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UCLA earns decisive victory over Virginia Tech in Sun Bowl

The SportsXchange

EL PASO, Texas -- Quarterback Brett Hundley finished his sophomore season on a high note Tuesday in UCLA's 42-12 Sun Bowl victory over Virginia Tech at Sun Bowl Stadium.

Now the question will be if this was Hundley's last game in a Bruins uniform?

Hundley, who rushed for a career-high 161 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 226 yards and two scores, will ponder his NFL future in the coming days.

His bowl performance may complicate matters even more. The high-round prospect played like a young man ready to move on to the next level, but he also gave a glimpse of what might be in store for UCLA if he decides to return next season.

"It is crazy to think that could be the last time I would walk off the field and that could be my last game, but it's just something you have to think about," Hundley said. "There's things in college that you get and there are things if you take the next step that you can get. There's positives on both sides, so to think about that is really crazy."

Hundley rushed for touchdowns of 86 and 7 yards in the Bruins' first bowl victory since beating Temple in the 2009 EagleBank Bowl. His long scoring run was UCLA's longest offensive play ever in a bowl game. He also tossed touchdown passes of 8 and 59 yards.

UCLA (10-3) finished with 447 total yards and 197 yards rushing. Both totals are the highest allowed by the Hokies (8-5) since a loss to North Carolina last October.

Virginia Tech senior quarterback Logan Thomas was knocked out of the game with 12:13 remaining in the second quarter. He was rocked by UCLA senior linebacker Jordan Zumwalt while completing a short pass to receiver Joshua Stanford.

Zumwalt finished with 10 tackles and returned an interception 43 yards to set up a touchdown.

"We've had a lot of good games out of a lot of good linebackers this year, but I can't remember one guy playing as well as he played today," UCLA coach Jim Mora, Jr. said of Zumwalt. "Quite frankly, I don't remember anyone on our team playing as well as Jordan played today."

Hundley scored on an 86-yard run three minutes after Thomas' injury to give the Bruins a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish.

"That was huge. There were a lot of momentum swings in the game but I think that was a big momentum swing for us," Hundley said.

Following a muffed punt recovery at the UCLA 12-yard line, Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 14-10 on a 22-yard Michael Branthover field goal, the first of his career. The Bruins responded, however, with a 12-play, 85-yard drive that they capped with Paul Perkins' 4-yard touchdown run with 14:20 left in the game.

UCLA added to that lead a short time later when Virginia Tech quarterback Mark Leal side-armed an ill-advised pass into the arms of linebacker Myles Jack, who returned the interception 24 yards for a touchdown.

"They made more plays, by far, than we did and that's the name of the game," Beamer said. "After we got down, we turned the ball over and it gets out of hand, and it's just disappointing to end the year this way."

Leal passed for 128 yards and two interceptions off the bench. His second interception led to Hundley's 8-yard scoring pass to receiver Thomas Duarte midway through the fourth. Hundley's 59-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Shaquelle Evans with 5:49 added to the blowout.

The Bruins' offense was strong from the start. It needed only four plays to get into the end zone. Hundley completed a 15-yard pass and had two runs for 32 yards. His 7-yard touchdown run, while slipping past blitzing linebacker Dadi Nicolas, gave UCLA a 7-0 lead.

The Hokies tied the game with a quick-strike possession a short time later. Thomas had a 19-yard run and completed a 37-yard pass to tight end Kalvin Cline, who dragged a UCLA defender 10 yards before coming down at the Bruins' 1. Running back J.C. Coleman scored on the next play for his first touchdown of the season.

Thomas finished with a team-high 49 rushing yards in his final game in a Virginia Tech uniform.

"Worst thing I've ever had to go through," Thomas said.

NOTES: UCLA clinched its first 10-win season since 2005. ... LB Myles Jack's interception return was his first career defensive score. ... The Bruins are 15-3 when scoring first under head coach Jim Mora, Jr. ... WR Thomas Duarte tied a UCLA freshman record with his third touchdown reception of the season in the fourth quarter. ... After practicing all week, Hokies All-American CB Kyle Fuller (core muscle injury) did not dress for the game. He missed the final three games of the season with the injury. ... Virginia Tech LB Deon Clark, who was suspended the previous four games for a violation of team rules, dressed for the game. ... Virginia Tech freshman DB Chuck Clark made his first career start.
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