UCLA is at home in the Rose Bowl for the 2022 season opener on Saturday, Sept. 3, when the Bruins face Bowling Green State, kicking off at 11:30 a.m.
Bruins football season tickets went on sale Thursday. The season kicks off with three straight non-conference home contests.
It will be ‘game time’ for Chip Kelly’s squad for the first time in more than eight months.
Kelly signed into a new four-year contract with UCLA in January. Analysts say UCLA may have considered the team’s consistent improvement under Kelly and decided he must continue, despite an 18-25 record in his first four seasons.
The Bruins will need nine victories for Kelly to hang onto that momentum.
In March, at the start of UCLA’s spring practice season, Kelly in an interview with the LA Times said nothing much has changed since he first signed up with the Bruins.
“I came here to give every effort I can to be a part of this great school and in the great community,” he said. “Just excited to be here.”
And even when the buzz today in football is mostly about UCLA moving up to the Big Ten in 2024, Kelly isn’t distracted.
“We got to keep the main thing the main thing,” he said at the PAC-12 Football Media Day last week. “The young kids that we have right now that are playing football are awesome. We should be talking about the season that all of them are going to have here in 2022 and not talking about expansion at this point in time.”
After opening the 2022 season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3, which comes about after Michigan backed out of playing UCLA this fall, the Bruins will face Alabama State on Sept. 10 and South Alabama on Sept. 17, marking the first time since 1992 they won’t be facing a Power Five conference team in non-conference matches.
In 1992, they played Cal State Fullerton, Brigham Young and San Diego State.
When the 2022 season begins, UCLA is bringing out a retooled roster after losing its top three receivers and a pair of defensive leaders, among other starters.
Kelly told the Daily Bruin that six players have been drafted off of last year’s team, the most ever in the conference.
“We had another six players sign free agent contracts. So we have to replace 12 players that are now on NFL rosters,” he said.
The 2022 list brings back an experienced squad, including quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who will return to lead UCLA’s offense for a fifth season. Kelly said Thompson-Robinson’s experience will not only bolster the Bruins, but also help the quarterback develop into a more complete NFL prospect, according to reporting from the Daily Bruin.
Among underclassmen, rising sophomore defensive back Devin Kirkwood is set to slot into the top cornerback spot for the team.
Of Kirkwood, rising redshirt senior offensive lineman Jon Gaines II said he takes pride in seeing younger players improve.
UCLA is also making numerous additions to the 2022 squad via the transfer portal, among them graduate transfer wide receiver Jake Bobo, who recently was named to the 2022 Biletnikoff Award watch list. Kelly looks at Bobo as his weapon on the perimeter.
With a new-look roster in tow, the Bruins will kick off their season Sept. 3 at the Rose Bowl against Bowling Green. More than eight months after his squad last played a football game, Kelly said he is simply ready to get back to the gridiron.
Tickets for the 200 UCLA season are now on sale online. Visit www.ticketmaster.com/ucla-bruins-football-tickets/artist/826635 to purchase your tickets.
For stadium rules at the Rose Bowl and other information, visit www.rosebowlstadium.com/plan-your-visit/stadium-rules.