UCLA scored touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions in a 45-7 victory over Alabama State Saturday at the Rose Bowl, its first game against a historically Black university and a Football Championship Subdivision team.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed nine of 11 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown in the Bruins’ first three series. Backup Ethan Garbers completed 14 of 18 passes for 164 yards with one interception and ran for 5- and 2-yard touchdowns in UCLA’s next seven possessions.
The Bruins’ offensive line did not allow a quarterback sack.
UCLA outgained the Hornets 485 yards to 310 and led 28-18 in first downs but trailed 35:48-24:14 in time of possession before a crowd announced at 33,727.
Christian Grubb, T.J. Harden and Kegan Jones each ran for a touchdown and Nicholas Barr-Mira kicked a 19-yard field goal for the Bruins (2-0), who were 48 1/2-point favorites. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave UCLA a 99.8% chance of winning.
Alabama State (2-1) scored on a 21-yard pass from Myles Crowley to Jeremiah Hixon 13 minutes, 53 seconds before halftime.
Crowley completed 16 of 27 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown. He had one pass intercepted and was sacked three times.
The matchup was announced on Feb. 24, 2021, along with a Sept. 16, 2023, game at the Rose Bowl against North Carolina Central, also a historically Black university and a Football Championship Subdivision team. The games replaced the previously scheduled series with Michigan, which terminated its home-and-home contract with UCLA in 2019.
Alabama State is located in Montgomery, and was founded in 1867 as the Lincoln Normal School at Marion by nine freed slaves from Marion, Alabama who sought to build a school for Blacks previously denied the right to an education.
Alabama State’s alumni include the late civil rights leader the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Eugene Sawyer, Chicago’s mayor from 1987-89, and the Grammy-winning rapper 2 Chainz.
Alabama State has an enrollment of 3,614. UCLA has an enrollment of 45,900 — 31,600 undergraduates and 14,300 graduate students, according to figures supplied by the university.
Saturday’s game left USC and Notre Dame as the only Football Bowl Subdivision teams to have never played a Football Championship Subdivision team. Notre Dame will lose that distinction on Sept. 2, 2023 when it faces Tennessee State, also a historically Black university.
What are now the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivisions were formed before the 1978 season at the urging of several larger Division I schools seeking increased autonomy.
The Hornets are 0-12 against FBS teams since 2006.