PASADENA, Calif. — — Dorian Thompson-Robinson had read and heard the comments about UCLA’s undefeated start, meaningless given the quality of the opponents it played.
On Friday night, Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins made sure to make a statement with their first win over a top-15 team since 2014.
Thompson-Robinson scored 315 yards and three touchdowns in UCLA’s 40-32 victory over No. 15 Washington in a matchup of undefeated Pac-12 teams in the Rose Bowl.
“People said all week we are the worst 4-0 team out there and wrote us off. I think my guys came here with a chip on their shoulder,” said Thompson-Robinson, who scored the sixth pass of 300. meter in his career. “I think I told you 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, as he bypassed defenders Bralen Trice and Jayvion Green, causing them to collide in a mound near the goal line to make it 33-10.
Thompson-Robinson delivered the highlights, but plenty of other Bruins contributed to 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 TDs, as the Bruins recorded their first safety in four years and forced a few turnovers.
“Our defense did a great job in the first half. For them to put us in that lead when we needed every inch of it,” said coach Chip Kelly. “Dorian was a klutz. We have full confidence in everything he does .”
The Bruins also won eight in a row from last season — their longest undefeated streak since 2005. They have scored at least 40 points in six of those wins.
Michael Penix Jr. from Washington came into the game and led the nation in passing yards, but struggled in the first half when UCLA (2-0 Pac-12) scored on four consecutive drives to take a 26-10 lead at halftime.
“We dug too big a hole for ourselves in the first half,” said coach Kalen DeBoer. “Our guys are now realizing that we are a team that people stand up for to play for. Not that we went into the game differently, but we had to be emotionally and physically ready to play.”
Penix finished 33 of 48 for 345 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior managed a couple of touchdowns and 2-point conversions in the fourth quarter when the Huskies came in eight, but UCLA rallied in the final three minutes.
Rome Odunze had eight receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
“It 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 a bad performance.”
Washington (4-1, 1-1) looked to roll early after taking the opening kick-off and scoring 10 plays later when Odunze beat the safety of Devin Kirkwood in a single cover and pulled in a 33-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 6 .
The Bruins rode to 3 on their opening run, but reversed it on downs after three straight incomplete passes. Two plays later, the defense made its first big play when Penix messed up a pitch and tackled linebacker Laiatu Latu Wayne Taulapapa in the end zone.
Latu, who also had three tackles and a sack, started his career with Washington before switching this year. It was UCLA’s first safety since the 2018 season finale against Stanford.
After the free kick, the Bruins went on to play 93 yards in 11, which culminated in Charbonnet scoring from one yard to give them a 9-7 lead. That was the first time Washington was behind in a game this season.
The Huskies recaptured the lead on Peyton Henry’s 50-yard field goal before the Bruins scored 24 straight runs. Bobo caught a 12-yard strike midway through the second quarter to put UCLA in the lead for good. One game after Stephan Blaylock knocked out Penix and returned to the UW 15, Thompson-Robinson found Kam Brown alone in the end zone to extend the lead to 23-10.
THE TAKE OUT
Washington: The Huskies were at the bottom of the conference in pass defense as their subordinate had a lot of trouble holding down Thompson-Robinson and Bobo.
UCLA: The Bruins had lost 11 games in a row against their top-15 foes, including two to the Huskies, before Friday night’s win. Their last win was in the Alamo Bowl against #11 Kansas State to close out the 2014 season. UCLA’s last win against a top-15 Pac-12 team was also in 2014 against No. 14 Arizona.
UCLA hadn’t gotten many votes due to a Power Five team’s softest non-conference schedule, but the win over the Huskies should give them enough momentum to jump into the rankings. A late rally in the fourth quarter should keep Washington in the poll.
Washington: This Saturday in the state of Arizona.
UCLA: Host No. 12 Utah next Saturday.