CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Brett Hundley was all smiles, mostly because of his defense.
Seventh-ranked UCLA scored three defensive touchdowns in the second quarter Saturday and Hundley led a critical second-half scoring drive as the Bruins escaped Virginia 28-20 in the opener for both teams.
"Sometimes a game like this might be good to get our team understanding that every game we have to come with it," the quarterback said. "We have to understand what we train for and we have to do it. … We have a lot of stuff to work on."
Hundley, widely regarded as one of the nation's top quarterbacks, was harassed all day by Virginia's pressure defense, which sacked him five times, and made the biggest play of the day for UCLA with his feet. It came on a 6-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter when safety Quin Blanding met him around the 3 yard line, and Hundley overpowered him.
"Great players made plays when they need to be made," Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr. said.
That he only had to make one was thanks to the defense, which registered three scores for the first time since 1986.
"When you stop the run like we did and put the ball in the end zone three times, that's a pretty special day," Mora said.
The Cavaliers had a first down at the Bruins 19 late in the game, but three running plays netted just 2 yards, and linebacker Myles Jack disrupted Matt Johns' fourth-and-8 pass to Doni Dowling.
The third-down run was Johns' fault, he said. "I read the wrong line of my wristband," he said.
That Johns was even in the game was a surprise, but he came on to replace Greyson Lambert late in the first half, after the Bruins' third defensive touchdown gave them a 21-3 lead. Johns then led a touchdown drive and played the entire second half, creating questions about what had seemed to be a settled quarterback situation for Virginia.
Throughout the preseason, the development of Lambert as a player and a leader was touted by players and coaches as a great reason to be optimistic about the season. Then Johns outplayed him.
"Most of all, it's about players that can perform, and he rose to the occasion given his opportunity," Virginia coach Mike London said of Johns, a redshirt sophomore. "Like any other position, you have to perform."
NO. 23 UNC 56, LIBERTY 29: Marquise Williams accounted for four touchdowns and Jeff Schoettmer returned an interception for a score during the host Tar Heels' game-turning flurry.
Schoettmer's 19-yard return came during a run of four touchdowns in less than four minutes, which jolted North Carolina out of a sluggish and mistake-prone performance.
Liberty led 22-21 with about six minutes left in the third quarter before Williams found Mack Hollins for a 33-yard score. Williams scored on a 15-yard keeper and backup Mitch Trubisky followed with his first career TD pass for a 49-22 lead with 2:06 left in the quarter.
PITT 62, DELAWARE 0: James Conner rushed for 153 yards and four first-half touchdowns for the host Panthers, who opened the season with a victory for the first time under third-year coach Paul Chryst. Pitt pushed the overmatched Blue Hens around, outgaining Delaware 501-64 to post the program's first shutout in nine years. "We were all relaxed," Panthers sophomore quarterback Chad Voytik said. "Once we got the ball rolling, we were just playing a game."
DUKE 52, ELON 13: Anthony Boone matched a career high with four TD throws for the host Blue Devils. Issac Blakeney and Jamison Crowder caught two scores each. "We expect to win every game on our schedule," Boone said. "And we practice to win and we go out there to win — we don't go out there just to play to compete anymore. We play for keeps, and that's something that's a different mentality around here."
GA. TECH 38, WOFFORD 19: Justin Thomas had 353 yards of total offense and DeAndre Smelter caught two third-quarter touchdowns for the host Yellow Jackets. Making his first career start, Thomas went 11-of-15 for 282 yards and completed his last eight passes for 250 yards to help Georgia Tech hold off the pesky Division I-AA Terriers.
N.C. STATE 24, GA. SOUTHERN 23: Jacoby Brissett threw for 291 yards and three second-half touchdowns to lift the host Wolfpack. Brissett hit Matt Dayes on a 35-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline for the go-ahead score with 1:37 left. Brissett, a transfer from Florida who sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules, shook off a slow start to throw touchdown passes on North Carolina State's final two drives.
BC 30, UMASS 7: Tyler Murphy, a graduate transfer who played nine games for Florida last season, ran for 118 yards and a touchdown and threw for a TD for the Eagles. The game was played at the Foxborough, Mass., home of the Patriots, where the Minutemen will play half of their home schedule this season.
VA. TECH 34, WILLIAM & MARY 9: Michael Brewer threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns for the host Hokies. Brewer, a transfer from Texas Tech, completed 23 of 30 passes, including touchdown passes of 13 yards to Isaiah Ford and 8 yards to Bucky Hodges. Virginia Tech pulled away by scoring on three straight drives and four of five spanning the first and second halves. Brewer's pass to Hodges and Joey Slye's 20-yard field goal gave the Hokies a 17-6 lead at halftime.
LATE FRIDAY: Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt was ejected for punching Villanova linebacker Dillon Lucas after a 6-yard gain late in the first half of the Orange's 27-26 double-overtime win. "The NCAA is getting tough. They want integrity in the game," said Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who indicated there would be no further discipline for Hunt.