UCLA 59, San Diego St. 6
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Darryl Henley returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown after just 3:25 of play and Troy Aikman threw three first-half scoring passes Saturday night as fifth-ranked UCLA overpowered San Diego State 59-6 in the season opener for both teams.
Henley, who returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in UCLA’s 47-14 season-opening victory over San Diego State last season, broke two tackles and sidestepped several other Aztecs in getting the Bruins off to a fast start.
Aikman, who ranked second in the country in passing efficiency last season, threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Laurence Burkley and a 15-yard scoring pass to Reggie Moore to give the Bruins a 21-0 lead before the second quarter was two minutes old.
Aikman completed 13 of 17 passes for 155 yards without being intercepted before coming out of the game after the first series of the third quarter. UCLA led 38-0 at the time.
Eric Ball, another UCLA senior, was the game’s leading rusher with 122 yards on 17 carries. He also left early in the third quarter.
Aikman’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Mark Estwick with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter and Alfredo Velasco’s 32-yard field goal with 58 seconds left before halftime made it 31-0.
Estwick also scored on a 3-yard run, capping a 78-yard, 10-play drive with the second-half kickoff which gave the Bruins their 38-0 lead.
UCLA’s other points came on a 2-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ron Caragher to Corwin Anthony late in the third quarter, a 30-yard touchdown run by freshman Shawn Wills with 8:05 left in the game, and 2-yard run by Wills with 2:48 left.
Tommy Booker scored San Diego State’s touchdown on a 13-yard run with 10 minutes left in the contest.
The opener, played before a crowd of 46,487 at the Rose Bowl, was little more than a tuneup for the Bruins, who face second-ranked Nebraska next Saturday night. Nebraska is 2-0 after trouncing Utah State 63-13 Saturday.
The 59 points was the most scored by a UCLA team since 1976 when the Bruins beat Washington State 62-3.
Wills, a highly-touted freshman, gained 81 yards on nine carries.
San Diego State quarterback Brad Platt, a junior college transfer playing his first game for the Aztecs, completed 16 of 31 passes for 197 yards without being intercepted.
The Aikman-to-Burkley pass came one play after a San Diego State punt and was Burkley’s first career pass reception.
The Aztecs had been buried deep in their own territory by a 56-yard Kirk Maggio punt which was downed at San Diego State’s 1-yard line.
Steve Blyth of the Aztecs recovered a fumble by Anthony at the UCLA 24-yard line late in the first quarter, but Tyler Ackerson’s 39-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the second quarter was blocked by Randy Beverly and the Bruins recovered the loose ball at their 47.
A 53-yard, five-play touchdown drive followed, capped by the Aikman-to- Moore pass.
The Aztecs then drove deep into UCLA territory, but on fourth-and-goal from the UCLA 3, Platt was sacked by Eric Turner for an 8-yard loss. The Bruins then drove 89 yards on 12 plays to score their fourth touchdown.
San Diego State moved 66 yards on seven plays for its only touchdown.
The Aztecs face the Air Force Academy in a Western Athletic Conference opener next Saturday.