Late defensive plays lift UCLA past Nebraska

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA's defense didn't shine against Rice last week, and it didn't look prepared for the offensive shootout that ensued in the first half against Nebraska.
But when it mattered most, the Bruins rose to the occasion.
Datone Jones sacked Taylor Martinez for a fourth-quarter safety to break a tie game, and UCLA added a clinching touchdown to upset No. 16 Nebraska 36-30 on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
Jones bolted through the line to tackle Martinez in the end zone after the Nebraska quarterback made the wrong decision on a first-down snap from the 5-yard line.
That gave UCLA a 29-27 lead with 8:44 remaining, and after Nebraska had two empty possessions, freshman quarterback Brett Hundley hit running back Johnathan Franklin for a 9-yard touchdown run, stretching the lead to 36-27.
"Our defense made a key stop and had key turnovers," said UCLA coach Jim Mora, whose team recovered a fumble to start the second half, and intercepted a pass to set up the Bruins' final score.
"Players adjusted well. We came up with big plays at the right time."
Nebraska's Brett Maher kicked his third field goal of the game, a 40-yarder with 1:36 remaining, but UCLA (1-0) recovered the onside kick, and the Bruins ran out the clock.
"I'm embarrassed with how we played tonight," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "We didn't play well in any phase of the game. We were inconsistent, and some bad things happened. I give UCLA credit."
Hundley was 21-of-31 for 305 yards and four touchdowns, and Franklin ran 26 times for 217 yards, as the Bruins racked up 653 yards, a week after rolling up 646 against Rice.
"There was a tremendous amount of improvement by Brett from Week 1 to Week 2," Mora said. "He showed willingness to pull the trigger when he saw things down the field."
Nebraska (1-0) had 439 yards of offense, including 119 rushing yards by Ameer Abdulah, but couldn't overcome it defensive deficiencies.
"We didn't execute well, we didn't tackle well, we didn't do anything well," Pelini said. "Many times we had opportunities for tackles for loss and ended up with long runs."
Franklin's final touchdown came after Andrew Abbott intercepted Martinez and returned the ball to the Nebraska 16-yard line with 3:07 remaining.
With the game tied 24-24 at halftime, UCLA's Tevin McDonald recovered an Ameer Abdullah fumble on the first play of the second half at the Nebraska 27-yard line, leading to a 22-yard field goal Kaimi Fairbairn for a 27-24 Bruin lead.
Nebraska responded two series later with Maher's 43-yard field goal with 7:45 remaining in the third quarter.
With the game tied 27-27, both teams missed scoring opportunities. UCLA lined up for a 38-yard field goal, quickly switched formations, and came up empty when backup quarterback Richard Brehaut threw an incomplete pass in the end zone.
Nebraska, behind the running of Abdullah and Braylon Heard, moved from its 6-yard line to the UCLA 20, but Maher was wide left on a 37-yard field goal attempt with 12:12 remaining in the game.

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