UCLA football: Houston defeats Bruins, 38-34
Quarterback Kevin Prince has a concussion, but UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel might have the bigger headache after Houston held on for a 38-34 win over the Bruins on Saturday afternoon at Robertson Stadium in Houston.
UCLA's defense simply couldn't contain Cougars quarterback Case Keenum, who might own a couple of NCAA career records when he's finished this season. In the season opener for both teams, he showed why, completing 30 of 40 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 30 yards.
Prince, UCLA's starting quarterback, completed his first three passes, but sustained a game-ending concussion when he was upended on a play in the second quarter.
Backup Richard Brehaut came on to complete 17 of 26 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 87 yards and a touchdown in 13 carries.
Offense wasn't the problem for the Bruins. Johnathan Franklin ran for 128 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries and UCLA outgained Houston, 554 yards to 469.
Tight end Joseph Fauria, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Notre Dame, led UCLA receivers with six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Brehaut connected with Anthony Barr on an 11-yard scoring pass with 1 minute 19 seconds left in the game, but Kip Smith's extra point was blocked and Houston easily recovered an onside kick.
Houston 38, UCLA 28 (fourth quarter)
Houston refuses to fold. The Cougars, leading by three, get a defensive stop. Quarterback Case Keenum puts the ball in the end zone again, although it required a kind bounce.
Keenum completed a jail-break screen to Tyrone Carrier, who had the ball knocked loose at the one-yard line. Center Chris Thompson recovered the fumble in the end zone for the touchdown.
Houston 31, UCLA 28 (late third quarter)
The Cougars were on the verge of upping their lead when running back Bryce Bell fumbled on the UCLA five-yard line. The Bruins went 95 yards in nine plays.
Houston 31, UCLA 21 (third quarter)
UCLA went on a herky-jerky 76-yard drive at the start of th second half to get close the deficit to 10 points.
Richard Brehaut completed a 54-yard pass to wide receiver Nelson Rosario, only to have 15 yards taken away when tight end Joseph Fauria was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. UCLA also overcame a holding penalty on tackle Sean Sheller.
On third down and 11 yards, Brehaut completed an 18-yard pass to Rosario for a first down at the Houston six-yard line. On fourth down from the one, Derrick Coleman bulled into the end zone.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince will not return after suffering a concussion.
Houston 31, UCLA 14 (halftime)
Case Keenum has Houston fans dusting off those Keenum-for-the-Heisman posters.
The Bruins lost quarterback Kevin Prince, who landed on his head at the end of a run in the second quarter. He was being evaluated for a concussion and will not return to the game.
Keenum carved up UCLA’s defense in the first half, completing 19 of 24 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown to lead the Cougars to a 31-14 lead at halftime. The Cougars' last two drivers lasted 53 and 27 seconds.
Keenum, who sustained a season-ending knee injury against UCLA last season, drove the Cougars 80 yards on their first drive to take a 7-0 lead. He continued to ding the UCLA defense. The Cougars finished the half with 20 first downs.
The Bruins had self-inflicted wounds as well. Cougars’ running back Michael Hayes spun out the arms of two UCLA defenders on a 34-yard touchdown run. UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price was called for pass interference late in the half. On the next play, Keenum zipped a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Carrier for a touchdown with eight seconds left in the half.
UCLA linebacker Glenn Love left the game with a shoulder injury and will not return.
Houston 31, UCLA 14 (late second quarter)
Houston wastes little time putting UCLA deeper in a hole.
Case Keenum takes the Cougars 64 yards in three plays, with a little help from Bruins cornerback Sheldon Price, who was called for pass interference. Keenum ended the drive by zipping a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Carrier.
Houston’s last two touchdown drives lasted 53 and 27 seconds.
Houston 24, UCLA 14 (late second quarter)
In a glimpse of last season, shoddy tackling by UCLA led to a Houston touchdown 53 seconds after the Bruins had scored.
Wide receiver Patrick Edwards slipped a tackle for a 16-yard gain. On the next play, Michael Hayes appeared to be stopped after an eight-yard gain, but he rolled out of the arms of two UCLA defenders for a 34-yard touchdown run.
Houston 17, UCLA 14 (second quarter)
The combination of Richard Brehaut to Joseph Fauria has the Bruins back in the game.
Brehaut completed three passes to Fauria, a junior tight end, on a touchdown drive. The two hooked up for 26 yards on a third-and-eight play. On a second-and-14 play, Brehaut found Fauria for a 25-yard gain to the Houston five-yard line. Fauria caught a five-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
Houston 17, UCLA 7 (second quarter)
First UCLA loses quarterback Kevin Prince, who was flipped by Houston defensive back D.J. Hayden and landed on his head. Then the Bruins lose the ball when Jordon James fumbles.
Case Keenum takes advantage. He completes three of four passes for 24 yards and has a nine-yard run. A UCLA holding penalty moves the drive along and Bryce Bell bursts up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes 18 seconds left in the first half.
Prince left the game after suffering an injury on a four-yard run when Harden sent him flying through the air. Richard Brehaut is in the game. Prince is receiving medical attention on the sideline.
Houston 10, UCLA 7 (second quarter)
UCLA gets off the mat with a 68-yard drive that ended in Johnathan Franklin’s 18-yard touchdown run.
Quarterback Kevin Prince completed a 29-yard pass to tight end Joseph Fauria on a third-and-four play. Franklin scored on the following play.
Kip Smith wobbled through the extra point to cut Houston’s lead to three with 14 minutes 21 seconds left in the first half.
Houston 10, UCLA 0 (first quarter)
UCLA’s first opportunity with the ball resulted in a fumble on a kickoff return, which the Bruins recovered. They held the ball for three plays, with a bad snap by center Kai Maiava killing any chance of moving the ball.
Houston, meanwhile, was efficient, driving 60 yards to set up a 35-yard field goal by Matt Hogan for a 10-0 lead. Quarterback Case Keenum completed seven of seven passes for 52 yards on the drive.
Houston 7, UCLA 0 (first quarter)
Houston made it look easy on its first drive, going 80 yards in 16 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Michael Hayes went the final yard for the touchdown, but it was quarterback Case Keenum’s moment.
Keenum, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against UCLA last season, completed five of seven passes for 42 yards. He also ran twice for 18 yards. He completed an eight-yard pass to Hayes on a third-and-seven play. Keenum also scrambled 10 yards on a third down to give the Cougars a first down on the UCLA seven-yard line.
--Chris Foster, reporting from Houston
Photo: UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince is sent flying on a scramble by Houston defensive back D.J. Hayden in the first half Saturday. Credit: George Bridges / McClatchy-Tribune