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UCLA Runs Past Colorado, 45-17

Sep 24, 2022
Zach Charbonnet (photo: Shayne Smith)

BOULDER, Colo. – Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns while running back Zach Charbonnet found the end zone three times on just nine carries as UCLA recorded a dominant 45-17 win over Colorado on Saturday afternoon at Folsom Field.

With the result, the Bruins (4-0) have won seven consecutive games dating to last season. This marks the first time UCLA has won its first four games of a season since 2015.  

The Bruins never trailed in Saturday's contest, scoring the first 14 points of the game. The Buffaloes (0-4) managed to put 10 points on the board in the second quarter, but UCLA pulled away with a dominant second half, outscoring the hosts 24-7.

Thompson-Robinson dissected the Colorado secondary all game, completing 19 of 23 passes. His 83% completion percentage was a season-high, and it marked his second consecutive game with multiple touchdowns and no interceptions (he passed for three touchdowns against South Alabama on Sept. 17). Thompson-Robinson added 56 yards on the ground.

Charbonnet meanwhile was just as efficient, needing just nine carries to reach 104 yards and three touchdowns. He broke off for long touchdown runs of 35 and 46 yards, the latter making it a 28-10 game early in the third quarter. Paired with last season's matchup at the Rose Bowl, Charbonnet has now totaled six rushing touchdowns in his last two games against Colorado.

Ten separate receivers caught at least one pass on Saturday, led by Jake Bobo who had a team-high 53 receiving yards. Matt Sykes added 48 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, and Colson Yankoff made his two receptions on the day count, recording a pair of short-range touchdown grabs.

Defensively, UCLA limited Colorado to just 309 yards of total offense, including 51 yards on the ground. The Bruins held the Buffaloes to a 5-17 conversion rate on third downs. Particular standouts on the defensive end included linebacker Laiatu Latu (three sacks), linebacker JonJon Vaughns (team-high seven tackles and a pass breakup), and linebacker Carl Jones Jr. (interception). Latu becomes the first Bruin to record at least three sacks in a game since Takkarist McKinley did so against Utah on Oct. 22, 2016. 

Thompson-Robinson and Sykes teamed up to open the scoring just past the midway point of the first quarter, as Thompson-Robinson zipped a pass over the middle for Sykes, who caught it just before the goal line and absorbed contact for a 24-yard touchdown grab.

UCLA would go on to score on its next two drives as well to open up a comfortable 21-3 lead. Charbonnet capped off both drives with touchdown runs, including a 35-yard burst in which he practically went untouched thanks to a highlight-reel stutter step down the right sideline.

The Bruins needed just 1:37 to score after receiving the ball to start the second half, with Charbonnet busting loose up the middle for a 46-yard touchdown run. That score marked the first of 24 unanswered points for UCLA, resulting in a 45-10 lead after the opening play of the fourth quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Ethan Garbers came into the game after Thompson-Robinson found Yankoff for a two-yard score at the 6:03 mark of the third quarter. Garbers would go on to pass for 32 yards and a touchdown.

UCLA returns to action on Friday, Sept. 30, hosting Washington at the Rose Bowl. The game, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. PT kickoff, will be televised on ESPN.