– UCLA set the school record in total offensive yards (692) and first downs (39), despite the Bruins having a fairly uneven game on that side of the ball. Brett Hundley threw two red-zone interceptions and missed at least two sure touchdowns to receiver Devin Fuller. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 280 yards and three scores.
“At one point, I just told him to pull the trigger,” head coach Jim Mora said. “He looked hesitant and he’s got to move through that. He had good numbers, but numbers aren’t always the true story.”
The sophomore moved to eighth on UCLA’s all-time passing list with 4,588 career yards. Immediately ahead of him is Wayne Cooks’ 4,723. Hundley is also eighth in total offense (5,100), behind Troy Aikman’s 5,294.
– Receiver Nick Pasquale, killed by a car on Sept. 8, was honored with a moment of silence before the game, one followed by fans cheering loudly and waving the 30,000 free blue towels passed out at the Rose Bowl. On UCLA’s first offensive play of the day, the Bruins lined up with 10 men, leaving a spot open for Pasquale.
His family received a framed jersey between the first and second quarters.
“I don’t think we can ever do enough to honor Nick Pasquale and his family,” Mora said.
– UCLA has scored at least 50 points in back-to-back home games for the first time since 1973. Its 158 points this season is the best three-game stretch since 1997.
– The Bruins finished a game without punting for the second time this season, and just the fifth time in school history. UCLA also went punt-less in its season opener against Nevada, as well as in 1973, 1974 and 1975.
– Sophomore safety Randall Goforth tied linebacker Eric Kendricks with a team-high seven tackles, and also added a forced fumble and a pair of pass breakups. Mora called it the best game yet for Goforth, who had a big play at Nebraska last week when he stopped a fake punt.
“He did a great job making breaks off the ball,” defensive coordinator Lou Spanos said. “He was disruptive. Had a couple of (pass breakups), and solid in the run game. I think the first third down, it was a quarterback draw, he came up and made the tackle.”
– UCLA’s defense did fine overall, shutting out the Aggies for over three quarters, but it still wasn’t a perfect game. Linebacker Anthony Barr pointed out the amount of rushing yards allowed as an example. New Mexico State back Brandon Betancourt ran for 95 yards and a touchdown in his first start of the season. He entered the game with 37 yards on 19 carries through three games.
“I think maybe at times we took our foot off the gas a little bit, and that’s not OK,” Barr said. “With Pac-12 coming up, conference right around the corner, we’ve got to make sure we’re full throttle through every game.”
– Malcolm Jones ran for 25 yards and had his first two-touchdown game, punching in a pair of three-yard runs. His first score was particularly impressive, as the senior dragged two or three defenders into the end zone. Still, Jones has been used almost exclusively as a late-game back thus far this season, when games have already been decided.
Mora said he likes what the 6-foot, 220-pound back has done this season, but finding more carries for him will be difficult. In addition to the rotation of Jordon James, Paul Perkins and Steve Manfro, the Bruins will soon have senior Damien Thigpen (ACL) back in the mix. Thigpen was third on the team in all-purpose yards last season.
“We have one football and a lot of playmakers on offense,” Mora said. “I’d like to see Malcolm get more carries earlier in the game. I’ve been so proud of the way he’s played … swallowing his pride how he did and performing how he has.”
– Jordon James finished with a career-high 164 yards, scoring two touchdowns on 19 carries. Sophomore Steve Manfro had two carries for 14 yards and a touchdown, but added 53 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.
“There’s no better feeling in the world than getting a touchdown,” he said. “So there’s nothing wrong with getting more than one.”
Manfro also opened the game with a 70-yard return, the team’s longest kickoff return since Josh Smith’s 78-yarder against Arizona State on Nov. 5, 2011. UCLA’s first drive against the Aggies ended two plays later when James fumbled at the five-yard line.
– UCLA flipped Simon Goines and Torian White to right and left tackles, respectively. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said the change was due to Goines experiencing some pain in his knee. Moving to the other side of the line helped him keep pressure off of it.
“They both have played those last year, so we did that to give Simon some time off on that, try to get that well,” Mazzone said.
True freshman Caleb Benenoch got some work in at tackle as well.
*My notebook on how Noel Mazzone’s offense has opened up the running game for UCLA — especially compared to the Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell eras.
*Jill Painter’s column on UCLA’s efforts to honor walk-on receiver Nick Pasquale, who was killed on Sept. 8.