Dante Moore showcases his game-changing talent as UCLA dominates San Diego State

UCLA quarterback Dante Moore passes during the first half against San Diego State on Saturday.
UCLA quarterback Dante Moore passes during the first half of a 35-10 win over San Diego State on Saturday.
(Tony Ding / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

UCLA freshman quarterback Dante Moore continues to prove he’s worthy of the starting job for the Bruins in a win over San Diego State.

Dante Moore and UCLA dominate in win over San Diego State

🏈 UCLA 35, San Diego State 10 — FINAL

SAN DIEGO — The kid can play.

What was supposed to be a competition turned into a coronation Saturday evening, UCLA quarterback Dante Moore seizing the moment when given his first career start.

The freshman may never give the job back.

Looking poised and polished, Moore led the Bruins to a 35-10 victory over San Diego State at Snapdragon Stadium while making an airtight case to be named the permanent starter.

Trumpeting his arrival more loudly than the pregame F-35 fighter jet flyover, Moore completed 17 of 27 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns against an opponent known for sturdy defense.

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Collin Schlee takes over at QB for Bruins in fourth quarter

🏈 UCLA 35, San Diego State 10 — 12:55 left in the fourth quarter

UCLA’s defense continues to shine, stopping San Diego State on a fourth-and-6 to thwart the Aztecs’ efforts to build any momentum. The Bruins have held San Diego State to 237 total yards and its running game to 54 yards.

Collin Schlee has entered the game at quarterback, taking over for Dante Moore. With the defense playing as well as it has, it’s hard to imagine the Aztecs mounting a comeback, even if Schlee falters in his first appearance in a Bruins uniform.


UCLA extends lead late in third quarter on Dante Moore’s third TD

🏈 UCLA 35, San Diego State 10 — 2:05 left in the third quarter

Dante Moore capped a long drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Carsen Ryan to keep the Bruins firmly in control against San Diego State.

The pass capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive that came after San Diego State failed to capitalize on a prime scoring chance on its previous possession.

Moore has taken every snap for the Bruins so far. He has completed 17 of 27 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns.


UCLA still leads 28-10 after crazy sequence in third quarter

🏈 UCLA 28, San Diego State 10 — 6:25 left in the third quarter

UCLA survived a crazy sequence of events when linebacker Darius Muasau intercepted a pass in the the end zone to thwart the Aztecs’ best chance of scoring a touchdown since the first quarter.

The series of baffling plays started when Alex Johnson intercepted a pass from Aztecs quarterback Jalen Mayden. Three plays later, UCLA quarterback Dante Moore fumbled the ball after getting hit by San Diego State defensive lineman Tupu Alualu, with the ball bouncing toward the end zone.

Referees initially ruled that San Diego State’s Trey White recovered the ball in the end zone and a touchdown before the call on the field was reverse upon video review.

On first and goal from the Bruins’ one-yard line, San Diego State failed to punch it in before trying to go with a short pass that was intercepted by Muasau for a touchback.


Dante Moore leads UCLA to a 28-10 halftime lead

🏈 UCLA 28, San Diego State 10 — HALFTIME

Freshman quarterback Dante Moore continues to showcase why he’s the frontrunner for UCLA’s full-time starting quarterback role.

Moore completed 11 of 19 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns to put the Bruins firmly in control at halftime.

T.J. Harden has 73 yards and a touchdown on five carries and Carson Steele has 46 yards on six carries.

San Diego State quarterback Jalen Mayden has 113 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-18 passing.

Will UCLA coach Chip Kelly give Ethan Garbers or Collin Schlee a chance under center in the second half or stay with the hot hand?


Dante Moore throws another TD pass to give UCLA commanding lead

🏈 UCLA 28, San Diego State 10 — 1:20 left in second quarter

Dante Moore connected on a 24-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Logan Loya to cap off a fast-past drive that gives the Bruins a commanding lead before halftime.

Moore continues to bolster his chances of being named as UCLA’s full-time starting quarterback. He completed passes of 16 and six yards to Kam Brown before completing a 35-yard pass to Moliki Matavao before the Loya touchdown catch.

The seven-play, 85-yard drive gave the Bruins 325 yards of total offense.


Aztecs cut into UCLA’s lead with field goal

🏈 UCLA 21, San Diego State 10 — 5:03 left in the second quarter

San Diego State settled for a 44-yard field goal by Jack Browning after wide receiver Joshua Nicholson let a touchdown pass bounce off his fingertips.

Nicholson beat UCLA cornerback Devin Kirkwood but couldn’t haul in Jalen Mayden’s perfect pass in the end zone.


T.J. Harden extends UCLA’s lead on 59-yard touchdown run

🏈 UCLA 21, San Diego State 7 — 10:21 left in the second quarter

T.J. Harden took advantage of a huge combo block by the O-line to break through a wide gap in the San Diego State defense and score on a 59-yard touchdown run.

Harden picked up six and three yards to start the Bruins’ fifth possession before sprinting untouched to the end zone.

UCLA has 218 total yards of offense. Freshman quarterback Dante Moore has played the entire game so far.


Carson Steele touchdown run puts Bruins ahead in second quarter

🏈 UCLA 14, San Diego State 7 — 14:58 left in the second quarter

On fourth and one, UCLA running back Carson Steele blasted through a wide gap in the Aztecs’ line untouched for a 13-yard field goal, putting the Bruins ahead on the first play of the second quarter.

The play capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive fueled by a 12-yard catch by receiver J.Michael Sturdivant and an eight-yard run by quarterback Dante Moore. The freshman signal-caller has completed five of eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown so far.

Steele has 24 yards on four carries for UCLA, which has scored on its last two possessions.


San Diego State wastes little time striking back

🏈 UCLA 7, San Diego State 7 — 2:33 left in the first quarter

The Aztecs didn’t waste time striking back after the Bruins’ touchdown.

After struggling against the UCLA defense on its first two possession, San Diego State got its short passing game working before quarterback Jalen Mayden ending a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mekhi Shaw.

Quick passes and screen passes allowed the Aztecs to methodically march on the Bruins before Shaw was able to muscle through a tackle attempt by cornerback Devin Kirkwood to score.


UCLA takes early lead on Dante Moore-to-Josiah Norwood TD

🏈 UCLA 7, San Diego State 0 — 7:26 left in the first quarter

Freshman Dante Moore got the start for the Bruins, and he hasn’t disappointed so far.

Moore connected on an 81-yard touchdown pass to receiver Josiah Norwood to give the Bruins an early lead.

The Bruins went three-and-out on their first possession and picked up a first down behind a couple of short runs by Carson Steele on their second possession before punting.

After another defensive stop by the Bruins, Moore zipped a pass over the middle to Norwood, who was already on top of the Aztecs defense, sprinting unobstructed to the end zone.


Commentary: Amid the Pac-12 ruins, one big question emerges — why does the NCAA still exist?

Oregon State's Ryan Cooper Jr. attempts to strip the ball from Washington State's De'Zhaun Stribling.
Oregon State’s Ryan Cooper Jr. (23) attempts to strip the ball from Washington State’s De’Zhaun Stribling (88) while Oregon State’s Omar Speights (1) assists on the tackle during a game on Oct. 15, 2022, in Corvallis, Ore.
(Mark Ylen / Associated Press)

As we ponder the end of the Pac-12 Conference, should we celebrate the new Pac-2, or commiserate that so much of college sports has dropped into a giant cesspool? So many questions.

Should we feel bad for the wallflowers, Oregon State and Washington State, who now become the tragic twosome? Nobody wants to dance with them. OK, maybe the Mountain West will flirt, but from the Pac-12 to the Mountain West? C’mon.

Can the jilted pair look past their rejection, claim their sovereignty, and simply demand all the Pac-12 assets left behind? Or can they play each other every weekend, home and away — or maybe at the Rose Bowl, Coliseum, or Husky Stadium overlooking Lake Washington? Fans in those places might be starved for some real football after doses of Rutgers and Nebraska.

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Dante Moore makes his points in UCLA’s opener as quarterback battle drags on

UCLA quarterback Dante Moore throws a pass against Coastal Carolina.
UCLA quarterback Dante Moore (3) throws a pass during a game against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 2 at the Rose Bowl.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

They played the same number of drives, not counting the one that finished with a kneel down at game’s end. Their completion percentages were almost identical. So was UCLA’s offensive production behind each quarterback.

Ethan Garbers’ five drives covered 31 plays and produced 210 yards against Coastal Carolina on Saturday night. Dante Moore’s five drives — plus the final drive to run out the clock — covered 31 plays and produced 212 yards.

There was one area in which Moore won in a runaway: points per drive. The Bruins scored 20 points when Moore was the quarterback, including 13 during the decisive fourth quarter of a 27-13 victory over the Chanticleers.

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Ultimate SoCal college football sports bar guide: Find out where to watch your team

Football bar guide

It’s easy to find USC and UCLA fans in Southern California, but where can proud Georgia, Michigan, Florida or Alabama fans go to watch games in the Los Angeles area with like-minded sports expats?

Look no further than the Los Angeles Times’ ultimate SoCal college football sports bar guide.

If you’re an alum or fan of teams from the Power Five conferences — the ACC and ally Notre Dame, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — this guide will lead you to your tribe. No longer will you be the only person cheering and clapping at the bar when Alabama scores a touchdown or walk into a bar wearing Michigan blue and only seeing others decked out in Ohio State gear.

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Q&A: The downfall of the Pac-12: How did we get here and what comes next?

The Pac12 logo is seen at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
(George Frey / Getty Images)

The Pac-12 is now down to the Pac-2.

With the news last week that Stanford and California will bolt to the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, the speedy demise of a power conference that has been around for more than a century is nearly complete, with only Washington State and Oregon State remaining.

For now, at least.

Naturally, there are a lot of questions that come with these developments. Here’s an attempt at answering some of them.

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UCLA’s J.Michael Sturdivant delivering ‘straight facts’ with his game-changing speed

UCLA wide receiver J.Michael Sturdivant, right, celebrates his touchdown.
UCLA wide receiver J.Michael Sturdivant, right, celebrates his touchdown with running back TJ Harden and wide receiver Kyle Ford during the second half against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 2 at the Rose Bowl.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Two days later, Melodie Sturdivant was just starting to get her voice back. Screaming from a seat high above the Rose Bowl field, she had provided a joyous soundtrack to her son’s UCLA debut, vocal chords straining with every breathtaking catch.

“I think I lost my voice,” she recalled Monday evening after returning to her suburban Dallas home, “on the play where he scored the touchdown.”

J.Michael Sturdivant’s breakaway 62-yard score early in the fourth quarter of the Bruins’ season opener against Coastal Carolina provided some breathing room while leaving everyone in his family breathless.

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Five things to watch when UCLA takes on San Diego State

UCLA quarterback Dante Moore gets set to pass.
UCLA quarterback Dante Moore gets set to pass during the second half against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 2 at the Rose Bowl.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

UCLA’s quarterback battle took a humorous turn this week when Chip Kelly announced that a reporter would start at the position against San Diego State.

“Heavy run emphasis,” the coach cracked while eyeing the reporter. “A lot of handoffs.”

Bruins fans certainly seem ready for someone to take off and run with the thing after watching Ethan Garbers and Dante Moore split time at quarterback in the season opener. Potentially complicating things further, Kelly has indicated that Collin Schlee will also play against the Aztecs on Saturday afternoon at Snapdragon Stadium, though his use could be limited to situations that maximize his running ability.

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