Flashback to October 25 of this season when following a deflating loss against Arizona, we put up the following laying out how Rick Neuheisel had to deliver 6 wins this season:
All I can say at this point, I am going to wait and see whether the coaches can deliver 6 wins. I still think we have a shot of getting to 6 wins by taking care of business against Washington and Arizona State at home, and then executing our game play against (what I think will be an inspired Cougar bunch) Washington State in Pullman. If Rick Neuheisel wants to make a tangible case that UCLA football is headed towards right direction under his leadership, he needs to get us those three wins in 2009 and then build on it with at least 7 wins (and a victory over Southern Cal) in 2010. He has to get it done.
Well heading into that special game of the regular season (no reason to calling that game against the Trojies big, we will just call it special), it looks like Rick Neuheisel has gotten it done. His team delivered that 6th win (becoming bowl eligble), by slugging out Arizona State Sun Devils by a score of 23-13. Here is the box score. Well here is our official thank you coach for getting that done.
In his second season in Westwood, Neuheisel has now established tangible signs of improvement by winning 2 more games, and showing progress in number of different aspects of the team (not including his fantastic recruit effort to date). In other words Neuehisel now has "plus 2 factor" to pitch to more recruits and fire up the alumni/student base in Bruin Naiton. Not only that. During the three game win streak this November, Rick Neuheisel's program proved to rest of the world, despite the constant negativity and hit jobs from the traditional media, his players and coaches never gave up on each other.
Bruins kept fighting, scratching and clawing away, showing the relentless optimism and tenacity of their head coach in the face of skepticism from most of outside world not bleeding Bruin blue and gold. That is something everyone in this community and the greater Bruin family should be proud of towards the waning weeks of Neheisel's second season in Westwood. More on the game and thoughts on "Beat $C*" game week after the jump.
So the Bruins get it done on senior day riding the efforts of ATV, Akeem Ayers, Chane Moline, Reggie Carter and Brian Price. 17 of our 23 points came courtesy of explosive efforts of our inspired defense. Here is our box score. As mentioned in the second half thread, it was ATV setting the tone with his pick 6 and fumble recovery. Then it was Akeem Ayers and Brian Price teaming up to blow up the Sun Devil offense. Price and Ayers were nothing short of spectacular. What Price did was even more special made by the fact that it was probably his last game at the Rose Bowl.
On the offensive side, Bruins were able to move the ball against Arizona State's vaunted defense. However, just when it looked like they were getting in rhythm they kept coming just a little short because of self inflicted mistakes and penalties (as a team today we were penalized a whooping 11 times for 100 yards). Still we got a decent effort from Kevin Prince who did manage the game well, by picking up some tough and gutty yards on the ground. And it was Chane - the Train - Moline, who helped us eat the clocking by grinding out 84 yards in 25 carries. Not bad for his last game in the Rose Bowl.
Bruins now of course get ready for Petey's bunch who has had a week to lick their wounds after getting embarrassed and humiliated by the Trees a the Mosoleum. There is no doubt Chetey is going to have his boys fired up as he knows that if he somehow chokes against UCLA as the underdogs, his illegal (allegedly) empire officially crumble in the City of Angels.
This week is going to be fun getting ready to play the most scandalous and (allegedly) corrupt program in college athletics (and an underachieving bunch in recent seasons). There is no doubt the Bruins will have a great week practice building on the positive vibes from today and a 3-0 record in November. We still have a lot to work on. We have to clean up our mistakes on offense. We still can be more polished with our special teams and we will continue to come up with ways of being creative on defense (as we have seen some hints of it in last couple of weeks).
Of course will we have lot more on this in game as we get ready for an amazing game week. It is going to be fun. It is going to be emotional and it is going to blow up this place with anticipation. With that let's get the post game senior day victory party started. If you have quick thoughts, takes fire them up here. If you have detailed observations and reflections you want to share, please put them in fanposts. I will leave with this quick thought... BEAT $C*.