HOUSTON — Johnathan Franklin didn’t care about his personal performance or the numbers that UCLA put up against Rice on Thursday night.
He was just happy to get the win.
Franklin rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns as the Bruins racked up 348 yards on the ground en route to a 49-24 season-opening victory.
Brett Hundley, a redshirt freshman, was 21 of 28 for 202 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown. Joseph Fauria caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Franklin just missed his career high of 216 yards rushing set in 2010 against Washington State. He became the first player in UCLA history to have two rushes of at least 72 yards in a game after scoring on touchdown runs of 74 and 78 yards in the first half.
“All praise to God and my offensive line," Franklin said. “They opened up a lot of holes. You could have driven a bulldozer through those holes."
Rice’s Taylor McHargue threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 17 of 28 passing and rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Sam McGuffie caught eight passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
McHargue said he felt the Owls showed they could play with anyone.
“There is a lot of good to take from this, and the mistakes we made offensively, especially in the second half, are mistakes that are easy to correct," McHargue said. “It was just mistakes — a couple mental busts here and there."
UCLA finished with 651 total yards in Jim Mora Jr.’s first game as coach, compared to 347 for Rice.
“It’s a win, and you take a win anytime you can get a win," Mora Jr. said. “I thought we had some unnecessary penalties that we will clean up, but we made some big plays. I thought our defense... after having 55 defensive plays in the first half, came back to play well in the second half with some adjustments. It’s a good start."
Also on Thursday:
No. 9 S. Carolina 17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marcus Lattimore ran for two touchdowns and 110 yards, and Connor Shaw ran for 92 yards while playing the second half with an injured shoulder as South Carolina rallied for a victory against Vanderbilt to open the season. Lattimore scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run with 11:25 to go. The Commodores turned it over on downs with 1:47 to go when Jordan Matthews couldn’t handle a fourth-down pass from Jordan Rodgers. Gamecocks defensive back D.J. Swearinger appeared to grab Matthews’ arm before the ball arrived.
Washington State 6
PROVO, Utah — Riley Nelson threw for two touchdowns and third-string quarterback Taysom Hill added another on his first collegiate pass as Brigham Young beat Washington State to spoil Mike Leach’s return to coaching. BYU intercepted Jeff Tuel twice and sacked him three times while limiting Leach’s vaunted Air Raid attack to 224 yards total offense. Washington State finished with minus-5 yards rushing.
Northern Colorado 0
SALT LAKE CITY — John White rushed for 119 yards, Jordan Wynn threw for two touchdowns and backup quarterback Travis Wilson ran for two more scores to power Utah over Northern Colorado in both teams’ season opener. The Utes’ first drive ended in an interception by Courtney Hall on Wynn’s underthrown pass, but he recovered to complete 19 of 27 passes for 200 yards, including both TD passes to tight end Jake Murphy.
Arizona State 63
Northern Arizona 6
TEMPE, Ariz. — Marion Grice ran for three touchdowns, Taylor Kelly was efficient in his desert debut and Arizona State opened the Todd Graham era with a rout over Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils overwhelmed Northern Arizona from the opening kickoff, forcing three turnovers and running for five touchdowns while building a 42-0 halftime lead. Kelly, Arizona State’s fourth quarterback in as many years, looked as if he had been under center all along, throwing for 247 yards and a touchdown.