No. 17 UCLA 38, Boise St. 7
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Freshman Cory Paus ignited a stagnant offense and No. 17 UCLA showed a much-improved defense in a 38-7 season-opening victory over outmanned Boise State on Saturday night.
Paus relieved starting quarterback Drew Bennett on UCLA’s fourth possession, and completed 12-of-18 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Bennett, who backed up four-year starter Cade McNown during the last two seasons, was shaky at the outset of his first start, but performed much better in the second half, and wound up 8-of-16 for 120 yards and one TD with one interception.
The Bruins won decisively even though 11 players, most of them starters, were suspended for illegally obtaining handicapped parking permits.
In addition, standout wide receiver Danny Farmer didn’t play because of a sprained ankle.
UCLA was ranked 99th in the country in total defense last year, allowing an average of 437.8 yards as well as 28.3 points per game.
Of course, Boise State, a member of the Big West Conference, figures to be the Bruins’ weakest opponent this season.
Broncos quarterback Bart Hendricks had a long night, completing 17-of-35 passes for 118 yards with three interceptions _ all in the second quarter _ before being relieved by Bryan Harsin early in the fourth quarter.
The Bruins went ahead for good midway through the first quarter on a 37-yard field goal by freshman Chris Griffith four plays after a 12-yard punt by Boise State’s Jeff Edwards.
UCLA, the defending Pac-10 champion, blew the game open in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns in less than six minutes to make it 24-0 with 5 1/2 minutes left before halftime.
DeShaun Foster scored on a 4-yard run to cap a 68-yard, 10-play drive. Less than three minutes later, Julius Williams intercepted a pass by Hendricks and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown.
Hendricks was victimized again five plays later when Joey Strycula intercepted a screen pass and returned it seven yards to the Boise State 16, setting up a 5-yard scoring pass from Paus to Gabe Crecion.
The Broncos still hadn’t crossed midfield to that point, a feat they finally accomplished with 1:33 left before halftime on a 16-yard run by Gavin Reed to the UCLA 39. However, Joe Hunter intercepted a pass by Hendricks two plays later to end the threat.
UCLA made it 38-0 in the third quarter on a 65-yard pass from Bennett to Randy Hakes and a 5-yard run by Jermaine Lewis.
Boise State scored on a 17-yard pass from Harsin to Shaelan McDonough with two minutes remaining, capping a 99-yard drive.