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UCLA vs. Houston: live game report

UCLA 37, Houston 6 (final)

After the Cougars moved into the Bruins’ territory with three consecutive completions, quarterback David Piland misfired on four consecutive plays to end their hopes of scoring again.

UCLA has reserve Melvin Emesibe rush three times for a first down to help run out the clock.

The Bruins, ranked No. 22, improve to 3-0 with the victory while the Cougars fall to 0-3.

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UCLA 37, Houston 6 (3:10 left in fourth quarter)

The Bruins are trying to run out the clock, but the ended up in the end zone in five plays.

Steven Manfro scored on a 14-yard run. Damien Thigpen did the biggest damage, gaining seven and 41 yards in back-to-back plays.

UCLA 30, Houston 6 (4:54 left in fourth quarter)

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The Cougars won’t walk away scoreless.

Quarterback David Piland sprinted 86 yards for a touchdown to break the shutout. The two-point conversion run failed.

UCLA 30, Houston 0 (1:19 in third quarter)

Another trip to the red zone for UCLA, another field goal for the Bruins.

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Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked his third field goal of the night, a 33-yarder, to give UCLA a 30-point lead over -- and let’s be honest -- a pretty bad Houston squad.

UCLA went 25 yards in 11 plays covering 4 minutes 46 seconds. And, like the previous drive, this one was set up by an interception by the Bruins’ defense, when Sheldon Price picked off a pass by Houston’s David Piland.

The interception was the second of the night for Price and the fourth for the Bruins.

UCLA 27, Houston 0 (6:15 left in third quarter)

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The Bruins were close and came up short for a touchdown, but they didn’t leave the red zone without some points.

Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 23-yard field goal to pad UCLA’s lead. It’s his second field goal of the night.

His kick was set up with an interception by UCLA safety Tevin McDonald, who returned the pick 50 yards to the Houston 10-yard line.

That was the third interception of the game for UCLA, and on Houston’s next offensive possession, the Bruins earned another one when defensive back Sheldon Price made his second interception of the night.

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Houston quarterback David Piland has completed only 19 of 42 passes for 179 yards with four interceptions.

UCLA 24, Houston 0 (12:51left in third quarter)

Brett Hundley threw his second touchdown of the night when Jordon James took a short swing pass 12 yards to the end zone. The score capped a six-play, 45-yard drive that spanned 2 minutes 12 seconds.

That drive was fairly short, you’ll notice, and it was because the Bruins’ Damien Thigpen returned the seocnd-half kickoff 55 yards.

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Hundley is 22-for-32 pasing for 241 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Johnathan Franklin has 14 carries for 70 yards.

UCLA 17, Houston 0 (halftime)

It hasn’t been a pretty first half. UCLA’s only two touchdowns were scored by defensive players and the Bruins have committed three turnovers: two fumbles and an interception.

Still, the Bruins lead going into the locker room.

Houston’s high-powered offense, which came in averaging 509.5 yards a game, has been kept quiet. The Cougars have run 42 total plays and earned 150 yards. They also have only five first downs.

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Houston quarterback David Piland is 16-for-33 passing with 155 passing yards and one interception.

The big stat: Houston has nine rushing plays for minus-five yards.

Meanwhile, UCLA has looked OK, but not great, against what was thought to be a pushover-opponent.

The Bruins’ offense has gained 308 total yards in 53 plays, and quarterback Brett Hundley has thrown for 211 yards, completing 19 of 29 passes.

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Hundley has thrown one touchdown pass, which went to defensive end Datone Jones, and has had one pass intercepted.

Steven Manfro is UCLA’s leading receiver with six catches for 72 yards. Running back Johnathan Franklin is the Bruins’ leading rusher with 57 yards on 12 carries.

The Bruins have picked up 16 first downs. Their only other touchdown was on a 23-yard fumble return by linebacker Eric Kendricks on the game’s second play.

UCLA 17, Houston 0 (12:35 left in second quarter)

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There can only be one ... undefeated major college football team in Los Angeles.

And at the moment -- with No. 2 USC having been upset by Stanford in Palo Alto -- that team is No. 22 UCLA.

The Bruins just tacked on a 35-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn that followed a 27-yard punt return by Steven Manfro.

Also, the loudest cheers of the night thus far came when they announced the score of the USC game. It’s hard to imagine the Rose Bowl getting much louder the rest of this game.

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UCLA 14, Houston 0 (4:02 left in first quarter)

And open in the end zone for UCLA ... Datone Jones?

Yes, the UCLA senior defensive end was playing offense, and his first-ever catch went for a seven-yard touchdown.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Jones lined up at tight end, as he did for a few plays last week against Nebraska, and rolled out on a play-action play. Quarterback Brett Hundley found the big man for six.

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The touchdown capped a 17-play, 90-yard drive that spanned 4 minutes 57 seconds. It took a while for UCLA to get some rhythm on offense, but it happened on this drive.

UCLA 7, Houston 0 (14:44 left in the first quarter)

Well, that was fast.

On the second play of the game, Houston quarterback David Piland threw a short swing pass to Ronnie Williams. The pass was behind the line of scrimmage and it bounced off Williams’ hands. For a moment, it just sat there, as a live ball.

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A moment later, UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks scooped it up and he ran 23 yards to the end zone. Touchdown, Bruins. The extra point by Ka’imi Fairbairn was good.

Pregame

Hey there, DirecTV subscriber.

We kid. Of course, if you do have DirecTV, you won’t be able to watch tonight’s game between the No. 22 UCLA Bruins (2-0) and the Houston Cougars (0-2) at the Rose Bowl. No worries. Stick with us here at the Los Angeles Times. We’ll be live blogging tonight’s affair, so stay tuned here for what should be a big UCLA win (Bruins are favored by about 17 points).

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A couple of players/aspects to keep an eye on:

--UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin: the dynamic (and, yes, potential Heisman Trophy candidate) leads the nation in rushing (215.5 yards a game). He’s 96 yards from moving into second place on the Bruins’ career rushing list, which would put him at 3,196. No. 1 on that list is Gaston Green, who has 3,731 yards.

--UCLA TE Joseph Fauria has three touchdowns in two games after having six touchdowns all of last season. The 6-foot-7 senior has been a red-zone target for freshman quarterback Brett Hundley and that should continue tonight.

--UCLA has rushed for 343 yards and 344 yards in its first two games after posting six 200-yard rushing yards games last season. UCLA is 80-3-1 when rushing for at least 250 yards, and its rushing offense this season ranks 2nd nationally.

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--UCLA will be without guard Jeff Baca, who left last week’s Nebraska game with what was believed to be a concussion. He is not in uniform for warmups and he did not practice during the week. reg Capella was expected to take Baca’s spot at right guard. Capella was slowed during training camp because of a concussion. When he returned, the in offensive line was set. “I could look at it with bad attitude, and feel sorry for myself because I wasn’t getting a lot of work in practice,” Capella said. “Or I could approach it that I was working toward helping the team. The last couple weeks I feel like I’m getting back to where I was.”

-- UCLA cornerback Ishmael Adams is also not in uniform for undisclosed reasons. Adams, a freshman, has been used mostly in pass defense packages.

--In the second half of its first two games, UCLA’s defense has been dominant, giving up a total of 183 yards of offense and six points.

--Lastly, this game is a rematch of last season when these teams met in Houston and the Cougars won, 38-34. This season’s Cougars aren’t nearly as good, having lost their first two games, including falling to 36-point underdog Texas State. Not too long after that game, Houston fired its offensive coordinator. But like last season, Houston will still air it out. In its 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech last week, Houston quarterback David Piland threw 77 passes and completed 53 of them, finishing with 580 yards and four touchdowns. He set an NCAA record in that game for most passing attempts with an interception; the previous record was 76, set by two players, one of them his predecessor at Houston, Case Keenum, in 2009.

ALSO:

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Florida State’s Chris Thompson completes comeback

Louisiana Monroe falls short of upsetting another SEC foe

Nebraska wins big but Arkansas State looks like a million bucks


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