UCLA coach Chip Kelly sticks with Dorian Thompson-Robinson as his quarterback

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is sacked by Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah during the second half of the Bruins' 48-14 loss Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
(Associated Press)

UCLA has a lot of problems, but one of them is not a quarterback controversy.

Coach Chip Kelly continued to stick with Dorian Thompson-Robinson on Saturday at the Rose Bowl despite more inconsistent play from the sophomore during the Bruins’ 48-14 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma.

Thompson-Robinson completed 15 of 26 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has committed seven turnovers in three games, including four interceptions and three fumbles.

Kelly stayed with Thompson-Robinson in the final minutes against the Sooners instead of giving backup Austin Burton a look despite the fact that the game was clearly decided.

UCLA can’t stop quarterback Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma in a 48-14 loss at the Rose Bowl, dropping the Bruins to 0-3. The No. 5 Sooners improve to 3-0.


“We didn’t,” Kelly said when asked whether he thought of making a change at quarterback.

Why not?

“Because we felt confident in Dorian,” Kelly said.

Thompson-Robinson has completed 54% of his passes this season for 556 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. UCLA’s offense has averaged 14 points and topped 300 yards just once.

“At the end of the day, we all just have to continue to try to execute and, you know, build on good drives and good plays,” Thompson-Robinson said. “Consistency wasn’t there tonight.”

Big-game hunting?

The Bruins have gone 0-6 in nonconference games under Kelly going back to last season, but he said the lack of success was not a function of prioritizing Pac-12 Conference games.

“That’s never been my assessment,” Kelly said. “I think every game’s the Super Bowl, so I don’t know how any game could get bigger than the Super Bowl and that’s always been my approach, so I don’t know where that perception would come from, nor do I care what the perception is.

It’s depressing to see sparse crowds at the Rose Bowl watching a UCLA football team that can’t even entice fans to come to their games with free tickets.

“Perception doesn’t really count. Reality counts. So if they’re going to tee it up and we’re going to play, we’re going to play. So every game counts and every game that I have ever coached in has always counted.”

Welcome back

UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes and wide receiver Theo Howard made their season debuts against Oklahoma after sitting out the previous two games with injuries.

Holmes, who was sidelined by an ankle injury, finished with one tackle.

It came on the Sooners’ first play from scrimmage when he pushed quarterback Jalen Hurts out of bounds after a 52-yard gain.

Howard, who was out because of a wrist injury, did not make a catch.

He had made at least one catch in each of the 28 games in which he had played immediately preceding Saturday.

See you soon?

UCLA played a third consecutive game without guard Michael Alves, who has been sidelined by a back injury. The Bruins were also without running back Kazmeir Allen (academic suspension) and linebackers Keisean Lucier-South (academic suspension) and Bo Calvert (NCAA suspension).

The NCAA believes the Fair Pay for Play Act will hurt competitive balance between schools, but there’s little competitive balance in college football already.

Lucier-South tweeted an hourglass emoji along with a GIF of a black hood being lifted from the head of the character Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises,” perhaps indicating he was on the verge of returning when UCLA opens Pac-12 play next weekend at Washington State. “FREE HEEEEEEM!” UCLA linebacker Josh Woods wrote above a retweet of the GIF.


UCLA kicker J.J. Molson missed a 36-yard field-goal try wide right and has now missed both of his attempts this season. … UCLA has now lost its last 10 games against ranked opponents. The Bruins’ last win over a ranked team came when they defeated No. 18 Utah in November 2015. … UCLA honored former football coach Terry Donahue, whose 151 victories are the most in school history, as its honorary captain. Donahue is battling an undisclosed form of cancer for which he has undergone surgery and chemotherapy as part of his treatment.

UCLA’s blowout loss to Oklahoma amid another 0-3 start begs the question: Would coach Chip Kelly ever consider resigning before being fired?