Dorian Thompson-Robinson helps No. 12 UCLA run wild as Bruins hold off Sun Devils

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson celebrates his first-quarter touchdown run against Arizona State on Nov. 5, 2022.
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson celebrates his 14-yard, first-quarter touchdown run at Arizona State on Saturday night. The quarterback had 120 of his team’s 402 yards rushing, and the No. 12 Bruins prevailed 50-36.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

A possible desert disaster was looming.

Once ahead by 24 points with six minutes left in the third quarter, No. 12 UCLA saw its lead — and its season — flash before its disbelieving eyes.

Arizona State rolled off 18 consecutive points, closing to within a touchdown of an improbable comeback with six minutes left Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scored two rushing and two passing touchdowns as the Bruins held off Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nov. 5, 2022


UCLA’s offense, once unstoppable even with star running back Zach Charbonnet unavailable, had run aground.

The Bruins needed one more sustained drive to avert an unthinkable loss. They got it, running back Colson Yankoff powering across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run with 21/2 minutes left to help his team hold on for a hold-your-breath 50-36 victory.

UCLA’s ground game churned out 402 yards, its most in coach Chip Kelly’s five seasons. No Charbonnet? No problem.

Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaps over Sun Devils defensive back Khoury Bethley on Nov. 5, 2022.
Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaps over Sun Devils defensive back Khoury Bethley during the first half.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Into the void stepped someone fully capable of generating highlights with his feet: quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Revving his team’s rushing attack into overdrive, Thompson-Robinson unleashed two hurdles in the first half while sprinting and spinning his way around Arizona State defenders as the Bruins (8-1 overall, 5-1 Pac-12) scored 28 unanswered points.

Thompson-Robinson finished with 120 yards rushing and two touchdowns as part of an attack that nearly saw three players reach triple digits on the ground. Living up to his nickname as the “Kazmanian Devil,” Kazmeir Allen ran for 137 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, and Keegan Jones added 98 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Thompson-Robinson also completed 13 of 20 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in addition to an interception on his first pass of the game.

UCLA's Kazmeir Allen (19) breaks away from Arizona State defensive back Khoury Bethley (15) for a long gain Nov. 5, 2022.
UCLA’s Kazmeir Allen breaks away from Arizona State defensive back Khoury Bethley (15). Allen rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in 11 carries and had four catches for 63 yards.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Charbonnet’s absence was something of a surprise given that he spoke with reporters Tuesday and appeared OK as of the last portion of practice open to reporters on Wednesday. His unavailability thrust Allen and Jones into more prominent roles. Both briefly departed after being shaken up in the first half before returning.


Thompson-Robinson was at his shifty best in the game’s early going. Facing a third and three in the first quarter, Thompson-Robinson rolled out and took off running, hurdling defensive back Jordan Clark on the way to a 14-yard touchdown. He topped that in the second quarter with a 33-yard run in which he hurdled another defender and outmaneuvered several others.

The Bruins played a second consecutive game without defensive coordinator Bill McGovern, whose absence was somewhat mysterious given he returned to practice and was feeling better midweek, according to Kelly.

UCLA’s defense gave up 468 yards but walked away winners after defensive back Jaylin Davies intercepted Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet’s final pass into the end zone.