UCLA overcame a small but real 5-3 halftime deficit to beat UC Davis 27-5 Saturday in D1A league action.
Inside center Race Noeldner scored two tries in the second half to pace the Bruins to the victory in difficult, wintry conditions.
"Davis really tested us and were super physical," said UCLA Head Coach Scott Stewart. "At halftime we talked about how we wanted to play in their end instead of our end. We needed to be smart and try to get back to our bread and butter when we were under pressure."
The change worked and, more to the point, the UCLA players were on board. Setting the ball up and using the boot they put pressure on Davis and that resulted in tries.
Noeldner's first came two minutes into the second half. That made the score 8-5, and it stayed that way until 64 minutes in, when Noeldner scored his second try which, with the Ben Francis conversion, put the game out of reach at 15-5. Matial Chaput and Sam Snell went over in the closing minutes to extend the scoreline, perhaps a little flattering to UCLA.
"They showed the ability to handle pressure and do something about it," said Stewart. "We knew we were playing too much in our 22, and the guys adjusted. But, boy, it was a game."
Tries: Noeldner 2, Chaput, Snell
Convs: Francis, Pritchard
UC Davis 5