PASADENA – In its first-ever matchup against an FCS and HBCU opponent, UCLA rolled through its depth and past Alabama State 45-7 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday in a game where four quarterbacks and five running backs saw action.
Starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game after the first quarter and star Zach Charbonnet didn’t play at all, though both remained dressed and on the sideline. It was not immediately clear if they were injured. Charbonnet was limited at practice on Thursday, according to the UCLA radio broadcast.
Thompson-Robinson was 9-for-11 for 101 yards and a touchdown pass before he departed.
Ethan Garbers, who entered the game for Thompson-Robinson early in the second quarter, finished completing 14-of-18 passes for 164 yards. He completed his first nine passes and ran for two touchdowns in the second quarter, though he did throw an interception in the end zone in the third quarter.
Keegan Jones got the start at running back in Charbonnet’s place, and Jones delivered the first score of the game, a 2-yard run on UCLA’s first drive. He finished with 33 yards on 10 carries. Freshman running back TJ Harden scored his first career touchdown,a 13-yard run in the third quarter. Colson Yankoff, a converted wide receiver, also got some carries.
The Bruins led 31-7 at halftime, with Hudson Habermehl also adding a touchdown on a 25-yard pass by Thompson-Robinson.
UCLA finished with 485 yards of total offense, scoring at least 40 points for the fifth straight game. The Bruins have won five straight games dating back to last season.
UCLA led 14-0 after one quarter, though it was outgained by Alabama State 112-82.
A week after a record-low attendance of 27,143 in the home opener, UCLA drew 33,727 fans on Saturday. The temperature at kickoff was 22 degrees cooler than the 100-degree kickoff last week.
Alabama State quarterback Myles Crawley moved the ball effectively against the Bruins’ defense early in the game, finding open receivers and leading an eight-play, 60-yard drive that pulled the Hornets within 14-7 early in the second quarter.
The Hornets finished with over 300 yards of offense.
But the Bruins rattled off 31 straight points and settled into cruise control for the second half.
Alabama State did not play quarterback Dematrius Davis, a second-year transfer from Auburn who was a four-star recruit. Davis had been a gametime decision.