UCLA's worst fears came true on Saturday night. Then a player with a familiar name to Bruins fans led the team to a surprising victory.
Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley injured his arm on a run early in the first quarter against Texas and missed the rest of the game, but the team still managed to eek out a 20-17 win at AT&T Stadium behind the late heroics of backup Jerry Neuheisel.
Hundley went airborne on a play trying to pick up a first down and was hit by two defenders, coming down to land squarely on his fully extended arm.
FOX reported on its broadcast of the game that Hundley injured his left elbow, which is his non-throwing arm. Trainers appeared to be massaging the quarterback's arm around the elbow joint and doing what they could to get the team's star player back in action. He left the sideline for the locker room in the second quarter, but returned to the sideline for the start of the second half as UCLA announced he was doubtful to return.
Hundley was 4-for-4 with 48 yards passing and nine yards on the ground when he departed.
Texas starter Tyrone Swoopes looked much improved under center, going 24-for-34 for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The Longhorns' one-two punch at running back, Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, couldn't get much going on the ground, but showed some flashes against a tough UCLA front seven.
The two teams looked thoroughly mediocre for much of the contest but picked things up considerably in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns mounted an impressive 80-yard drive to take a 17-13 lead with just 5:13 to go. UCLA fumbled the ball away on its next possession and it appeared as though Texas would be able to run out the clock.
The Bruins had other ideas, though.
Texas ran just 1:11 off the clock before punting, and Neuheisel, the son of former head coach and Bruins player Rick Neuheisel, received good field position after a big punt return. On the first play of UCLA's drive, he threw the game-winning 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton. UCLA held on for the win and Neuheisel was lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates and carried around the field as the Bruins celebrated.
Though UCLA won the game, it's offensive struggles have been well documented early in the 2014 campaign, even though Hundley's play has been solid. Most of the issues can be traced to the Bruins' woeful offensive line.
Hundley is considered by most to be a potential first-round pick in next year's draft. He took out a significant insurance policy after deciding to return to Westwood in the offseason and has said this is likely his final season in a UCLA uniform. After the game, head coach Jim Mora said the quarterback would have an MRI on his arm when the team returns to Los Angeles but noted that Hundley asked to return to the game after the injury.
For at least one night, UCLA didn't need its Heisman Trophy candidate to escape with a major non-conference win.