UCLA is Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – The upstart UCLA Bruins pounded LSU on the ground with 210 rushing yards that set up quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to throw for 260 more with three touchdowns in a decisive 38-27 win in the Rose Bowl in the first meeting between the tradition-laden programs. For the performance that improved them to 2-0 on the season, the Bruins have earned the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the extended weekend of Sept. 4, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

The Bruins got a standout performance from their offensive line as running back Zach Charbonnet followed up a three-touchdown game against Hawaii with 117 yards and a touchdown against LSU on just 11 carries. Brittain Brown added 96 yards and another touchdown as UCLA out-rushed LSU, 210-49; the Tigers gained just three rushing yards in the first half. Tight end Greg Dulcich was the top target for Thompson-Robinson with three catches for 117 yards that included a 75-yard touchdown.

The 260 passing yards moved Thompson-Robinson past Troy Aikman and Tommy Maddox into seventh place on UCLA's career passing yards list.

"I'm proud of this team," Thompson-Robinson said after the game. "We knew we could do it all along. We didn't listen to the noise, blocked all that out and played for each other tonight."

This is the 20th season the FWAA will select a national team of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs. For UCLA, this marks the fourth time the program has earned this distinction and the first time since the 2017 season.

UCLA is idle this week before hosting Fresno State (1-0) on Sept. 18.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 4 are:

  • Georgia (1-0): The Bulldogs shuttered Clemson's offense with seven sacks – one short of the school record – and being the better defense was enough in a 10-3 win in Charlotte, N.C., that included a defensive touchdown as the winning score. Georgia held Clemson to 90 yards in the first half and scoreless at halftime for the first time in 143 games. The Tigers only gained two rushing yards and 180 total in the game. Christopher Smith's 74-yard interception return in the second quarter was the difference.
  • Montana (1-0): The Grizzlies earned just the sixth FCS win over a ranked FBS opponent since 1983 with a 13-7 win at No. 20 Washington. It was Montana's first win over Washington in more than a century – the last coming in 1920 – and its first over a Pac-12 opponent since 1996. Montana held the Huskies to 65 rushing yards and picked off three passes to hold them scoreless after yielding a touchdown on UW's opening drive.
  • NIU (1-0): Tyrice Richie made a diving catch on a two-point conversion attempt with 38 seconds to play that gave NIU a 22-21 win at Georgia Tech. The catch came at the end of a nine-play, 80-yard drive culminating in Rocky Lombard's three-yard touchdown toss to Clint Ratkovich to bring NIU to within 21-20. Harrison Waylee ran for a career-high 144 yards on 27 carries as the Huskies overcame an early 14-0 deficit.
  • UTSA (1-0): The Roadrunners improved to 9-2 all-time in season openers with perhaps the biggest road win in the program's young history. UTSA led throughout in a 37-30 win at Illinois for its second win over a Power 5 program as Frank Harris passed for 280 yards and Zakhari Franklin had a career-best 155 receiving yards. UTSA rang up 497 total yards with a balanced attack as All-America running back Sincere McCormick gained his fourth straight 100-yard game with 117 yards on 31 carries.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Cheez-It Bowl
The Cheez-It Bowl takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 5:15 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla. The postseason contest is hosted by Florida Citrus Sports, a Central Florida-based nonprofit, and annually features top teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 Conferences. Cheez-It®, the best-selling cracker brand in the United States, signed on as the game's title sponsor in 2020 as part of its season-long support of college football. Last bowl season, No. 21 Oklahoma State beat No. 18 Miami 37-34 in front of an audience of Cheez-It "Wheel Live Fans." This year's Cheez-It Bowl will be the 32nd edition of the game and its 21st in Orlando.

2021 Cheez-It Bowl National Teams of the Week

Related links:

2021 FWAA All-America Committee

Andrea AdelsonESPN.comACC
Evan BarnesMemphis Commercial AppealAmerican Athletic Conference
Kirk BohlsAustin American-StatesmanChairman
Travis BrownBryan-College Station EagleSEC
Ken CappsTexasFootball.comConference USA
Brett CianciaPick Six PreviewsNational
Angelique ChengelisDetroit NewsBig Ten Conference
Scott DochtermanThe AthleticBig Ten Conference
Bryan FischerAthlon SportsPac-12 Conference
John HooverSI.comBig 12 Conference
Adam HunsuckerMonroe News-StarSun Belt Conference
Shehan JeyarajahCBS SportsBig 12 Conference
Nate MinkSyracuse Post-StandardACC
Tony SiracusaLast Word on College FootballPac-12 Conference
Phil SteelePhil Steele PublicationsNational, Independents
David UbbenThe AthleticSEC
Chris VanniniThe AthleticMountain West Conference
John WagnerToledo Blade retiredMid-American Conference