Saturday, September 15, 2012
Instant Analysis: UCLA 37, Houston 6
By Peter Yoon
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA's offense sputtered somewhat, but the defense came alive against a prolific offense and the Bruins defeated Houston, 37-6, Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. A quick look at what happened:
It was over when: Damien Thigpen returned the second-half kickoff 55 yards and Jordon James scored on a 12-yard pass from Brett Hundley five plays later to give UCLA a 24-0 lead. It was a sign that the UCLA offense, which lumbered through the first half, wasn't going to let up enough to let Houston get back in the game.
Game ball goes to: Datone Jones. The senior defensive lineman was a thorn on both sides of the ball. He had four tackles, including three for a loss and switched jersey numbers to No. 97, went in as a tight end and caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
Stat of the Game: Five interceptions for UCLA. Houston quarterback David Piland set an NCAA record last week by throwing 77 passes without having one intercepted and had attempted 121 passes in two games this season with only one interception. Sheldon Price picked off three of Piland's 60 attempts on Saturday as the Bruins held him to 249 yards through the air. He was averaging nearly 400 yards passing per game before Saturday.
What it means: The Bruins are 3-0 for the first time since 2009, which actually means little because UCLA finished that season 7-6. UCLA should have had an easier time against a Houston team that lost to Texas State and Louisiana Tech. The fact that they didn't should serve as a reminder that the Bruins are still growing. Still, UCLA should move up a couple of spots in the top-25 rankings.