LOS ANGELES — Ethan Garbers threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns as he replaced an injured Colin Schlee to lead UCLA to a, 35-22, LA Bowl victory over Boise State Saturday at Sofi Stadium in front of a bowl record 32,780.
The Bruins scored the first touchdown of the game when Schlee found tight end Hudson Habermehl for a five-yard touchdown pass to put UCLA up 7-6 in the first quarter.
That’s all the Bruins were able to getting going early as the offense struggled most of the first half.
The Broncos outscored UCLA 10-0 in the second quarter giving them a 16-7 lead at the half.
On the Bruins’ first drive of the second half, Schlee took off down the sideline for a huge 44 yard run but that would be his final play of the game as he was knocked out due to injury.
Garbers, a junior who started six games for the Bruins this season entered the game and UCLA took their game to another level.
Garbers and the offense finished that drive with a score when the quarterback found wide receiver Kyle Ford for a five-yard touchdown pass to get the team within a score.
From there it was all UCLA as they scored 28 unanswered points to jump to a comfortable, 35-16, lead over the Mountain West Champions.
Garbers being the catalyst for the big comeback win made him an easy candidate to be named the game’s offensive MVP.
“Talking to him pregame he didn’t feel like he was 100% and couldn’t go,” coach Chip Kelly said. “(Ethan) said, I’m ready to be a backup if we have to go and so when Colin went down, I asked him, ‘Are you ready to go’ and he said he was and he played fantastic.”
The offense received a big boost from running back TJ Harden who finished the game with 20 carries for 105 yards with two second-half touchdown scores.
After allowing 16 points in the first half the UCLA defense only allowed a late fourth quarter to the Broncos.
“I think our defense actually played well in the first half we just missed a couple tackles you know, but they were where they were supposed to be the runs were fit the right way,” coach Kelly said. “We felt like if we could clean that up that we were poised to break out the second half and that’s what happened.”
With the win, the Bruins finished their third straight season with at least 8 wins which is the second time for UCLA since 1988.
This was the final game for the school from Westwood representing the Pac-12 conference as they will move onto the Big Ten next season.