Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Playing with heavy hearts following the tragic death of a teammate, the 16th-ranked and emotionally-charged UCLA Bruins overcame a significant deficit to post a 41-21 road win over No. 23 Nebraska.
The Bruins scored 38 unanswered points, including 28 during a dominant third quarter that saw them produce touchdowns on all four of their possessions.
Quarterback Brett Hundley had three TD passes in the third and finished with 294 yards on 16-of-24 passing.
Jordon James totaled 105 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown for the Bruins (2-0).
UCLA receiver Nick Pasquale died Sunday after he was hit by a car in his hometown of San Clemente, Calif.
"One of our themes this year that we need to get better at is having the mental toughness where we can come into a tough environment and we can handle some adversity and still fight back and get back into the game," said Bruins head coach Jim Mora. "Today, we did that. It is not good enough to do that once, that has to become our identity, that's gotta become the team that we become. We are working hard toward it.
"I am really proud of those kids, you can't believe how tough it was on them, you just can't, unless you were at practice, in those meeting rooms, in that locker room, you just can't (know). He (Nick Pasquale) had such an impact on our team -- for a little guy that only played one snap here at UCLA, those guys loved him and respected the heck out of him."
Taylor Martinez threw three first-half touchdown passes, but the Cornhuskers (2-1) were shut out after building a 21-3 lead. Martinez completed 21-of-35 passes for 203 yards.
Ameer Abdullah ran the ball 23 times for 98 yards for Nebraska, which had its home winning streak snapped at 10 games.
A 3-yard TD run by James finished off a 10-play drive and closed the gap to 21-17. The Bruins struck again on their next offensive sequence, with a streaking Shaquelle Evans hauling in a pass in stride from Hundley for the go- ahead 28-yard score.
Hundley threw TD passes to Phillip Ruhl and Nate Iese to put UCLA up 38-21.
Ka'imi Fairbairn added a 24-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we were going to keep scoring on them," Martinez said. "Obviously, it didn't happen. The game turned around on us, and there wasn't much we could do about it. We just have to go on to the next game."
Nebraska capitalized on an early Hundley interception to open the scoring. Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste picked off the third-down pass and his returned covered 34 yards, placing the ball at the UCLA 28. The turnover led to Martinez hitting Quincy Enunwa for an 11-yard touchdown.
After Fairbairn put the Bruins on the board with a 44-yard field goal, Martinez again hooked up with Enunwa in the end zone to cap a 17-play, 92-yard march with 31 seconds to play in the first quarter.
A defensive pass interference penalty on third down sustained the drive that featured another third-down conversion as well as a 4-yard run by Abdullah on 4th-and-1 from the UCLA 21.
The Cornhuskers took advantage of another UCLA mistake to increase their lead to 21-3. Bruins punter Sean Covington was tackled at his own 26-yard line after dropping the snap, and Martinez quickly connected with a leaping Kenny Bell for a scoring strike.
A scramble on third down by the escape artist Hundley, who twice avoided being wrapped up for a sack, and his subsequent 32-yard completion to Devin Fuller set up Paul Perkins' 10-yard TD run up the middle with just under a minute remaining in the second quarter.
The Bruins' defense, coupled with a pair of timeouts, helped get the ball back to the offense prior to the end of the first half. Fairbairn, who earlier in the second quarter had a 46-yard field goal initially ruled good and nullified by video review, missed a 55-yarder on the final play before the break.
The Cornhuskers hosted a ranked non-conference opponent for the first time since No. 1 USC visited Lincoln in 2007 ... Nebraska had won 14 straight home games against non-conference foes ... UCLA evened the all-time series at 6-6.
09/14 17:23:48 ET