SEATTLE – Slowing down UCLA's Brett Hundley was going to be a difficult task for Washington even with dismissed cornerback Marcus Peters and star pass rusher Hau'oli Kikaha in the lineup.
But after Peters was kicked off the team Thursday and Kikaha was forced out of the game in the first quarter because of a shoulder stinger, Washington didn't have an answer for the Bruins' potent offensive.
Brett Hundley threw for two touchdowns to become UCLA's career leader, ran for two more scores and Myles Jack added a highlight-reel 28-yard touchdown run in No. 18 UCLA's 44-30 win over Washington on Saturday night.
"Hundley is a heck of a quarterback and when he can hang in there and not feel pressured, things change," Washington coach Chris Petersen said. "That coupled with being young back there (in the secondary), that's not a good combination for us at all. We definitely felt it."
Washington (6-4, 2-4 Pac-12) started three freshmen and a sophomore in their suddenly depleted secondary. Kikaha, the national leader in sacks with 16 1/2, then left the game on the first possession of the game after sacking Hundley to force a punt. It was the 14th consecutive game with a sack for Kikaha before exiting.
Hundley evaded the tackle of linebacker Keishawn Bierria and scored on a 4-yard run to give UCLA (8-2, 5-2, No. 18 CFP) the early lead. After a Washington three-and-out, Hundley capitalized on a blown coverage by the Huskies that left Kenneth Walker III running clear on a 57-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
"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."
It was the second straight game Washington sputtered out of the gate. Unlike last week in Colorado when they fell behind 10-0 to the Buffaloes, the Huskies couldn't rally against UCLA.
"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," quarterback Cyler Miles said.
"For some reason (we didn't) when we first came out. That's as much on me as anybody else. We've got to come out fast with our hair on first just like we're playing when we're down. We definitely need to get that going."
While linebacker turned running back Shaq Thompson ran for 100 yards on 16 carries for the Huskies, the rest of Washington's offense had no answers.
Miles completed 14 of 24 passes for just 155 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times. Miles did rush for 62 yards on 17 attempts as he frequently tucked the ball and ran because there were no open receivers.
"It's painful. There's no doubt about it," Petersen said about UW's passing game. "It's not any one guy, it's really not. It's got to start with us as coaches and then everybody is involved but it's hard. We can run the ball fairly effectively but we've got to be able to throw the ball more effectively to give us some balance and take some pressure off that run game."
Hundley was 29 of 36 for 302 yards, his fourth 300-yard passing game this season. Without Kikaha in the lineup, the Huskies had little pass rush.
"A lot of it was just the upperclassmen trying to kind of do his job at the same time (as their own), which is obviously the wrong thing. The wrong mindset," Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton said. "I mean you saw how the game went. Hau'oli is a big factor in the game and it's pretty tough to do things without him."
Paul Perkins led the way with 98 yards rushing for UCLA and Myles Jack added a highlight-reel 28-yard touchdown run for the Bruins. Jack 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."
Kai'imi Fairbairn made 30 and 37 yards and his 46-yarder with 8:30 left gave the Bruins a 44-27 lead.
The Huskies got a 100-yard kickoff return from John Ross in the third quarter and Washington pulled within 41-27 early in the fourth quarter on Dwayne Washington's 12-yard TD run. Cameron Van Winkle booted field goals of 20, 47 and 38 yards for the Huskies.
"It's just tough to come back from such a lead," Shelton said. "It's tough trying to keep everybody together."