UCLA running back Keegan Jones (22) runs the ball against Alabama State defensive back Irshaad Davis (0) and defensive back Jeffrey Scott Jr. (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The UCLA Bruins football team defeated Alabama State University 45-7 to earn their second consecutive victory. This is the first time the UCLA Bruins battled the Alabama State Hornets.

Quarterback Ethan Garbers stepped in for starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson to make 14 passes for 164 yards, Thompson-Robinson gained 101 yards from nine passes and one touchdown before being sidelined with an injury.

“I prepared this week as if I was gonna play and you gotta go into it with the mindset of you’re here right now … you just got to do your job,” Garbers said.

Alabama State quarterback Myles Crawley slung 15 passes for 177 yards and scored one touchdown.

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“We could compete at a high level,” Crawley said. “I feel like we could have did a lot of things better but I like where we at right now.”

UCLA struck early, scoring twice in the first quarter. Crawley advanced the field through passes, a 21-yard target to Jeremiah Hixon would put the Hornets on the scoreboard.

UCLA defensive lineman Grayson Murphy (12) sacks Alabama State quarterback Myles Crawley (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The Hornets showed flashes of strong defense throughout the contest. Midway through the second quarter, Garbers targeted freshman running back Carsen Ryan for a 26-yard play and a first and goal at the three-yard line. Alabama state denied the endzone from the Bruins three times, forcing them to kick a field goal.

By halftime, UCLA was up 31-7. Although their football team struggled, the Alabama State Mighty Marching Hornets put on a halftime show that received a standing ovation from the 33,727 fans that were in attendance.

The ASU Mighty Marching Hornets march into the Rose Bowl (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

In the third quarter, Garbers was at Alabama State’s six-yard line when he was picked off by freshman defensive back Adrian Maddox.

“He’s a dawg, so he’s gonna be a very good player,” said ASU senior defensive back Keenan Isaac about Maddox. “They run a little out route on him and he jumped, so we were able to get a takeaway from this.”

The Bruins scored five rushing touchdowns with Inglewood alum Tomarion “TJ” Harden leading the rushers with seven carries for 56 yards. Several other players who do not see much playing time got a chance to compete in this match-up.

“To see a lot of guys who haven’t been able to have that many snaps before and come in and really take advantage of the opportunities, it was great for them,” said senior guard Jon Gaines II. “You love to see your teammates work hard throughout the week and that hard work pay off for them.”

The Marching Hornets performed after the game (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Despite the loss, Hornets players see the benefits of playing against power five teams like UCLA.

“It’s a lot of guys that get overlooked at HBCU’s,” said freshman wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault. “They should have that platform where they can brand themselves.”

Shenault chose to attend Alabama State because he was looking for a sense of family and camaraderie. For Isaac, HBCU culture was ingrained in him.

ASU Trustee member Brenda Brown Hunter (left) poses with UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“A large part of my family are all HBCU alumni,” he said. “My mom and dad both went to Alabama A&M, my dad played football for Alabama A&M, so I got a nice HBCU background.”

The Bruins will host South Alabama on September 17 at 11:00A.M.