UCLA survives upset-minded UVa 28-20 in season opener

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) – The University of Virginia made things real interesting, and gave 7th-ranked UCLA one heck of a scare, before eventaully falling 28-20 in front of 44,000 fans at Scott Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The script, however, was about as odd as there’s ever been written.

In the first half, the Cavalier defense pitched a complete shutout of a high-powered Bruin offense, lead by Heisman potential quarterback Brett Hundley, yet they trailed 21-3. The Bruins defense scored 21-points off three Cavalier turnovers, two off interceptions by first-year starting quarterback Greyson Lambert and the other by a fumble returned 75 yards by Randal Goforth.

Lambert, a redshirt sophomore who was named the Cavaliers starting quarterback almost immediately after Sprint practice, earned a spot on the bench after throwing the second pick-six. Enter unheralded sophomore Matt Johns, a 6-foo-5 product of Pennsylvania who’d never taken a snap in a college game before.

Johns connected on a 29-yard score to Andre Lavrone that brought the Bruin lead back to 21-10 by halftime. He then found Darius Jennings for a 23-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter, and suddenly brought the game back to 21-17.

That was as close as the Cavaliers could make it.

Hundley used his legs to power through true freshman safety and Virginia Beach product Quin Blanding to make the score 28-17 late in the third, and the Bruins were able to survive a fourth-quarter charge by Johns and the Cavalier offense that ended with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-8 with 3:20 left to play.

UVa now gets ready for the University of Richmond, which heads to Charlottesville on Saturday.

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