This was something new for UCLA, a receiver racing down field and a long pass going to him.
Devin Fuller, who hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass against Colorado, could feel a difference on the sideline. Fans who booed after the Bruins failed to get a first down on their first two drives were now cheering.
“I knew it was big play for our team,” Fuller said. “We had gone three and out on the first two drives. We got stuffed on the first run of that drive. It gave everyone confidence.”
Fuller seems capable of providing more such moments. The sophomore was a big part of UCLA’s first three scoring drives in a 45-23 victory over Colorado.
He had the longest touchdown reception for the Bruins since 2011 for a 7-0 lead. Fuller’s 38-yard kickoff return gave UCLA good field position on its second touchdown drive. He also caught a 17-yard pass on a third-and-four play to extend the drive, which ended with Brett Hundley’s 11-yard touchdown run. Fuller then caught a six-yard touchdown pass for a 21-10 lead.
Fuller finished his performance with an eight-yard touchdown run.
“He’s great with all the versatility he brings to the field,” Hundley said. “You can put him anywhere on the field. He can return kicks. He is such an athletic guy. People are really starting to take notice.”
The long touchdown pass took a little heat off offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. UCLA had not completed a pass longer than 26 yards in the previous two games.
“I knew I was the second progression for Brett, so he had to look somewhere else before he could look at me,” Fuller said. “I was patiently waiting for it.”
Fuller had the time, having left defensive back Jered Bell 10 yards behind him.
“For a second I thought, ‘Man I might overthrow this cat,’ ” Hundley said. “But he ran under it pretty quick.”
Fuller finished with three receptions for 99 yards. He leads the team with 34 receptions and 417 yards receiving.
Fuller’s eight-yard run touchdown run made him the second UCLA player to catch a touchdown pass, run for a touchdown and throw a touchdown pass this season. He threw a touchdown pass to Hundley against Utah.
“Honestly, he can beat you with speed or running a route,” Hundley said. “Either way, it’s hard to guard him.”
Hundley walking for a cause
Hundley will be at the Rose Bowl on the morning of Nov. 17 for the Walk to End Epilepsy. His sister, Paris, who has epilepsy, and his mother, April, will also take part in the annual 5K run and one-mile walk.
“I have to be there to support my sister,” Hundley said. “No matter how sore I am, unless I have to get treatment, I am going to be there.”
There is a $25 registration fee. Check-in and registration begin at 8 a.m. Information: walktoendepilepsy.org.
If Oregon wins its remaining games, including the Pac-12 Conference championship game, it is all but assured a spot in the national title game. So where would that leave the Rose Bowl?
Rose Bowl officials will take an at-large team and the loser of the Pac-12 title game would be strongly considered.
Ah, but not so fast Bruins fans.
The Rose Bowl has to take a team that finishes among the top 14 in the final Bowl Championship Series standings. UCLA was 19th this week. The Bruins not only have to get to the conference title game, but would need some help to reach No. 14.