PASADENA, Calif. — Friday night and Saturday morning, Oklahoma fans spilled into the brunch houses and bars on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, indicating the San Gabriel Mountains might be filled with Sooners.
There was no maybe about it by the time OU and UCLA kicked off. At least half of the announced 52,578 attendance Saturday were rooting for the visitors.
There are six OU alumni clubs in California, according to the university website, including one in nearby Los Angeles that holds watch parties in Santa Monica.
Fans showed up in droves and packed the Rose Bowl’s south end zone, creating hostility for the Bruins’ offense when it drove to that end — though the Bruins’ first score came on that side.
Some were converted OU fans. Junior tight end Grant Calcaterra’s neighbors made the hour-and-a-half drive from Rancho Santa Margarita to watch him. Calcaterra’s dad rented a bus and brought 50 people with him to watch.
One of them was 16-year-old Jack Fisher, whose family moved next door to the Calcaterras about six years ago. Fisher wore a Calcaterra jersey with his No. 80 on it.
“I really like his hard work ethic and how much he strives to be great,” Fisher said. “It’s pretty crazy seeing him on live TV when you know him. He’s a great football player but he’s an even better person.”
There was plenty for OU fans to be happy about. UCLA supporters, on the other hand, weren’t thrilled. There were scattered boos when Chip Kelly called for a run up the middle on third-and-23 in the first half, with the Sooners winning big.
With temperatures soaring to 96 degrees, nobody with tickets sat in the north end zone bleachers, leaving a gaping hole of empty seats.
• Fists up: OU grabbed its fourth takeaway this season in the first half, with defensive back Tre Brown jumping in front of a pass intended for UCLA tight end Mike Martinez.
It was Brown’s first career interception. All four of OU’s takeaways this season have come via its secondary.
“It's good to see them active,” defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said earlier this week.
• Run, pass, throw: Brown’s interception set up a short drive that gave OU a 34-7 lead before halftime.
The score came off a pitch to CeeDee Lamb, who with a 1-yard TD run has now caught, thrown and run for a touchdown in the Rose Bowl.
Lamb caught a 39-yard score in the first half Saturday. In 2017, he threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Baker Mayfield in the Rose Bowl game.
According to OU, Lamb became the first Sooner since Brandon Daniels (1996-99) to score on a run, throw and catch in his career.
• More Davis: Freshman cornerback Jaden Davis came across people’s radars with his interception against South Dakota. Coaches vowed Davis would see the field more.
“When the ball is thrown there is an excitement level on his part in terms of attacking it — you see that consistently from him,” Grinch said this week. “He's got a good skillset from a speed standpoint and comes from a great program at St. Thomas Aquinas [Florida]. Jaden is only scratching the surface but his rep count will continue to go up."
Davis played a lot in the first half Saturday, leading OU with three tackles by halftime.
• This, that: Jalen Hurts’ 103 rushing yards in the first quarter were the most by a Big 12 player in an opening period since Texas’ Vince Young (2005) according to ESPN Stats and Info. … CeeDee Lamb’s 21st career TD tied him for seventh most in OU history. … OU has held all three opponents this season scoreless in the opening quarter.