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Brett Hundley leads No. 21 UCLA past Nevada, 58-20

AP - Sports
Brett Hundley leads No. 21 UCLA past Nevada, 58-20
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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Even after his remarkable freshman season, Brett Hundley had a few first-game jitters when he returned to the Rose Bowl.

The smooth sophomore quarterback shook them off after halftime, and a blocked punt moments later sent the Bruins rolling to another big win.

Hundley passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more scores, leading No. 21 UCLA's second-half surge to a 58-20 victory over Nevada on Saturday night.

Hundley went 22 for 33 in an impressive start to his second season, rushing for a 37-yard TD on UCLA's opening drive and adding another TD run to open the second half.

''I felt a lot more relaxed than last year, but I still had a little bit of nerves,'' said Hundley, who made a long TD run on UCLA's opening drive for the second straight season. ''After I got smacked a few times, I felt a lot better. We went in at the half, made adjustments, and that was when we lit up the scoreboard a little bit.''

Yep, just a bit: UCLA piled up 647 total yards and spoiled the debut of Nevada coach Brian Polian with a 41-point second half. The Bruins never trailed and never punted, rushing for 345 yards behind a dominant offensive line.

Jordon James rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown, and Phillip Ruhl returned a blocked punt for a short touchdown for UCLA. Shaq Evans had six receptions for 81 yards and a score, and Malcolm Jones caught a late TD pass.

''I thought our offense was really sharp tonight, especially for the first game,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said. ''We couldn't get them on the field in the first half because we couldn't stop that quarterback. We're going to have to learn how to stop guys like that.''

On a warm night at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins scored on each of their first five drives in the second half in the schools' first meeting.

James looked sharp in his first game as the Bruins' starting tailback, but UCLA auditioned several ball-carriers for the chance to replace Johnathan Franklin, the school's departed career rushing leader known as Jet Ski.

UCLA might have a whole fleet of personal watercraft now: Freshman Paul Perkins rushed for a late touchdown, while Steven Manfro looked good in his own brief audition.

Cody Fajardo passed for 164 yards and rushed for two TDs for Nevada, but the Wolf Pack couldn't keep up in their debut under Polian, the 38-year-old picked to replace Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault. Nevada hung in for a while, trailing just 17-13 at halftime, but quickly lost control.

''It was pretty tough playing a game of catch-up,'' said Fajardo, an Orange County native who played in front of more than 200 friends and family members. ''UCLA outplayed us tonight We've got to learn from our mistakes and have an open mind to some constructive criticism.''

Fajardo went 19 for 32 and rushed for 106 yards on an otherwise rough night for the big chunk of Nevada's roster from Southern California, including all three of Fajardo's starting receivers.

Polian, the former Stanford and Texas A&M assistant coach, had little luck stopping UCLA's potent offense in his first game since replacing Ault, the architect of the pistol offense during 28 seasons. The Wolf Pack have made eight consecutive bowl appearances.

''It's really difficult to find any kind of silver lining right now, although I liked the way we competed in the first half,'' Polian said. ''This is an explosive offense UCLA has. We're not going to hang in there with them kicking field goals. There's a lot to get corrected.''

After the Bruins stopped Nevada's opening drive, Hundley showed his playmaking skills haven't faded since he set a single-season school record for total offense last year. After leading the Bruins past midfield, he made an impressive ball fake and rumbled up the middle for a score.

Hundley made a long TD run on UCLA's opening drive for the second straight season, even if it wasn't as long as his 72-yard rumble on his first collegiate snap as a freshman last year.

Hundley showed off his improved arm strength on a series of big throws, but didn't get many chances in the first half while Nevada controlled the ball for 18 1/2 minutes.

Fajardo matched Hundley early on, engineering a series of long drives that were undone near the goal line by penalties or small mistakes. The Wolf Pack persevered with two field goals, followed by Fajardo's leaping, lunging TD at the corner of the end zone with 7 seconds left to trim UCLA's halftime lead to 17-13.

But Hundley led another scoring drive right after halftime, following guard Xavier Su'a-Filo right into the end zone for his second score.

Ruhl, the Bruins' fullback, then picked up a fortunate bounce when Kenny Orjioke blocked a punt by Nevada's Chase Tenpenny, who had to field a bouncing snap. The ball ricocheted high into the end zone and then bounced straight to Ruhl, who dived over the goal line.

Bruins freshman defensive back Justin Combs, the son of music mogul Diddy, made his first career tackle in the fourth quarter.

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