So the fourth quarter mojo thread worked. lol After an ugly third quarter during which Kansas State had closed the gap witin 4, Bruins finally put away Kansas State Wildcats with a smothering, swarming defense, and a clutch bomb from Kevin Craft to Terrence Austin. UCLA beats KSU by a score of 23-9. Here is the boxscore.
I had been writing all week about how UCLA is not the kind of team who could take any opponent lightly. Everyone was feeling good after a euphoric win over Tennessee (which is looking better this Saturday after the Volunteers tough battle against Florida). However, as UCLA always seem to do in recent years, it followed its big victory by looking slow, unfocused, and frankly little lethargic early on against an underdog Kansas State. Despite a slow slart on defense, Bruins went up by a score of 13-3 at the half, thanks to great running early on by Jonathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman.
However, Bruins had their rough and scary moments early in the second half when the offense stalled and the defense looked completely confused against Kansas State's spread option offense barely hanging on to a lead by 4 points. Yet, despite all the problems, the Bruins dug down, made some big plays on offense, and then woke up from their defensive slumber to throttle the Wildcats in fourth quarter for a 23-9 game. Bruins are 3-0 for the first time since 2005. More on how we got there after the jump.
Kevin Craft was well Kevin Craft. At times he looked much more confident and in rhythm than the Craft of last season. Then in a nightmarish third quarter all the bad memories rushed back, when he hurried his throws, and threw pass after passes that had the entire BN doing its collective "WTF"s (which became a regular occurrence last season). But as I said Craft like rest of his team, settled down a bit, and made big plays down the stretch to get us a win.
Jonathan Franklin had a big night with his first 100 yard rushing game as a Bruin (115 yards in 26 carries). Nelson Rosario led the team with 3 receptions for 45 yards, including perhaps one of the most spectacular one handed grabs this college football season, and Austin had that big TD reception that helped to seal the game. Kai was money as usual with 3 clutch FGs.
As mentioned above, this game wasn't pretty. We made tons of mistakes on both sides of the ball that needs to be cleaned up. Our defense needs to stop reading the hype about how great they are and really sit down and figure out how they can play the entire game like they seem to turn it on in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, I really hope our coaches prepare Richard Brehaut as much as they can for our next game, so he is ready to step in if Craft is sputtering like he was today in the third quarter. We have lot of room left for improvement and the tense moments in tonight's game should be a clear reminder how we are nowhere close to where we eventually want to get to as a program.
Still after all is said and done UCLA is 3-0 and U$C* is 2-1. That's not a bad way to close out the weekend in LA.
With that I will throw it to all of you for post game threading. Fire away with your takes, post game reflections and as always if you have detailed thoughts, throw them up in FanPosts.
Let's get another Bruin victory party started.