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updated: 8/31/2012 1:10 AM

Franklin has 3 TDs as UCLA runs past Rice 49-24

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  • UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin (23) gains yards against Rice during the first half Thursday in Houston.

      UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin (23) gains yards against Rice during the first half Thursday in Houston.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

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.

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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."

After a scoreless third quarter, UCLA put the game away with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Hundley to Fauria to make it 41-24 after the two-point conversion failed with 12:29 left in the game.

Franklin extended the lead to 49-24 with a 22-yard touchdown run and Hundley connected with David Allen for the two-point conversion with 7:54 remaining in the fourth.

Hundley took UCLA's first snap and ran 72 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked to make it 6-0.

"It hasn't hit me yet, but just to know that I scored on my very first play of my college career is pretty awesome," Hundley said. "I have to give credit to my offensive line."

After Roosevelt Davis' interception of McHargue, UCLA took three plays to go 47 yards and score on an 11-yard pass from Hundley to Jerry Johnson. The PAT was blocked again to make it 12-0. Franklin took UCLA's first snap on its next drive 74 yards to extend the Bruins' lead to 19-0.

The Owls got on the board with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by an 8-yard pass from McHargue to Luke Wilson to cut the lead to 19-7 with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter and sliced the lead to nine on a Chris Boswell 53-yard field goal four minutes later.

After Rice recovered a Bruins' fumbled punt return, the Owls trimmed the lead to 19-17 on a McHargue 1-yard touchdown run to begin the second quarter.

Rice coach David Bailiff was proud of the way his team responded when trailing 19-0, but was disappointed with the loss.

"We went on the field tonight expecting to win the game," Bailiff said. "Our team put a lot into winning this game. We have to eliminate the big plays defensively. . Offensively, we can't have turnovers."

UCLA rebounded to extend the lead to 22-17 on a 27-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbaim, and Franklin went 78 yards on the second play of UCLA's next drive to up the UCLA lead to 29-17 3:36 before halftime.

The Owls answered with a 2-yard touchdown pass from McHargue to McGuffie 1:20 before the half, but Damien Holmes returned Turner Peterson's fumble 43 yards for a touchdown 17 seconds before the half to extend the Bruins' lead to 35-24 after another blocked PAT.

Rice's Cameron Nwosu set an NCAA record with three blocked PATs in one game.

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