Moore starts as UCLA dominates San Diego State

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Moore played three quarters in the Bruins' win over the Aztecs.

Dante Moore? Ethan Garbers? Collin Schlee? The UCLA Bruins’ quarterback carousel made its way to San Diego. But one quarterback seemed to pick up the starting role in the Bruins’ 35-10 win over the San Diego State Aztecs.

Moore started for the Bruins against the Aztecs despite Garbers beginning the Bruins’ first game of the season. And Moore played for three quarters, leading his team to a 35-10 lead.

Moore started slowly with two three-and-outs. But he bounced back with a few big plays to give the Bruins a lead. And once he got going, he was nearly impossible to stop, as he displayed excellent poise in his first college football start.

In the first play of the Bruins’ third drive, Moore threw an 81-yard touchdown play-action pass to receiver Josiah Norwood. Later, Moore caught the Aztecs off guard during a two-minute drill, finding receiver Logan Loya for a 22-yard touchdown.

Moore fumbled in the third quarter, and the Aztecs recovered on the Bruins’ one-yard line. However, linebacker Darius Muasau intercepted Aztecs quarterback Jalen Mayden’s pass in the endzone to hold the Bruins’ lead.

The Bruins’ rushing attack also helped Moore gain and hold a lead. Running backs Carson Steele and T.J. Harden scored in the first half and made multiple big runs. 

Steele finished with 84 yards on 12 carries, while Harden ended with 91 yards on nine carries.

Regarding pass-catchers, the Bruins quarterbacks spread the ball around, making completions to 11 players. Leading the group was Loya, who caught four passes. J. Michael Sturdivant also played well, drawing a couple of pass interferences and two catches for 23 yards.

Moore finished his start with 290 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 17-for-27 completions. Then, Schlee replaced him in the fourth quarter. Despite not seeing the field in the Bruins’ first game of the season, he played well after replacing Moore against the Aztecs. 

Schlee showed off his running ability, rushing for 35 yards on two attempts. Schlee was forced to hand the ball off many times as the Bruins tried to run the clock down in the fourth quarter. But when he had the chance to show off his talent, he made good use of it.

Schlee ended with six passing yards. Garbers did not play.  

Head coach Chip Kelley declined to name a starter after the game, citing his confidence in the Bruins’ top three quarterbacks.

Defensively, the Bruins defense excelled in their second game under defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn, who was hired in February. They brought solid pressure in the pocket, rushing Mayden. 

The Bruins’ secondary was inconsistent in the first half, leaving receivers open downfield, but the Aztecs failed to punish them. Challenging the Aztecs was the Bruins’ front seven, who limited most opportunities for the Aztecs. 

Bruins defensive back Alex Johnson intercepted Mayden in the third quarter as the Bruins’ pressure forced him to make an inaccurate throw. Also contributing to the group was Oluwafemi Oladejom, who led the team with ten total tackles. 

Next, the Bruins play the North Carolina Central Eagles before kicking off PAC-12 Conference play against the No. 12 ranked Utah Utes.