PASADENA, Calif. — Dorian Thompson-Robinson had read and heard comments about going undefeated from UCLA didn’t mean much because of the quality of opponents he played.
On Friday night, Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins made sure to make a statement with their first victory against a top-15 team since 2014.
Thompson-Robinson passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in UCLA’s 40-32 victory over No. 15 Washington in an undefeated Pac-12 matchup at the Rose Bowl.
“People have been saying all week that we were the worst team 4-0 and writing us off. I think my boys came in here with a chip on their shoulder,” said Thompson-Robinson, who had the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career. “I think I said to you all on Monday, see if Washington can run with us, not the other way around.”
The fifth-year senior also ran 2 yards for a score in the third quarter, when he dodged defenders Bralen Trice and Jayvion Green, knocking them down on each other near the goal line carrying the score at 33-10.
Thompson-Robinson provided the best plays, but plenty of other Bruins helped give them their first 5-0 start since 2013.
Zach Charbonnet rushed for 124 yards and a score, Jake Bobo had six receptions for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns while the Bruins recorded their first safety in four years and forced a pair of turnovers.
“Our defense did a great job in the first half. For them to stake us in that lead when we needed every inch of it,” coach Chip Kelly said. “Dorian was clutch. We have complete confidence in everything he does.
The Bruins have also won eight straight since last season – their longest unbeaten streak since 2005. They have scored at least 40 points in six of those wins.
Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. entered the game leading the nation in passing yards, but struggled in the first half as UCLA (2-0 Pac-12) scored on four straight and took a 26-10 lead at halftime.
“We dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half,” coach Kalen DeBoer said. “Our guys now realize that we are a team that people are going to get up to play. Not that we entered the game thinking otherwise, but we have to be emotionally and physically ready to play.
Penix finished 33 of 48 for 345 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior had a pair of touchdowns and 2-point conversions in the fourth quarter as the Huskies fell to within eight, but UCLA missed the final three minutes.
Rome Odunze had eight receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
“Just wasn’t performing. We have to do better,” said Penix. “I personally have to take better care of the ball. And that’s really all it was, just poor execution.
Washington (4-1, 1-1) appeared to roll early after taking the opening kickoff and scored 10 plays later when Odunze beat safety Devin Kirkwood in single coverage and had a pass from 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-6.
The Bruins led at 3 on his first practice, but turned him on tries after three consecutive incomplete passes. Two plays later, the defense threw its first big play when Penix missed a pitch and linebacker Laiatu Latu tackled Wayne Taulapapa in the end zone.
Latu, who also had three tackles and a sack, started his career in Washington before transferring this year. It was UCLA’s first safety since the 2018 season finale against Stanford.
After the free kick, the Bruins went for 93 yards in 11 plays, which culminated when Charbonnet scored from one yard to give them a 9-7 lead. It was the first time Washington hung in a game this season.
The Huskies regained the lead on Peyton Henry’s 50-yard field goal before the Bruins scored 24 straight points. Bobo caught a 12-yard strike midway through the second quarter to permanently give UCLA the lead. One game after Stephan Blaylock took Penix off and sent him back to UW 15, Thompson-Robinson found Kam Brown alone in the end zone to extend the lead to 23-10.
Washington: The Huskies were ranked near the bottom of the conference in pass defense as their secondary had a lot of trouble containing Thompson-Robinson and Bobo.
UCLA: The Bruins had lost 11 consecutive games against the top 15 opponents, including two against the Huskies, before Friday night’s victory. Their last win was in the Alamo Bowl against No. 11 Kansas State to wrap up the 2014 season. UCLA’s last win against a Pac-12 top-15 team was also in 2014 against No. 11 Arizona. ° 14.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY
UCLA hadn’t received many votes due to their softest non-conference schedule of a Power Five team, but the win over the Huskies should give them plenty of momentum to move up the standings. A rally at the end of the fourth quarter should keep Washington in the poll.
Washington: In the state of Arizona next Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts No. 12 Utah next Saturday.