PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — UCLA has a talented backup quarterback in Chase Griffin, but it also doesn’t hurt to have a strong running game supporting him.
Demetric Felton rushed for career-high 206 yards and a touchdown, Brittain Brown added two scores on 72 yards as the Bruins defeated Arizona 27-10 at the Rose Bowl Saturday night.
“To have two backs ready to go like that makes it a whole lot easier,” said Griffin, who got his first win as a starting quarterback. “There were times when we were really hitting our stride.”
Felton is the 15th player in UCLA history to post a 200-yard game and the first since Joshua Kelley did it against USC in 2018. The senior, who finished with 230 scrimmage yards, had 134 rushing yards in the first half, including a 1-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter to extend the Bruins lead to 17-7.
Felton had 32 carries and has rushed over 100 yards in three straight games. He limped off the field late in the fourth quarter and was not available for postgame interviews.
“When any back goes over 200 yards it is a huge day,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “He has turned into a quality back. He has good vision plus our line and receivers blocked well.”
Brown, a graduate transfer from Duke, put UCLA up by 17 late in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard touchdown.
Running the ball continues to be a strength during Kelly’s tenure. This is the third straight game and the eighth in the last 10 that the Bruins have gone over 200 yards on the ground.
“It is a lot of fun being able to have another teammate help you out. You have seen what we can do in the running game with the offensive line being able to create a lot of lanes,” Brown said.
Griffin completed 12 of 20 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt freshman got the start with Dorian Thompson-Robinson being held out due to COVID-19 contract tracing.
Arizona starter Grant Gunnell suffered a shoulder injury on the first play when he was tackled by UCLA linebacker Bo Calvert, who came in unblocked on a blitz. Freshman Will Plummer came in for his first collegiate action and had 164 scrimmage yards. He went 17 of 35 for 151 yards passing and two interceptions along with 12 carries for 113 yards.
“Will’s a real talented quarterback, a little more mobile than Grant, so just knowing that he can extend plays more with his legs. We just got to help him out as a young quarterback to help him get comfortable with the game,” wide receiver Jamarye Joiner said of Plummer.
Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin did not have an update on Gunnell after the game. The Wildcats (0-3) have lost a program-record 10 straight games dating back to last season.
“Everybody in that locker room is frustrated, right, but the overall message is you got to come back and we got to do to work,” Sumlin said.
The Bruins scored 20 straight points after Arizona took a 7-0 lead on Michael Wiley’s 3-yard run. After Nicholas Barr-Mira made the first of his two field goals, UCLA took a 10-7 lead with 11:58 remaining in the first half when Brown took a short pass over the middle from Griffin, broke three tackles and scored from 16 yards out.
The Wildcats drove inside the UCLA 10 twice in the second half but their only points came on Lucas Havrisik’s 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Arizona attempted a fake field goal during the fourth quarter but holder Jacob Meeker-Hackett bobbled the snap, scrambled right and was forced out of bounds at the UCLA 8 for a 1-yard loss.
Wiley’s touchdown gave the Wildcats a first-quarter lead for only the fourth time in 13 road games during Sumlin’s three-year tenure.
The Wildcats had a short field to work with after Felton was stopped for a 3-yard loss by Jalen Harris and Trevon Mason on fourth-and-1 from the UCLA 22.
Arizona: Gunnell’s injury marked the fourth time in the last five years that a Wildcats starting quarterback has been hurt going into or during the UCLA game. Coincidentally, Gunnell’s first start came last year against the Bruins when Khalil Tate couldn’t play due to a hamstring injury.
UCLA: The Bruins defense came in leading the conference in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (27) but weren’t able to take advantage of a struggling Arizona offensive line. UCLA finished with two sacks and five tackles for loss.
Arizona: Scheduled to host Colorado next Saturday.
UCLA: Scheduled to travel to Arizona State next Saturday.
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