PASADENA, Calif. – It was only a few weeks ago that Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said Jalen Hurts won "the closest (quarterback race) since I've been around," but the senior signal-caller hasn't done much since to make his boss regret the decision. Serving as the driver behind the wheel of the nation's top offense, Hurts attempts to continue his stellar start Saturday when the fourth-ranked Sooners visit winless UCLA.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Oklahoma -23.
Oklahoma piled up more than 300 yards rushing (310) and passing (423) for the second time in as many games this season - and the sixth time in the last nine contests overall - in last weekend's 70-14 rout of FCS foe South Dakota, rolling up 733 yards in the process. Hurts has played a huge role in that production, as he leads FBS in passing efficiency (252.3) and is the only player in the country with more than 500 yards passing (591) and 200 yards rushing (223). While Oklahoma is setting the pace nationally on offense, the Bruins are nearly bringing up the rear, ranking 119th in scoring (14 points per game) and 127th in total offense (239.5 yards). UCLA fell to 0-2 for the second time in as many years under coach Chip Kelly, following a 24-14 defeat in its season opener at Cincinnati with a 23-14 setback last weekend against San Diego State at home.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (2-0)
CeeDee Lamb erupted for 144 yards and a touchdown on six receptions in the first half alone last week, becoming only the ninth receiver in school history with at least 20 career receiving scores; he needs one more TD to tie Dede Westbrook and Malcolm Kelly for seventh place on the school's all-time list. Junior college transfer Rhamondre Stevenson led four Sooners with at least 47 yards rushing versus the Coyotes, including a 75-yard TD scamper en route to 104 yards on the ground. Sophomore defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles had his hand in both of Oklahoma's first two takeaways of the season and was named Big 12 Player of the Week as a result, recovering a second-quarter fumble and returning a third-quarter interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
ABOUT UCLA (0-2)
One significant improvement from the Bruins' opener was the accuracy of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who completed 68.6 percent of his passes versus the Aztecs after he finished 8-for-26 in his season debut. The sophomore quarterback has been unable to be the running threat that is typically a hallmark of Kelly's offenses, however, contributing to the Bruins' inability to rush for over 100 yards in three straight games dating back to last season. Injuries have contributed to the poor start for UCLA, which got back Joshua Kelley (1,243 yards rushing in 2018) last week after he missed the opener due to a preseason knee issue but still has yet to play top returning receiver Theo Howard (51 catches, 677 yards last year), who is recovering from a hand/wrist ailment.
1. Oklahoma has won 32 consecutive non-conference games against unranked opponents, although the last such setback was in 2005 versus UCLA.
2. Kelly has at least one rushing touchdown in each of the last nine games he has played - the longest such streak by a Bruin since a 14-game run by Skip Hicks from 1996-97.
3. With a victory on Saturday, the Sooners will extend their winning streak in true road games to 21 - the longest streak in the country since 1975.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 51, UCLA 20