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Thompson-Robinson leads UCLA to 45-17 make an impression on Bowling Green

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Some players could easily get flustered falling behind 10 points early in the next quarter, especially as a 24 1/2 point favorite. Not really much when youre a fifth-year senior like Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Thompson-Robinson bounced back from the rollercoaster start and accounted for 385 yards of total offense and four scores as UCLA rallied for a 45-17 victory over Bowling Green Saturday in the growing season opener for both teams.

Its not merely me being through this so often, but plenty of guys with this team, Thompson-Robinson said. We’ve plenty of third, fourth and fifth-year guys that theres a maturity level on the market on the field for certain.

Zach Charbonnet ran for 111 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins, who trailed 17-7 early in the next quarter before scoring 38 straight points to win their opener for the next straight year.

Thompson-Robinson completed 32 of 43 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns alongside rushing for 87 yards and two scores. He supplied an early on highlight with a career-long 68-yard TD run through the first quarter to tie the overall game at seven.

Bowling Green brought a nickel blitz on third-and-3, but Thompson-Robinson escaped pressure from Davon Ferguson in the backfield, scrambled right, transpired the sideline and cut over the field, including escaping another diving tackle attempt from the Falcons defender at the BG 34, prior to going in to the end zone.

Everybodys raving about me and my legs. So, you understand, just having the ability to get first downs and touchdowns may be the ultimate goal, Thompson-Robinson said. They dropped lots of dudes into coverage plus they are really deep within their zone coverages. So just seeing green grass and open space.

Charbonnet posted his eighth 100-yard rushing game since transferring from Michigan this past year. The Bruins rushed for 264 yards, improving to 16-4 when which has happened since Chip Kelly became coach in 2018.

UCLA scored 17 straight points in the next quarter to have a 24-17 lead at halftime. Keegan Jones supplied the go-ahead score when he caught a screen pass from Thompson-Robinson and went 52 yards up the left sideline.

We talked to your players about responding. I thought they did respond, Kelly said. We made some mistakes. And thats everything you want to do. We dont have preseason games. When youre in a practice situation and someone makes a blunder you repeat. You dont get do overs here.

BIG PLAY BRUINS

UCLA had two passing TDs of 50 yards or even more for the very first time because the 2017 Cactus Bowl against Kansas State. Ethan Garbers linked to Josiah Norwood for a 50-yard pitch and catch in the fourth quarter.

NOT JUST A FUN HOMECOMING

Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald, who was raised in Newport Beach, was 17 of 34 for 125 yards. He did supply the Falcons a fleeting 17-7 advantage early in the next quarter with a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Christian Sims.

I thought our effort was good. Obviously on defense they played their hearts out. These were in a hardcore situation considering we didnt play complimentary football with regards to having a huge amount of three and outs on offense, Bowling Green coach Scott Loefler said. We couldnt run the ball or protect the passer. We have to get that fixed because we’ve enough guys at skill positions, and we have to have them the ball.

SPECIAL START

Bowling Green got its first 10 points thanks to its special teams discovering big plays. After UCLA went three-and-out on its opening drive, Falcons running back PaSean Wimberly blocked Nicholas Barr-Miras punt at the UCLA 11. Charles Rosser found the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown to provide BG a 7-0 advantage 74 seconds in to the game.

It had been the very first time since 2014 the Falcons have returned a blocked punt for a touchdown,

Later in the initial quarter, Patrick Day recovered a muffed punt by UCLAs Jake Bobo at the 11. Four plays later, Mason Lawler made a 24-yard field goal to place the Falcons up 10-7.

RECORD LOW

The late-morning start and 100 degrees at kickoff, drew an announced crowd of 27,143, the cheapest for a UCLA game because the Bruins moved to the Rose Bowl in 1982. The prior low was 32,513 against Oregon State in 1992.

Another factor for the reduced crowd was students dont are accountable to UCLAs campus until later this month.

THE TAKEAWAY

Bowling Green: The Falcons were hoping to upset an electrical Five team on the highway for the next straight year, but were held to 37 yards rushing and averaged only 2.7 yards per offensive play.

UCLA: The new-look defense, which includes nine starters and a fresh coordinator in Bill McGovern, allowed only 47 yards in the 10 drives following the Falcons second quarter touchdown.

UP NEXT

Bowling Green hosts Eastern Kentucky next Saturday.

UCLA hosts Alabama State next Saturday.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Join the APs college football newsletter: https://bit.ly/3pqZVaF

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