Ethan Garbers threw two touchdown passes, UCLA’s defense sacked Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders seven times and the 23rd-ranked Bruins broke open a close game at halftime with three second-half touchdowns in a 28-16 victory over the Buffaloes on Saturday night.
UCLA led 7-6 at halftime after committing four turnovers in the first half, but scored touchdowns on three of its first four drives in the second half to take control.
The Bruins (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) came into the game tied for 10th in the nation with 24 sacks. The seven sacks of Sanders are the first time they have had that many in a game since 2019. Linebacker Laiatu Latu sacked Sanders twice.
It is the third time this season Sanders has been sacked at least seven times in a game. The Buffaloes (4-4, 1-4) had allowed 35 sacks coming into the game, tied for second-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Sanders finished 27 of 43 for 217 yards and a touchdown. Alejandro Mata had three field goals.
The Bruins got the second-half kickoff and went 75 yards in two plays, including Garbers’ 26-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Moliki Matavao to make it 14-6.
Garbers got the start for the second straight week and completed 20 of 27 for 269 yards and an interception. The junior gave UCLA a 7-6 advantage early in the second quarter on a 3-yard TD pass to Carson Steele. UCLA was in the T-formation on third-and-goal when Garbers found Steele wide open in the left corner of the end zone.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 23 UCLA Bruins Highlights
T.J. Harden and Collin Schlee had fourth-quarter rushing scores. Logan Loya had seven receptions for 111 yards for the Bruins.
Colorado scored on its first two drives and took a 6-0 lead as Mata connected on field goals from 31 and 39 yards. The Buffaloes had a short field on their second possession after Hunter’s first interception at the UCLA 36-yard line.
It appeared as if a Deion Sanders-coached team would not find the end zone for the first time in his four seasons as a collegiate coach until Jimmy Horn Jr. caught an 18-yard TD with 2:37 remaining.
UCLA had a chance to extend its lead late in the first half, but R.J. Lopez’s 25-yard field goal attempt went off the left upright. Lopez has missed five of his last eight field goal tries.
Colorado safety Shilo Sanders was ejected for targeting late in the second quarter when his hit on UCLA tight end Carsen Ryan connected to the chin and face mask area.
Sanders celebrated and flexed after the hit while penalty flags flew around him.
Earlier in the quarter, Sanders’ shoulder forced Steele to fumble for UCLA’s second turnover of the half. The normally reliable Steele had two fumbles in the first half.
Shedeur Sanders on Colorado’s 28-16 loss to No. 23 UCLA
The Buffaloes have dropped four of their last five and will have a tough road finding two wins the rest of the way if they want to get bowl eligible.
The Bruins are the sixth team from the Pac-12 to become bowl eligible. It also marks the first time since 2015 they have been bowl-eligible in at least three straight seasons.
UCLA should go up a couple spots as the Pac-12 should have at least six ranked teams for a ninth straight week.
Colorado hosts No. 11 Oregon State next Saturday.
UCLA travels to Arizona next Saturday.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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