He’s the ONE, he’s second-to-none, and I hope he’s not done — Brett Hundley throws for two Touchdowns after running for two Touchdowns, including an 86-yard scramble that put UCLA up to stay in 42-12 thrashing of Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl
If this was Brett Hundley’s last game as a Bruin, he went out with a flourish. The Redshirt Sophomore Quarterback ran for a career-high 161 yards including a scintillating 86-yard scamper to paydirt that gave UCLA a 2nd Quarter 14-7 lead that they would never relinquish.
Hundley was not deadly-accurate passing — definitely not NFL-Ready — but he did connect for two TD’s in the 2nd Half, one to Thomas Duarte, and a late 59-yard strike to Shaq Evans after the game was already well in hand. It was not a Mora-like call, with the score already 35-12 with 6 minutes left — In fact, it was rather Carroll-esque. Maybe Mora and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone didn’t call it — Maybe Hundley audibled to it just to send one more sign to NFL scouts that he is ready to turn Pro?
Regardless, Hundley was clearly the star of the game. UCLA’s Running Backs could not gain many yards against the stiff VT Defense, so it was up to Hundley to scramble, and to hit his Receivers, mostly on Swing Passes and short patterns. It was slow going at first, as the Bruins were up only 14-10 entering the 4th Quarter, but then the Bruins exploded for 28 Points to bury the Hokies. A short run by Paul Perkins and a Pick 6 by Myles Jack supplied two of the 4 TD’s, with Hundley’s two TD tosses supplying the final two nails in the coffin.
The victory gave UCLA 10 wins on the year, for the first time since 2005, but this year is much, much more satisfying because 1 of those 10 came against u$c, in the 35-14 gangland-style slaying in South Central. Tuesday’s Sun Bowl victory was satisfying as well, but not as satisfying as it should have been. Virginia Tech’s best player BY FAR, is their Quarterback, and he got knocked out of the game in the 2nd Quarter by a devastating blow delivered by Jordan Zumwalt. It just doesn’t feel nearly as good to whip a team that is missing their star, and is relying on a seldom-used backup to lead them.
The hit elicited a flag for Unnecessary Roughness, because the guy went down and stayed down, and because he had released the ball just before Zumwalt flattened him. But it was NOT helmet-to-helmet, it was NOT targeting, and the CBS announcers Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson felt it was CLEAN and did NOT warrant a flag. I agree, but I it was close, and I’ve seen many worse calls, just in the last few Bowl Games played yesterday, in fact.
Zumwalt was not deterred by the penalty. He went on to be the clear Defensive MVP of the Game. He made several jarring blows, to the point where the announcers knew who delivered certain hits without reading the jersey number. They could tell by the resulting devastation that the ballcarrier had been victimized by another Zumwalt hit. Zumwalt made 10 Tackles, and capped off his stellar afternoon with a dagger Interception, that he returned 43 yards. He was not quite able to get it into the end zone as did Myles Jack, who was the definite runner-up for Outstanding Defensive Player. Jack sort of “covered” for the missing Eric Kendricks, by being all over the field, and repeatedly disrupting VT’s short passing game. All-American Linebacker Anthony Barr was remarkably quiet — I guess Virginia Tech’s gameplan was to run away from him. But with Jack and Zumwalt everywhere else, that strategy was an epic fail.
The lopsided final score defies the fact that it was still a two-possession game with 8 minutes to go, when the Bruin Punter stepped on the end line while kicking from the end zone. That Safety made it 28-12 (UCLA also had missed an easy Field Goal, and muffed a Punt deep in Bruin territory earlier in the game). But that’s when Hundley took to the air, throwing the two late TD’s to make the final score 42-12.
When asked if this game made his decision whether or not to turn Pro easier or harder, he said harder. That sounds like he’s planning on leaving, but had such a good time, and he knows the Bruins could be a Championship contender next year, so it’s hard to walk away from all of that. Hopefully he will decide to stay for one more campaign, win the Heisman, and a National Championship in the first-ever NCAA Football Playoffs.
One more reason for Hundley to stay: Check out these 36 photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad, in action earlier this year at the Black Out at the Rose Bowl.