Brett Hundley closed out his career at UCLA in grand fashion Friday night as the Bruins raced out to a big lead on Kansas State and held on late to win the Alamo Bowl, 40-35.
Hundley, a redshirt junior, has given every indication that the bowl would be his final game before he moves on to the 2015 NFL Draft -- something head coach Jim Mora has confirmed -- but unlike others who made their decision to forgo their senior seasons before a bowl game, Hundley backed up his choice with a good outing against one of the Big 12's better defenses. Hundley finished 12-of-24 for 136 yards and a touchdown, but it was his ability to run that really helped power the Bruins; he rushed for 96 yards and two scores.
While the stat line was certainly solid, Hundley was a bit shaky in the passing game on some throws, showing why he still faces quite a transition at the next level. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, tweeting during the game, even called Hundley "a raw project at the next level." Still, his athleticism and strong arm will be appealing to those who think they can bring him along.
Paul Perkins continued his strong season and showed off why he might be the most underrated tailback on the West Coast with a 194-yard, two-touchdown effort on the night. He saved his best for when the Bruins needed him most, racing 67 yards to the end zone with just over two minutes left to seal the win.
The rest of the young guns on the UCLA roster also came to play Friday, led by linebacker Myles Jack. The two-way star stuck to defense against K-State but was all over the field and recorded eight tackles, two more for a loss and picked off a pass that he nearly took all the way. Teammate Eric Kendricks closed out his college career as expected by leading the team in tackles and grabbing two sacks while doing a bit of everything for the defense.
The Wildcats appeared to be outclassed and ready to get run out of the Alamodome in the first half, but they emerged from the locker room like a different team. Quarterback Jake Waters was on the money with a number of his throws when the team needed them most, throwing for 338 yards and two touchdowns (and an interception) while also scoring on the ground and extending plays with his legs.
Waters' favorite target was the shifty Tyler Lockett, who was arguably the best player on the field Friday. He did it all on offense, posting 13 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns, and also had several long returns on special teams. He consistently got behind the UCLA defense using his speed and was devastating on crossing patterns. Lockett will leave the Little Apple holding virtually every K-State receiving record and heads to the NFL as one of the most productive members of this year's draft class at wide receiver.
Though the Wildcats made a furious comeback -- nearly pulling off a creative onside kick in the process -- they just couldn't do enough to overcome Hundley and UCLA's hot start in what was certainly an entertaining Alamo Bowl that marked the end of several college careers.