Garbers rallies UCLA for win over Boise State in LA Bowl
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Ethan Garbers threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns after coming in early in the second half, TJ Harden rushed for two touchdowns and UCLA rallied for a 35-22 victory over Boise State in the LA Bowl on Saturday night.
The Bruins trailed 16-7 at halftime and scored on their first three drives in the second half to take control of the contest, which took place 12 miles from the UCLA campus.
J. Michael Sturdivant had four receptions for 142 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that put UCLA (8-5) up by three scores.
George Holani had both of Boise State's touchdowns and finished with 138 yards rushing on 17 carries. The Broncos (8-6) had won four straight games to claim the Mountain West title and earn the automatic bid to the game.
CJ Tiller was 12 of 21 for 117 yards for the Broncos in his first collegiate start.
Garbers came into the game with 11:25 remaining in the third quarter after starter Collin Schlee was injured taking a hit on a 44-yard run up the right sideline.
Garbers, a junior who started six games for the Bruins this season, completed his first eight passes, including a 5-yard TD to Kyle Ford three plays after entering the game.
Harden, who had a season-high 105 yards on 20 carries, then scored the next two touchdowns — a 1-yard run off left end with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter to give the Bruins a 21-16 advantage, and a 14-yard score in which he patiently waited for a hole to develop and then broke a tackle at the Broncos' 4.
Garbers completed 9 of 12 passes. Schlee had 127 yards on seven carries and was 11 of 16 passing for 78 yards and a TD.
A pair of field goals by Jonah Dalmas gave Boise State an early advantage before UCLA went on top 7-6 with 48 seconds left in the first quarter when Schlee stepped up in the pocket on third-and-goal, stayed just shy of the line of scrimmage and flipped a pass to tight end Hudson Habermehl for a 5-yard touchdown.
The score was set up by Schlee's 50-yard run off right end and up the sideline to the Broncos 8.
The Broncos regained the lead on Dalmas' third field goal four minutes into the second quarter and extended it to 16-7 with 4:33 remaining in the first half on George Holani's 1-yard carry off left tackle.
Holani had Boise State's only touchdown of the second half with a 66-yard run up the middle with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to get the Broncos within 13. The 2-point conversion was no good.
Boise State: The Broncos lost their first game after Spencer Danielson had the interim title removed as head coach.
UCLA: In a season of questionable quarterback decisions for the Bruins, why coach Chip Kelly didn't start Garbers remains a mystery.
Boise State: Opens the 2024 season at Georgia Southern on Aug. 31.
UCLA: Heads to Hawaii for the season opener on Aug. 31.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football