3 takeaways from UCLA's 35-10 win at San Diego State
UCLA’s season-opening 27-13 win over Coastal Carolina was unenthusiastic and staid, boring and predictable.
But the Bruins bounced back from any lack of energy with a tremendous performance on Saturday at San Diego State’s Snap Dragon Stadium behind freshman quarterback Dante Moore.
Here are 3 takeaways from UCLA’s 35-10 win at San Diego State.
Welcome to the Dante Moore Show
You’ve got to give credit to Chip Kelly for being diplomatic. After the UCLA offense operated much better under Dante Moore than Ethan Garbers last week, Kelly insisted that both quarterbacks would play and play often on Saturday.
And I do believe he went into the game with those intentions, with Moore slated to start and Garbers expecting to rotate in early, along with Collin Schlee sprinkled in at some point.
But when your true freshman 5-star quarterback is dropping dimes all over the SDSU defense, you stick with the hot hand. Unfortunately for Garbers, that might just spell the end of his starting aspirations. Moore went 11-for-19 for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 81-yard scoring connection with Josiah Norwood. He finished 17-of-27 for 290 yards and 3 scores.
Dante Moore ➡️ Josiah Norwood for an 81-yard, score-opening TD pass!
UCLA 7, San Diego State 0
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 10, 2023
Garbers did not end up playing. Schlee did and managed 1 completion on 2 attempts for 6 yards.
Moore missed on some throws and the offense wasn’t perfect, but there’s no question here. He is both the future and the present.
There is no quarterback controversy, but is there a running back controversy?
If you thought things were close at quarterback, you should see the full-blown committee forming in the UCLA backfield.
In Week 1, Carson Steele and TJ Harden both rushed for exactly 76 yards, though Steele had 13 attempts to Harden’s 11.
Once again the carries and the production were close: Steele had 84 yards and a score on 12 carries and Harden had 9 for 91, including a 59-yard burst.
This defense has scary individual talent
Throughout the Chip Kelly era at UCLA, the Bruins’ defense has lagged behind the offense. Even last year, with their best defense in recent years, Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet were on the marquee.
But with perhaps its best collection of defensive talent since the mid-2010s, when guys like Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks were household names, the Bruins have some major momentum.
On Saturday against the Aztecs, the usual suspects stepped up. Conference defensive player of the year candidate Laiatu Latu added another sack after starting the year with 3 in Week 1, Darius Muasau had 5 1st-half tackles, finishing with 6, 3 tackles for loss, and a sack, and Grayson Murphy added 5 takedowns.