A season that started with ample promise for UCLA ended on a high note as the Bruins capped off Chip Kelly’s 5th — and most successful — regular season with a 9th win, defeating Cal 35-28 on Friday.

The Bruins’ scorching start devolved into a haphazard finish, leaving UCLA fans wanting.

But they did put a feather in their cap against the Bears, rushing for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns on 64 carries as Kelly remained devoted to the ground game.

Zach Charbonnet had 24 carries for 119 yards and a score — his 8th 100-yard performance of the season — and 3 other ball-carriers, including Dorian Thompson-Robinson, had at least 59 yards on the ground.

DTR finished with 3 more touchdowns on Friday, giving him 36 on the season.

Here are 3 takeaways from UCLA’s win.

UCLA pass defense continues its regression

For a while there, it was a new day there for the much-maligned UCLA pass defense, which has been the bane of Chip Kelly’s existence during his tenure as head coach.

Back in Week 6, when the Bruins beat the No. 11 Utah Utes, 42-32, they held quarterback Cameron Rising to 287 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception.

Things change in a hurry in college football, though, and after being torched by Arizona’s Jayden de Laura for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns in a Week 11 34-28 loss, and Caleb Williams to the tune of 500-plus yards last week in a 48-45 loss to USC, UCLA let pedestrian Jack Plummer complete 24-of-34 passes for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns with zero interceptions on Friday.

Cal receivers Jeremiah Hunter and J. Michael Sturdivant combined for 13 receptions for 223 yards and 3 scores.

Bruins missing defensive playmakers

A week ago in a 48-45 loss to USC at the Rose Bowl, it was clear that UCLA — despite some talented additions during the offseason — was nonetheless missing some playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

Friday, against an offense light-years worse than the Trojans, it remained clear.

No Bruins defender had more than 6 tackles, UCLA had zero sacks and zero interceptions, and the unit just seemed to lack to the ball-hawking ways that had led it to early season success.

Chip Kelly will have his hands full trying to replace ample talent on both sides of the ball, but the Bruins really need to kick it up a notch on defense.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson dwindling down the stretch

After having the best 1st half of the 2022 season of any Pac-12 quarterback, the competition caught up to UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson down the stretch.

Which is a surprise, because DTR is mighty fast.

But his fast start dissipated starting in Week 8 against Oregon, when he finished with a passer rating of 137.5, his lowest of the season to that point. Since then, he’s failed to hit even that low mark in 3 of 5 games, including Saturday against Cal, when he finished 21-of-30 passing for 189 yards and a score with a passer rating of 133.9.

Last week against USC he was impressive with 309 yards and 4 passing scores, as well as 2 rushing scores, but he threw 3 costly interceptions.

The passing game is a big reason UCLA went 3-3 in the second half after starting 6-0.