UCLA delivers dominant first half and rolls to win over Stanford

UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau (53) celebrates after intercepting a pass by Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee.
UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau (53) celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pass by Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee during the first half Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet helped the Bruins earn a 38-13 win over Stanford at the Rose Bowl Saturday.

Zach Charbonnet bulldozes Stanford’s Rose Bowl winning streak in dominant UCLA win

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet runs over Stanford defenders to score a touchdown.
UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet runs over Stanford defenders to score a touchdown in the second half of the Bruins’ 38-13 victory Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Chip Kelly is known for game plans with more variety than a bag of Halloween candy, all sorts of options available at any given moment.

He really needed only one play to beat Stanford: hand Zach Charbonnet the ball.

From its opening drive Saturday night, UCLA’s offense fell into a predictable, successful pattern by relying on its sturdy running back. Charbonnet got carries on the Bruins’ first three plays, rolling off runs of 14, 11 and 11 yards before quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw his first pass.

It was a winning formula.

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UCLA dominates Stanford behind Zach Charbonnet

Zach Charbonnet tied his career high in rushing with 198 yards in a 38-13 rout over Stanford on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

The running back outrushed Stanford by himself as the No. 12 Bruins (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) recovered from their loss at Oregon last week against the struggling Cardinal (3-5, 1-5) that rushed for 126 yards on 33 carries.

Charbonnet, who carried the ball 21 times for a 9.4 yards per carry average and three touchdowns, led a potent rushing attack that flirted with the rushing record under head coach Chip Kelly. UCLA’s previous best under the head coach was 329 rushing yards against Arizona in 2021. The Bruins matched the number late in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Ethan Garbers, who entered the blowout in relief of starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson took a sack for a five-yard loss, putting the final mark at 324 rushing yards.

Thompson-Robinson had a relatively quiet night with 199 passing yards while completing 62% of his passes (18-for-29). He had one rushing touchdown.

After allowing a season-high 545 yards to Oregon last week, the Bruins recovered with a shut-down performance against the anemic Cardinal. Stanford, which went 11 quarters without a touchdown before a two-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter Saturday, was outgained 523-264.

Darius Muasau led the Bruins with nine tackles and one interception against Stanford’s Tanner McKee, who was 13-for-29 for 115 yards and a touchdown.


Ethan Garbers takes over for Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s night is done with 199 passing yards and one rushing touchdown.

The fifth-year senior will head to the bench with a secure 38-18 lead over Stanford with 4:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. Ethan Garbers will take over to finish the game.

Thompson-Robinson has been sacked twice and hit numerous other times, appearing to labor through most of this game. He completed 18 of 29 passes and rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries, including a 20-yard scramble in the first half.


Stanford finally finds the end zone

After 11 touchdown-less quarters, Stanford has finally found the end zone.

The Cardinal scored on a two-yard touchdown pass from Tanner McKee to Benjamin Yurosek with 4:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. UCLA still leads 38-13.

Stanford last scored a touchdown in the first quarter against Notre Dame on Oct. 15. Despite the offensive ineptitude, the Cardinal still beat the Fighting Irish and secured a win at Arizona State last week.

But field goals were not keeping pace with UCLA tonight as the Bruins have outgained Stanford 523-237. Stanford has 118 rushing yards, while UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet has 198 by himself.


Kazmeir Allen turns on the afterburners in fourth quarter

Kazmeir Allen smoked the Stanford defense for a 72-yard touchdown run that put UCLA ahead 38-6 with 10:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Allen, a 100-meter dash CIF state champion in high school, took the handoff from Dorian Thompson-Robinson, patiently waited for a hole to open up on the right side and cut up field to run untouched into the end zone.

All of UCLA’s touchdowns have come on the ground, with three from Zach Charbonnet and one apiece from Allen and Thompson-Robinson.


Zach Charbonnet keeps UCLA offense rolling

Just when what’s left of this UCLA crowd was ready to fall asleep during a slow third quarter, Zach Charbonnet jolted the fans awake with a 37-yard touchdown run to put the Bruins up 31-6 entering the fourth quarter.

Charbonnet stepped through a shoestring tackle, bowled past two more defenders and strolled into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day. He has 178 rushing yards on 17 carries and leads the Bruins in receiving with 61 yards and five catches.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is 18-for-29 for 199 yards.


JonJon Vaughns injures right leg

Linebacker JonJon Vaughns went straight to the injury tent after appearing to injure his right leg in the third quarter. Vaughns got off the field under his own power, but made it to the sideline by hopping and quickly limping.

The Bruins lead 24-6 with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter as neither team has passed midfield during the second quarter.


UCLA starts second half on offense

UCLA gets a quick opportunity to recover from its late second-half mishaps. The Bruins start the third quarter on offense after missing a field goal during the final drive of the first half.

Stanford’s opening kickoff sailed into the end zone for a touchback.


UCLA in control at halftime

Despite some late miscues, UCLA is safely in front of Stanford 24-6 at halftime.

Almost all the stats indicate an ideal first half for UCLA. The Bruins are outgaining Stanford 313-95 with 19 first downs compared to Stanford’s seven, but the Bruins have not been spotless.

They had two drops on one drive, four false start penalties and Dorian Thompson-Robinson missed a wide-open Kam Brown late in the second quarter on what would have been an easy touchdown pass. UCLA walked away with no points on the drive after Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 41-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

After completing 13 of his first 18 passes, Thompson-Robinson missed four of his last five before halftime. He is 14-of-23 passing for 151 yards with 44 rushing yards and a touchdown. He was sacked once for a 14-yard loss.

Zach Charbonnet is having no trouble carrying UCLA’s offense with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Jake Bobo has a team-high 40 receiving yards on three catches, but he had one of the first-half drops.

Stanford, which has won back-to-back games despite scoring just 31 combined points in two weeks, stretched its touchdown-less streak to nine quarters. Quarterback Tanner McKee is 5-of-12 passing for 49 yards and one interception. The Cardinal are averaging just 2.7 yards per rush.


Fumbled punt leads to Stanford field goal

Stanford scored on a 49-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining in the second quarter, but UCLA remains in control with a 24-6 lead.

The Bruins were in line to get the ball back after a Stanford three-and-out, but Stanford’s Brycen Tremayne tackled punt returner Logan Loya right as he caught the ball, jarring it loose. Loya got stuck under the pile and emerged limping while Stanford celebrated the recovery that have its offense the ball on the UCLA 32-yard line.

But even the jolt of energy from the turnover couldn’t get the Cardinal offense in motion as Stanford gained just one net yard on the following three drives and had to settle for the long field goal. Stanford hasn’t scored a touchdown since the first quarter against Notre Dame on Oct. 15.


Zach Charbonnet adds his second touchdown of the night

It’ll bring down his yards per carry average, but Zach Charbonnet was still happy to celebrate a one-yard rushing touchdown that put UCLA up 24-3 with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter.

Charbonnet appeared to have scored on the previous play, running through several Stanford defenders into the end zone on first-and-goal from the nine-yard line, but was called down at the one after a review. The offense, which had left the field already, had to run back on to finish the drive. Charbonnet has 99 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is 10-fwor-15 passing for 109 yards with one rushing touchdown, but looked to be laboring through most of the drive. He was dragged down by Ricky Miezan down on a quarterback keeper on the first play of the drive. He was able to scramble for key conversions on third-and-one and fourth-and-three, but was walking slowly between plays and kept his head bowed, even as teammates ran for extra yardage.


UCLA adds field goal to open second quarter

UCLA tacked on a 31-yard field goal from Nicholas Barr-Mira to extend its lead to 17-3 with 12:57 to play in the first half.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson showed his rushing ability on fourth-and-six from the Stanford 47-yard line by scrambling for 20 yards. Along with 54 passing yards, he has 30 rushing yards in three offensive drives.

UCLA is averaging seven yards per play, on pace with their Pac-12-leading 7.09-yard per play clip.


UCLA defensive coordinator Bill McGovern absent because of illness

UCLA defensive coordinator Bill McGovern is absent during tonight’s game because of an illness, a UCLA spokesperson confirmed to reporters as the first quarter ended.

The Bruins are up 14-3 and have outgained the Cardinal 142-75.

Clancy Pendergast, the former USC defensive coordinator, is taking McGovern’s spot in the booth. Defensive coaches are calling plays in a “collaborative effort,” the spokesperson said. Pendergast was a defensive analyst for the Bruins last year.


Darius Muasau interception leads to quick Charbonnet touchdown

UCLA couldn’t dream of a better start.

One play after scoring on its first possession, UCLA got the ball back on an interception from linebacker Darius Muasau, which set the offense up on Stanford’s 23-yard line. Zach Charbonnet took over from there, rushing untouched into the end zone for a 14-3 lead with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Charbonnet has 67 yards on six carries and the touchdown. Muasau, a transfer from Hawaii plucked the ball out of the air as Stanford’s Tanner McKee tried to throw over the middle for the linebacker’s second interception this year. He entered the game as UCLA’s second-leading tackler with 46 stops.


Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonnet power UCLA’s first touchdown drive

Two false start penalties threatened to derail UCLA’s first offensive possession, but the infractions were no match for Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

After Charbonnetran for 44 yards on five carries, Thompson-Robinson capped off a 12-play drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown to put UCLA up 7-3 with 6:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Charbonnet carried the ball on each of the drive’s first three drives, rushing for three consecutive first downs. He also caught a 25-yard pass from Thompson-Robinson on the drive.

Thompson-Robinson completed a key pass to Jake Bobo on fourth-and-six from the Stanford 35-yard line that kept UCLA’s drive going. Chip Kelly’s cautious fourth-down decisions last week, including opting for a field goal on fourth-and-five from the Oregon 26-yard line in the second quarter, was a topic of discussion after the loss.

Thompson-Robinson was three-for-five passing for 35 yards on the first drive.


UCLA holds Stanford to field goal on opening drive

Stanford kicked a 22-yard field goal on its opening possession to take a 3-0 lead with 10:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cardinal easily drove into the red zone and got help from a pass interference penalty on UCLA’s John Humphrey that gave Stanford first-and-goal from the UCLA five-yard line. But the Bruins stonewalled back-to-back runs and Humphrey forced an incomplete pass on third down to bring on the field goal unit.


UCLA starts on defense in bounce-back opportunity

Hello from the Rose Bowl, this is Thuc Nhi Nguyen and I’ll be your live blog pilot tonight.

No. 12 UCLA (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) is trying to bounce back from its loss to Oregon while Stanford (3-4, 1-4) has a two-game winning streak despite scoring just 31 points in those victories.

The anemic Stanford offense should give the UCLA defense a much-needed opportunity to bounce back after the Bruins gave up 545 yards to Oregon, the most for a UCLA opponent this year. UCLA will start on defense after winning the toss and deferring to the second half.


Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff still contends UCLA’s exit is a major misstep

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks at Pac-12 football media day on July 29.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO — Like a point guard trying to force a turnover to complete an improbable rally, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff remained on the attack Wednesday in his bid to keep UCLA from abandoning his conference for the Big Ten.

Kliavkoff said at Pac-12 basketball media day that among the more than 100 UCLA coaches and athletes he had corresponded with about the departure, there was unanimous opposition.

“I have yet to talk to anyone in the UCLA and USC community who’s in favor of the move,” Kliavkoff said at conference headquarters, referencing the Trojans’ exit alongside their crosstown rivals scheduled for August 2024. “I will say that I probably hear from folks who are not in favor, not surprisingly.”

Reiterating what he wrote last month in a letter to the UC Board of Regents asking the governing body to block UCLA’s move, Kliavkoff said the university would lose money because of its departure.

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A culture club of ‘books and ball’ under Chip Kelly is a dual success for No. 12 UCLA

UCLA coach Chip Kelly stands on the sideline during a loss to Oregon on Oct. 22.
(Tom Hauck / Getty Images)

Playing football for UCLA means mastering a lot of concepts.

Each week is its own season when it comes to the game plan. Plays come and go. Two Zach Charbonnet runs against Utah earlier this month were “windback zone” and “influence trap,” obscure names leading to big results. Both plays were run for the first time this season.

The previous week, during a victory over Washington, the game plan was heavy on “stick” and “spacing” passes that were abandoned against Utah, according to Chris Osgood, who analyzes the team’s plays for Bruin Report Online.

It’s nothing the Bruins can’t handle. Earlier this month, a team spokesman told reporters defensive lineman Jacob Sykes had just a few minutes for an interview. He needed to get to a philosophy class about Socrates.

Sykes, a graduate transfer from Harvard who earned his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics, was asked what he had learned.

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Naps, yoga and chargers. What UCLA and USC can learn from Hawaii’s travel experiences

Hawaii women's volleyball player Mylana Byrd and her teammates pose for a selfie in an airport
Hawaii women’s volleyball player Mylana Byrd and her teammates travel to a match in Texas.
(Courtesy of Mylana Byrd / Hawaii Athletics)

They download their favorite Netflix shows, organize their homework assignments and charge their electronics. Whether on the field or in the skies, preparation is everything for Hawaii.

For college sports teams, a road trip that balances academic and athletic pressures is a precise science. The Rainbow Warriors have Ph.D.s in the discipline. Flying six hours one way to play their closest conference foes every other week, Hawaii athletic programs provide a timely case study for UCLA and USC, which will be due for an upgrade to their frequent-flyer status once they join the Big Ten Conference in 2024.

Similar to their island peers, the Trojans and Bruins will be in for approximately five-hour flights when they play at Maryland or Rutgers, the two farthest Big Ten outposts. Visiting eight of the 14 current Big Ten members will require the same three-hour time change for the West Coast schools that Hawaii teams experience when they come to California.

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After frustrating Oregon loss, UCLA is focused on earning a Pac-12 title — and more

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scrambles during last week's loss to Oregon.
(Chris Pietsch / Associated Press)

One loss didn’t eliminate UCLA from Pac-12 title contention, and it might not have had any bearing on a new mystery objective that emerged Monday.

“We have way bigger goals than that,” quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said when asked about competing for the conference championship, “and I personally think we can still accomplish those if we just do our jobs on a weekly basis.”

The obvious follow-up question: Does bigger goals mean the College Football Playoff semifinals?

“I won’t get into the goals, that’s more of a team, personal matter,” Thompson-Robinson said, “but yeah, it’s definitely way bigger than that, I can tell you that for sure.”

Some guesswork left a few possibilities.

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Will UCLA finally beat Stanford at the Rose Bowl? Four things to watch Saturday

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson runs with the ball during a win over South Alabama on Sept. 17.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Numbers can be used to make a case for almost anything.

Stanford has won two games in a row. It recently owned an 11-game win streak against UCLA and has won in each of its last six trips to face the Bruins at the Rose Bowl. The Cardinal have won five of their last six games against ranked UCLA teams, all under coach David Shaw.

Sounds like some high drama might be in store for the latest clash between the teams Saturday night at the Rose Bowl?

Probably not. There’s a reason the No. 12 Bruins are 16½-point favorites.

Residing at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, Stanford just isn’t very good, no matter the spin. Yes, the Cardinal beat Arizona State last weekend to snap a 10-game conference losing streak, but they couldn’t even score a touchdown. Kicker Joshua Karty, not quarterback Tanner McKee, was the hero, making all five field goals to tie a school record in the 15-14 triumph.

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UCLA vs. Stanford: Betting odds, lines and picks against the spread

UCLA's Keegan Jones runs for a touchdown ahead of Oregon's Justin Flowe during the Bruins' loss on Oct. 22.
(Chris Pietsch / Associated Press)

Las Vegas sportsbooks have No. 12-ranked UCLA (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) as a 16.5-point home favorite when it hosts the Stanford Cardinal (3-4, 1-4) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins are coming off a 45-30 loss at Oregon last Saturday that left the Bruins tied for third place in the Pac-12, a half-game behind No. 10 USC in the race for the two berths in the conference championship game on Dec. 2 in Las Vegas.

The Bruins are only 4-3 against the spread. In addition to last week’s loss, they also failed to cover big spreads as favorites vs. Alabama State (-48.5 in a 45-7 victory) and South Alabama (-15.5, a similar line to this week, in a 32-31 win).

After winning its opener vs. Colgate, Stanford lost four straight games but comes into this contest with two straight victories over Notre Dame (as 16.5-point underdogs!) and Arizona State.

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