Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Roundtable among BruinsNation frontpagers discussing UCLA's big road win against Arizona State.
Well that was fun wasn't it? A trek to the desert revealed the character of our team as we saw some of our youngsters grow up while our vets didn't back down either.
1. Initial Impressions?
bruinclassof10: We almost gave that one away but it was great seeing Fairbairn come in and kick the game winner. Also, the FX commentators seem to think they know more about our players than the coaches at times (i.e. Fauria is pretty good and needs to be involved more in the passing game)
DC Bruins: With 1:33 left I never doubted we would get a Field Goal attempt to win the game. However, with our special teams, I did doubt we would make it,.
Achilles: This is not a game we would have won at any time in the last four years. On the road. Needing a late drive when the other team had all the momentum. No way the prior coach wins this game.
Odysseus: We won a Pac-12 game on the road against a pretty good team. This never happened under Neuheisel and very infrequently under Dorrell. Not only that, but I am pretty confident that we would have lost the game under Dorrell or Neuheisel. We went down 14-0, kept our poise and came back. We had some bad calls against, and we still made plays. We made some boneheaded moves of our own, and overcame it. We gave up a lead and still came back and got the win. And it sure is nice to have a QB who can engineer a game-winning drive.
AHMB: Despite all of the mistakes, and there were quite a few of them, our guys showed great resolve and won a very entertaining game. There were points in the game where it looked like a sure loss, and points where it looked like a sure win, but at the end, the game's outcome rested on the foot of a freshman kicker.
gbruin: It's been a long time since the Bruins beat a good team, on the road, in a meaningful game with important implications, and coming back from some early screwups to do it. Props to this team. It's another step forward. Of course, there are a lot of steps still to go, but I like the direction. That's the kind of "no quit" attitude we have been wanting to see.
2. The Good
bruinclassof10: We won and we have ourselves a kicker! Our offense looked good again. Brett Hundley, Johnathan Franklin and Damien Thigpen were playmakers today. Devin Fuller had two key catches too so it was good seing him involved in the offense. He has potential to be a difference maker at the WR position in the future.
DC Bruins: Hundley is a great leader. He was the difference. ASU's young QB in the end zone threw an INT that was the difference in the game. Hundley didn't panic after a terrible start, and lead us on a nice touchdown drive to keep us in the game after we fall down 14-0. He then won the game, calmly leading us to the game winning FG with 1:33.
Achilles: Hundley is getting better as the season goes on ... Anthony Barr is a superior defensive player ... Eric Kendricks is an unsung hero on defense, the guy just makes a lot of tackles ... Joseph Fauria made two awesome catches, one for a touchdown and one on the sideline on that last drive when I thought Hundley was going to throw the ball out of bounds ... Jetski ... Devin Fuller ... Devin Fuller ... Devin Fuller ...
Odysseus: We won. The box score is somewhat deceiving, but the penalties improved somewhat, especially if you subtract the phantom holding call and the ohmygod late WTF pass interference. We also improved in the red zone and that was one of the differences in the game, especially with the defense holding ASU to field goals in the red zone on several occasions. I also thought, by and large, we had the right gameplan and good playcalling on offense (one exception, with ASU overpursuing, I would have liked to see us do a few screens or other plays that can catch that type of defense). This was a huge game, the biggest win in a decade.
AHMB: The character of the team is what really impressed me. Down 14-0, I thought the game was over, but the team rallied back and eventually took a two score lead. ASU fought back and took the lead with 1:33 to go, but our guys fought back again. Very impressive stuff.
gbruin: That was a really good offensive performance against a top defense (understanding two of their great players were out or limited). I like that the offense focused on things that worked (running Franklin) rather than feeling compelled to try every play in the playbook equally.
3. The Bad
bruinclassof10: Steven Manfro's muffed punt (again). The really ugly? Our team captains didn't make it out onto the field on time for the pre-game coin toss so we kicked twice. Did Karl Dorrell call that one in? Our D didn't look so hot out there.
DC Bruins: Our special teams. I really thought ASU should punt more. We had two fumbles and gave up a 73 yard kick because we could not even fair catch a ball.
Achilles: The bad? Well, let's start with not having the captains out on the field so the punter who has never been to a coin toss is forced to go out there and he (not knowing what to do) elects to kick. It's probably the first time a team elected to kick in 50 years. Manfro can't catch punts and shouldn't be out there. Some pretty weak tackling.
Odysseus: I won't complain too much, but another fumbled/muffed punt leading to a touchdown, that's just inexcusable. Having to kick off both halves is just another head shaking moment.
AHMB: Our punt return game needs some help. It's an adventure every time the other team punts. We're supposed to cheer our d for holding the other team and forcing a punt, not dread it.
gbruin: We were making key mistakes before the game even started. Manfro shouldn't be back for punts anymore. The defense struggled against the run more than I expected.
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
bruinclassof10: Brett Hundley, Damien Thigpen, Ka'imi Fairbairn (he won the game for us so I got to show him some love)
DC Bruins: Hundley is the best UCLA freshman QB statistically ever, with more TDs and yards than anyone else. If he keeps going like this he will be the best freshman QB period.
Achilles: Joe Fauria, Eric Kendricks. Fairbairn
AHMB: Brett Hundley and Ka'imi Fairbairn
gbruin: Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, Eric Kendricks, Ka'imi Fairbairn
5. Honorable Mentions?
bruinclassof10: Shaq Evans, Joe Fauria, Jetski (as commentators noted, it was HUGE having him fresh in the 4th)
DC Bruins: I would say Evans but he made a stupid unsportsmanlike
Odysseus: Hundley, Franklin, Thigpen, Barr, Hilliard
AHMB: Eric Kendricks
gbruin: Joe Fauria, Damien Thigpen, Andrew Abbott, Datone Jones
6. What we hope gets addressed against Arizona next week?
bruinclassof10: Defense, especially the secondary and middle and special teams, specifically punt and kick returns.
DC Bruins: Mora has to take responsibility for the special teams. He did well by making the game winning FG easy for Ka'imi Fairbairn by running up the middle on the next to last play. The special teams are a big problem and Mora has to fix it; not to make it great but at least not a liability.
Achilles: Deferring when we win the coin toss. Defense. The offensive line is still weak and likely will be all year. Too many penalties. Can't handle complicated stunts and blitzes. The o line thing is really impacting the play calling IMO.
Odysseus: Obviously, I would like to see our defense allow fewer points and yards, but the main thing will be playing disciplined, making the tackles, and I hate to say it, but bend but don't break. Arizona will move the ball (but) the key is stopping the drive and minimizing the points. No more fumbled or muffed punts. I'd like to get the ball to start one half. Get another win.
AHMB: Punt returns. We have to be able to catch a punt.
gbruin: Just keep cleaning up mistakes. Get the coin toss right. Play punts correctly. Better gap control on the D line. Better blitz pickup by the O Line.
7. The Extra Point
bruinclassof10: Steve Manfro should not return kicks or punts until he's proven that he can be relied upon to make smart decisions. Fuller almost coughed up a punt too.
DC Bruins: A very good win on the road against a good team is a major step forward. That and Andrew Abbot needs to returns punts.
Achilles: Jim Mora: "Let's go win this mother (father)!!!!"
Odysseus: We said ASU was a huge measuring stick and Mora, the assistant coaches and the players stepped up and got a huge win. Now the key is to hold the momentum. We control our own destiny in the Pac-12 South. Arizona's offense is formidable, but their defense is vulnerable. Let's get a win at the Rose Bowl.
AHMB: Arizona is a good team, and our guys will have to come down from an emotional win fairly quickly in order to play Arizona at home. Of course, Arizona is coming off a pretty good win themselves, and Saturday's is turning into a very important home game.
gbruin: We talked about how long it had been since we beat a good team on the road. Now, how long has it been since we've beaten a good team on the road and followed it with a big win the next weekend? That's the next step for this team - stringing together some consistent good play and key wins. Keep the progress going.
Please chime in with your thoughts on this game, the upcoming Arizona game, Brett Hundley, Ka'imi Fairbairn, Jetski and all things UCLA football.