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, so effective scrambling in the first half, has been been held in check since as Virginia Tech's defensive line has chosen not to rush him as aggressively.
Hundley ran for 168 yards in six carries in the first half. He lost five yards in two carries in the third quarter.
UCLA 14, Virginia Tech 10 (3:53 left in third quarter)
Virginia Tech cashes in on UCLA's turnover -- but not the way it needed to.
Michael Brantover, a junior, made the first field goal of his college career, from 22 yards out.
But it could have been worse for the Bruins after a Shaquelle Evans fumble gave the Hokies the ball at the UCLA 12-yard line.
The Bruins held thanks to some good goal-line pass coverage by Anthony Jefferson, who batted away Mark Leal's pass to D.J. Coles in the end zone on a third-and-two play.
UCLA makes the first big turnover of the game.
Shaquelle Evans muffed a punt after signaling for a fair catch, and Virginia Tech recovered at UCLA's 12-yard line with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
Backup Mark Leal is still at quarterback for Virginia Tech at the start of the second half.
Starter Logan Thomas hasn't played since taking a big hit from UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt early in the second quarter.
UCLA leads Virginia Tech, 14-7, at halftime of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, and Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley has been the difference.
Against the nation's seventh-rated defense against the run, Hundley has scrambled for 168 yards in six carries. His 86-yard touchdown run -- partially made possible by two crushing downfield blocks by receivers Devin Fuller and Shaquelle Evans -- is the difference.
Hundley has completed seven of 17 passes for 73 yards. That's an average of 4.3 yards per pass play. When he runs, he's picking up an average of 28 yards.
Virginia Tech has been without its starting quarterback, Logan Thomas, since early in the second quarter.
Thomas, who is 6 feet 6, 260 pounds, was involved in two big hits in a matter of a couple of plays.
On the first, in the process of gaining 25 yards on a run, he leveled UCLA's Myles Jack, knocking the Bruins' freshman star five yards backward and onto his backside.
But UCLA exacted revenge, with Bruins linebacker Jordan Zumwalt decking Thomas just after the quarterback delivered a pass.
Zumwalt hit Thomas with the crown of his helmet, just under the quarterback's facemask and into his chin.
Backup Mark Leal played the rest of the half, though Thomas, after spending time getting examined on the bench, was standing and animated on the Hokies sideline toward the end of the half.
Thomas completed three of 11 passes for 46 yards and had 50 yards rushing in three carries.
Leal has completed four of five passes for 46 yards, but has lost nine yards in two runs.
Virginia Tech drove from its own 22 as far as the UCLA 24, but then a holding penalty and a sack by Bruins linebacker Kenny Orjioke turned the Hokies away.
Michael Brantover tried a 46-yard field goal, but it was wide right and short.
UCLA leads, 14-7, with less than two minutes left in the half.
Brantover, a junior, is usually a punter. It was his first field-goal attempt.
Virginia Tech lost its best kicker in November, when Jody Journell was dismissed from the team. The Hokies then went with Erik Kristensen at placekicker, but he doesn't have the leg Brantover does.
Mark Leal is still in at quarterback for Virginia Tech, replacing Logan Thomas.
Thomas is standing on the Hokies' sideline and looks alert, but the training staff still hasn't returned his helmet to him.
Thomas took a huge hit from UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt early in the second quarter.
UCLA 14, Virginia Tech 7 (9:17 left in second quarter)
Who needs a quarterback who can pass?
Not UCLA. Not today.
Virginia Tech would be far better off letting Brett Hundley pass when he drops back in the pocket.
But no, the Hokies keep trying to sack him. And he keeps making them pay.
Hundley broke loose on his longest run of the season, 84 yards, to put UCLA in the lead at the Sun Bowl.
Hundley made some nice moves to escape, but he also picked up two crushing downfield blocks from receivers Devin Fuller and Shaquelle Evans.
Hundley has 168 yards rushing in six carries.
Two huge hits in a matter of a couple of plays.
On the first, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas knocked star UCLA freshman Myles Jack five yards back and onto his rear end on a 25-yard run.
The second was payback, delivered by UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, who flattened Thomas just after the quarterback delivered a pass.
Thomas is big enough to give it and take it. He's 6 feet 6, 260 pounds.
However, he was helped off the field after Zumwalt's hit and is being examined on the Hokies' sideline. Backup Mark Leal, a junior, is now at the controls of the Virginia Tech offense.
UCLA and Virginia Tech are tied, 7-7, after on quarter at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
UCLA has a 156-103 edge in total yardage. The Bruins have run for 108 yards -- 82 in five carries by quarterback Brett Hundley.
UCLA drives from its own 19 to the Virginia Tech 18 but it goes for naught as Ka'imi Fairbairn is wide left on a 36-yard field-goal attempt.
UCLA and Virginia Tech are tied, 7-7, in the final minute of the first quarter.
Virginia Tech keeps blitzing and stunting trying to put pressure on Brett Hundley.
How much sense does that make? Decide for yourself:
Hundley passing so far: four of eight for 36 yards.
Hundley running so far: five carries for 82 yards, a 16.4-yard average.
Kalvin Cline is a 6-5 freshman tight end from Florida who has more than a catchy name. He's a good-looking receiver.
He's also now limping on a gimpy left knee. If he can't come back, that would be a blow to Virginia Tech's offense.
UCLA 7, Virginia Tech 7 (8:14 left in first quarter)
Lot of Kalvin Cline jokes from the CBS broadcast team about the Virginia Tech receiver who hauled in a 37-yard pass that was the key play on the Hokies' scoring drive.
Virginia Tech drove 74 yards in six plays, with quarterback Logan Thomas involved in the two biggest plays -- the pass to Cline and a 19-yard run.
J.C. Coleman scored from two yards out on the play after Cline's designer catch. (Apologies)
On UCLA's second possession, Hundley completed a pass and the Bruins ran twice -- neither by Hundley.
The result: three plays and a punt.
Virginia Tech is hereby advised NOT to rush Hundley and force him to scramble. He beats people that way.
UCLA 7, Virginia Tech 0 (13:26 left in first quarter)
Attention Virginia Tech:
In case you didn't notice watching all that game film, it just doesn't pay to flush Brett Hundley out of the pocket and prompt him to run.
UCLA drove 74 yards in its first possession against what statistically is one of the nation's top defenses.
Virginia Tech hurt itself with 25 yards in penalties and Hundley pretty much did the rest himself.
He completed his only pass for 15 yards and he ran twice for 32 yards -- a 25-yard scramble and another for a seven-yard touchdown.
Hiserman is reporting from Los Angeles.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times