PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Dante Moore continues to look like UCLA's starting quarterback, even though his coach doesn't want to name one.
The freshman passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns along with directing four scoring drives in the 24th ranked Bruins 59-7 rout of North Carolina Central Saturday.
Moore has started the last two games, but when coach Chip Kelly was asked if it was safe to say Moore had earned the top spot on the depth chart, Kelly said “there's nothing safe to say.”
Moore was one of five UCLA quarterbacks that played, with four directing scoring drives. The Bruins had 614 yards of total offense — including 404 rushing — as they improved to 3-0 for the second straight season going into next week's Pac-12 opener at No. 12 Utah.
Collin Schlee ran for a pair of scores and led three TD drives. Ethan Garbers and Chase Griffin had one touchdown series apiece while Justyn Martin also saw action.
“I thought Dante did a really good job again,” Kelly said. “He’s extremely poised. He does a great job throwing the ball and giving guys catchable balls when there’s territory there. I think he fits the ball in really well."
The Bruins, who played an HBCU school for the second straight season, reached the end zone on their first two offensive plays and had a 14-0 lead 74 seconds into the game. They put up 35 points in the first 15 minutes, a school record for most points in a quarter.
UCLA scored on its first seven possessions and had a 52-0 halftime advantage. Seven of the eight touchdown drives on Saturday were under 2:40. Five took three plays or less.
“Obviously, that first quarter was a little interesting. I think we had two one-play drives and one two-play drive. It got moving very quickly," Kelly said.
North Carolina Central (2-1) got into Bruins territory only three times in 13 drives, but averted a shutout on Chris Mosley’s 1-yard run with 6:08 remaining.
“I thought we played awful in the first half. We played a little bit better in the third quarter, and then we played a little bit better in the fourth quarter,” coach Trei Oliver said. "We got beat up pretty bad, you know, but the guys did not quit so that was a plus.”
After UCLA got the opening kickoff, Moore connected with Kam Brown for a 67-yard touchdown on the first play. Brown caught the pass at the North Carolina Central 42-yard line and was untouched the rest of the way for the first of three Bruins' touchdowns in the first half over 55 yards.
It was also the quickest UCLA TD since since 2012, when Eric Kendricks returned a fumble for a score against Houston.
Moore said he had a dream about the quick-strike play Friday night and was glad they were able to convert.
“It felt really good coming in with the first play and having the protection,” said Moore, who completed 8 of 12 passes.
UCLA got the ball back three plays later when Laiatu Latu picked off Davius Richard's pass and returned it to the NCC 1. Running back Carson Steele scored up the middle to quickly go up by two scores.
Moore also had a 30-yard TD throw to J.Michael Sturdivant midway through the first quarter. The freshman has thrown seven touchdowns in his first three games, with three going for at least 62 yards.
UCLA's other big play touchdowns came on Schlee's 57-yard run up the left sideline to make it 28-0 in the first quarter and T.J. Harden's 62-yard score during the second quarter, where he broke a pair of tackles, to extend the lead to 45-0.
North Carolina Central's Richard played five series before aggravating a left ankle injury during the second quarter. The senior was 5 of 13 for 28 yards.
Walker Harris was 12 of 18 for 114 yards. Latrell Collier had 48 yards on 14 carries.
UCLA had eight running backs with at least one carry. Anthony Adkins led the way with 96 yards on 12 carries, including a third quarter touchdown. Steele added 83 yards and Harden 66.
Colson Yankoff also had a TD to go with his 61 yards.
“We pride ourselves on running hard, playing physical and playing aggressive every week, week in and week out," said Adkins after the Bruins averaged 10.4 yards on 39 rushing attempts. "Doing our jobs, we take the load off the quarterback a little bit, and we pride ourselves on that.”
North Carolina Central: The Eagles dropped to 0-13 when facing a Football Bowl Subdivision team. It is the third time they have lost by at least 50 points when facing an FBS program.
UCLA: The victory put Kelly over .500 during his tenure in Westwood. He is 30-29 in his sixth season.
North Carolina Central: Face Mississippi Valley State next Saturday in the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis.
UCLA: Opens Pac-12 play at No. 12 Utah next Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll