UCLA returns to Utah, a house of horrors for them as they lose their previous two games in the state in an ugly fashion. Would it happen again? Of course! This is UCLA football, a team that had a chance to control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South as they prepared themselves to possibly be sacrificed to Oregon or Stanford in the Pac-12 title game, there's no way they'd come out listless, unfocused, and outclassed.
Then the game started.
The first half was a parade of flags for UCLA. No, not a cool parade of flags with flags from all over the world, but penalty flags flying as UCLA is unable to do anything but shoot themselves in the foot with penalty after penalty. In the first half we had 10 penalties (although only 9 were recorded, as one was declined.) The penalties were probably the highlight of the game, as it illustrated so much about our team - unprepared, undisciplined, think of an "un" and it probably applies.
- First series: third and short, false start, moves us to third and six, and the dumb mistake hurts us.
- Jeff Locke punts the ball, Utah waves for a fair catch a fraction before Jonathan Franklin arrives, we get hit with an interference penalty, fifteen yards. Dumb.
- Utah has 3rd and 8 and Sheldon Price interferes. 15 yards. We get lucky when Utah doesn't convert on a later 4th down.
- False start on our ensuing drive. On the same drive, Jeff Baca picks up a late hit penalty (#5) and on the ensuing punt, we have a false start (#6!!) For once, punting is winning though, as Utah fumbles, we recover (Isaiah Bowens makes up for the false start he committed seconds earlier) and Tyler Gonzalez boots in a 30 yard field goal.
- Next UCLA drive: False start, Mike Harris. Kevin Prince can't run. Kevin Prince gets sacked. Penalty AGAIN on Kai Maiava but the penalty is declined, so penalty #8 is temporarily avoided.
- Wade Yandall flinches after we are pinned at the 2, so we move back one yard to the 1. (#9!) False start again by Mike Harris (#10) and then we wind up with the dumbest penalty ever, 12 players in the huddle for penalty #10.
Then the John White IV show begins, as he runs all over the UCLA defense which didn't realize that in order to maybe consider winning, we should stop the running back. The stat was when he rushes for over 100 yards, Utah wins. Maybe we should stop him. Oh simple plans...
Would you like to know what's a simple plan? Clock management. You know what's horrible? UCLA's clock management at the end of quarters, as we move down the field without any sense of urgency or even a thought that the game is played against a clock. Prince takes an unfortunate sack which knocks us beyond Gonzalez's longest FG yet. It wasn't far enough that we can't try to kick a FG though, since we are KICKER U, but 47 yards is outside of Tyler Gonzalez's range, and he misses it wide right.
The first half flat out sucked. It feels like we had more penalty yardage than yards on offense (it was close, but we barely had a few more yards on offense) and it was an absolutely lost half. Kevin Prince was getting rushed non stop, sacked, and the defense was not responding to keep the team in the game. The score may have been 7-3 at halftime, but it might as well have been 42-7.
In the second half, it begins with Flipper Anderson's son SO WIDE OPEN that twenty dolphins named Flipper could have swam through the stadium and still not get hit by a UCLA defender. Utah touchdown, Hays to John White. Ho hum.
The second half isn't really worth recapping, as Utah began to run away with the game, literally, as John White scored again and again, and we are unable to stop him... or tackle him. On offense, we would have a couple of throws that would look nice (see, it's not illegal to throw over the middle, or to Fauria) but then Kevin Prince would make a horrible decision when throwing the ball, throwing into coverage or into situations that wouldn't come out well. All his passes seem to float- there is absolutely no zip on his ball.
Oh we scored on a field goal by Tyler Gonzalez. That was our last gasp, but then Prince is picked and it's returned for a touchdown, and you can hear the televisions in the Bruin Nation flipping over to the Stanford-Oregon game.
Oh and we only picked up one more penalty in the second half. IMPROVEMENT!
Oh yes, the eye test:
1) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play?
2) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard?
3) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times?
4) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game?
5) Do our players execute?
6) Do we have leaders on the field?
1. Is our defense prepared?
We had one job - stop John White. Guess who we didn't stop? John White. 167 yards. Two touchdowns rushing. One touchdown receiving. COME ON.
2. Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard?
In the snow storm, we were only going to do one thing: RUN. So what did we do all night long? Run. A four year old could have figured that out.
3. Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times?
The penalties say otherwise. Mike Harris is generally a very solid player, and his FOUR false start penalties were extremely unsettling.
4. Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game?
I didn't watch the second half, and I'm guessing since Utah scored willy-nilly, that's a no, Scott. Our players play - there's no denying that. I know they pour their heart and souls into the game, every game. I think Kevin Prince might have left a few body parts on the field tonight after being smacked around. But they are not given the plays and tools they need to win - how about playing some of those younger, highly touted, explosive younger players, Rick? - so how can we possibly win?
5. Do our players execute?
10 PENALTIES IN THE FIRST HALF.
6. Do we have leaders on the field?
This game was completely leaderless, from the head coach, to every player in the game, just going through the motions. Tyler Gonzalez made his two field goals though. I think he's my favorite player on the team right now.
We went into Utah, and totally got outclassed. Again. (Never forget BYU...)
This is the second straight night a UCLA team was outclassed, outplayed, out everything-ed. It is disheartening as a UCLA fan, and why we are calling for a regime change and a culture change in UCLA Athletics. Losing is one thing, losing in this manner on the road, after a slight bit of momentum in winning your previous two games, is unacceptable.
Give me back my Bruins. (And I went to school during the Toledo regime! It wasn't always spectacular, but I don't recall ever losing like this!)