Home #7 UCLA holds off upset-minded UVA, 28-20

#7 UCLA holds off upset-minded UVA, 28-20


uva uclaThree defensive touchdowns gave #7 UCLA a 21-3 second-quarter lead, and but unranked and unrespected UVA took the game to the final series in a 28-20 loss in the 2014 season opener for both teams in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia starting quarterback Greyson Lambert threw two second-quarter pick-sixes, and the Bruins ran a Wahoo fumble back for a 71-yard touchdown to appear to put the game out of reach in the final two minutes of the first half. Lambert was lifted for third-stringer Matt Johns, and Johns immediately led the ‘Hoos on a 75-yard drive capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Johns to Andre Levrone with 52 seconds left that made it 21-10 at the half.

Johns connected with Darius Jennings on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 7:33 left in the third to bring Virginia to within 21-17. The UCLA offense, led by preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley, finally got on the board with 1:02 left in the third, on a Hundley 6-yard TD run that pushed the lead to 28-17.

An Ian Frye 27-yard field goal cut the margin to 28-20 with 6:47 to go, and Virginia got the ball back at the UCLA 40 with 5:55 to go and a chance to tie the score with a touchdown and two-point conversion. Johns hit Levrone for a 19-yard gain on fourth-and-eight to give UVA a first down at the UCLA 18, and then offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild inexplicably called three straight dives to the middle of the line that collectively gained one yard, setting up a fourth-and-nine.

Then coach Mike London inexplicably decided to go for the first down instead of trying another Frye field-goal attempt, and a Johns pass intended for Doni Dowling short of the first-down marker fell incomplete.

Virginia had a chance to stop UCLA one more time to get the ball back late, but Hundley converted a third-and-nine at the UCLA 18, hitting Jordan Payton on an out at the down marker, and Payton broke the tackle and rambled for a 35-yard gain that effectively ended it.

It was a wasted effort from a Virginia defense that held the 19-point favorite UCLA offense to just one score on the day, and held Hundley to a pedestrian 20-for-33, 242-yard effort through the air, and sacked Hundley five times and forced two fumbles from the quarterback, both of which were recovered by UVA.

Lambert was 16-for-23 passing for 112 yards and the two pick-sixes. Johns, who had not thrown a pass in a college game until Saturday, finished 13-of-22 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Quick Notes: Henry Coley had a monster day on defense for Virginia, racking up 14 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. kevin parks had 55 yards on 17 carries for Virginia, which got 31 yards on 10 carries from Taquan Mizzell.




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