The UCLA football team was already dealing with a lot of adversity before their game at Nebraska after the death of redshirt freshmen Nick Pasquale earlier in the week so the adversity they faced during the game paled in comparison to what they were going through off the field.
However, adversity struck again early on Saturday as the Bruins fell behind 21-3 in the second quarter but the thing that got them off the mat and back into the game was their high-powered offense led by sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley. After falling behind by 17 the Bruins rattled off 35 straight points, scoring on four straight possessions to open the second half, to take a commanding lead and silence a raucous crowd.
They dominated the third quarter outgaining the Huskers 236 to 57 while also tacking on 28 points. Hundley threw for three touchdowns in the third quarter against the suddenly not so vaunted Black Shirt defense of the Huskers. Nebraska was mostly in a man defense in the second half and the Bruins took full advantage of the single coverage by beating it over and over again with their speed and athleticism.
Along with Hundley waking up in the second half, running back Jordan James came out of halftime strong by scoring the first touchdown of their 28 point onslaught and running all over the Cornhuskers defense. The combination of Hundley’s duel threat, as a passer and runner, to go along with James’ shifty running style left Nebraska searching for answers that never came.
Give UCLA credit, they overcame a 17 point deficit on the road against a top 25 team that had all of the momentum and totally turned the game around. Their halftime adjustments were on point, both offensively and defensively, and they made it look easy. Their minds may have been elsewhere in the first half but their score right before halftime jump started the offense and led to a dominating third quarter that ultimately decided the game.
UCLA made a statement Saturday with heavy hearts and it will only give them more momentum as the season goes on. Nobody would have blamed them if they lost while dealing with the death of their teammate but they bonded together and as head coach Jim Mora said after the game,
“We got one for Nick.”