Jim Mora's return to Washington and the showdown between dual-threats Myles Jack and Shaq Thompson became a showcase for UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.
Hundley threw two touchdown passes to become the school's career leader, ran for two more scores and No. 18 UCLA completed a perfect season on the road with a 44-30 victory over Washington on Saturday night.
The Bruins went 6-0 away from the Rose Bowl, capping their road slate with an impressive offensive performance led by Hundley.
"He played with great certainty," Mora said. "He looked extremely poised in the pocket. I thought he stepped up and there the ball well, with accuracy. ... He practiced that way all week and performed that way tonight."
Hundley threw his 69th career touchdown pass on a 57-yard strike to Kenneth Walker III in the first quarter to give the Bruins ay 14-0 lead and pass Cade McNown on the school's list. Hundley added touchdown runs of 4 and 6 yards as UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12, No. 18 CFP) kept alive its hopes of winning the Pac-12 South.
Hundley was 29 of 36 for 302 yards, his fourth 300-yard passing game this season and ninth of his career.
"We moved really efficiently, got the ball out in (the receivers) hands. Ran the ball, threw the ball, had some fun," Hundley said.
While Hundley's performance deserved the attention, Jack's 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was one for the highlight reels.
Jack's offensive touches were limited, but the linebacker turned running back scored his fifth touchdown rushing against Washington in the past two seasons late in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 28-10 lead.
Jack bounced a third-down handoff to the outside, picking up the needed yards for the first down then made the play spectacular. He first stiff-armed former high school teammate Budda Baker to the turf, then spun out of the tackle attempt of Naijiel Hale. Jack kept his balance without going out of bounds and scampered the final few yards for his third touchdown rushing this season.
"It's a good feeling to score in front of where I went to high school and everything," said Jack, who was booed each time he carried the ball in the first half. "It was weird though because I thought I stepped out of bounds, but I was in."
Mora downplayed his return to Washington all week, saying it was strictly a business trip coming up to Seattle to face the school where he played and was long believed to be an eventual employer for Mora.
Mora's team followed his lead and while they still need help down the line, the Bruins remained in contention for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.
"I was excited about the way the UCLA Bruins played. Other than that it was just a game," Mora said. "I'm happy my mom was here, my brothers. Other than that I could care less. I'm happy we're 8-2. I'm happy for my players. Other than that it doesn't matter to me."
Kai'imi Fairbairn made field goals of 30 and 37 yards and his 46-yarder with 8:30 left gave the Bruins a 44-27 lead. Paul Perkins added 98 yards rushing and UCLA's 31 first-half points were a season high.
Thompson, a fellow linebacker turned running back, played mostly on offense for Washington (6-4, 2-4) with a handful of defensive snaps, including the tackle on Jack's first carry of the game. Thompson finished with 100 yards rushing on 16 carries, a week after rushing for 174 yards against Colorado. Washington quarterback Cyler Miles was 14 of 24 for 155 yards and one interception as most of the highlights belonged to the Bruins.
The Huskies got a 100-yard kickoff return from John Ross in the third quarter and Washington pulled to 41-27 early in the fourth quarter on Dwayne Washington's 12-yard TD run.
"We've got to play the whole game with that fire and play the whole game with that juice like we do when we're down," Miles said.
Hundley and UCLA's pass game was more than willing to expose Washington's biggest flaw: it's young and inexperienced secondary. The Huskies started three true freshmen in the defensive backfield following the dismissal of junior cornerback and NFL prospect Marcus Peters from the program earlier this week. That inexperience was evident on Hundley's 57-yard TD pass to Walker. Baker and Hale — replacing Peters — got confused on the coverage assignment and Walker was left uncovered to give UCLA a 14-0 lead. Hundley added a 15-yard TD pass to Mossi Johnson in the second half.
Not helping the young secondary was the lack of a pass rush after Hau'oli Kikaha, the national leader in sacks, left in the first quarter with a shoulder stinger. Kikaha sacked Hundley on UCLA's first possession but was a spectator the rest of the night.
"With their (Peters) going out we saw inexperience," UCLA wide receiver Thomas Duarte said. "We saw we could take advantage of their secondary and then we could play faster than them ... and I believe it showed tonight."