UCLA Escapes the WSU Cougars Grasp, Wins 44-36

#barrsohard - James Snook-US PRESSWIRE

The strategy of "scoring a lot early, buckle up, and hold on" barely works this week.

All week, we warned that this game could not be taken lightly. We warned that we could not look forward to that other school. We couldn't get caught up in our positive press. We were headed to the Palouse, where bad things happen, and it was fricking cold.

And for a quarter, it looked like we were right. Unless you were on special teams. The Cougars drove easily on our offense, aided by a pass interference call by Aaron Hester. After Anthony Barr sacks Jeff Tuel and knocks WSU out of "let's think about going for it on 4th down" Datone Jones comes in and BLOCKS THAT KICK! Sheldon Price picks up the loose ball and runs it in for a touchdown. WSU gets the ball back, and moves back down the field again. After a personal foul pushes WSU again out of "let's go for it on 4th down territory" Cassius Marsh BLOCKS THAT KICK! No touchdown this time, but two series - two blocked kicks. Special teams came to play.

Unfortunately the offense did not in the first half. On our first drive, we go absolutely nowhere, even when WSU tries to help us out with a roughing the passer penalty. Thankfully, WSU couldn't do anything either, so our special teams came back out - AND BLOCKED THAT PUNT! Jordan Zumwalt comes in and blocks the kick. UCLA is in great field position... unfortunately Johnathan Franklin fumbles for the first time this season which leads to a WSU touchdown. (along with a BS flag on Owa, yet we knocked out Tuel for the game on this drive.)

In the second quarter the offense finally wakes up. Johnathan Franklin, after review, scores. On the kickoff, WSU unwisely brings it out of the end zone, and we take advantage with Brett Hundley faking to Franklin, and throws into the end zone for Joe Fauria. Touchdown.


The defense decides to get in on the scoring, as Anthony Barr gets the safety in the end zone. That's the trifecta - offense, defense, and special teams. After the kick from the twenty, Kenny Walker returns the ball to the 41. A throw to Fauria again, using every inch he had available to catch the ball, and Hundley caps off the drive with a throw and a nice spin move by Devin Fuller into the end zone. 30-7 Bruins.

Cassius Marsh decides he hasn't had enough fun yet tonight, and forces a fumble, that is picked by Eric Kendricks, who was absolutely beat up and battered this game but kept trucking back out to the field, and runs into the end zone. At the half, UCLA leads 37-7.

With a 30 point lead, a casual observer would think we're dominating this game. Alas, no. Good special teams play seriously aided our cause. (or bad special teams play by WSU, depending on what mood you're in.) In the second half, it was a comedy of errors, flag flying, and that sinking feeling returning to your gut. You remember that feeling. It's followed us for years. It was mad you kicked it out last week, but now it's trying to find it's way back into your intestines.

We elect to receive in the second half, but all we receive is a bucket of tired. We only score once in the second half, while WSU puts up 29. I could recap the second half, but my notes have a lot of "F. Touchdown." "F. Touchdown." "F. FLAG?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" I watched the same game as you. We are escaping with a win. The offense couldn't keep it together against WSU's defense. The defense was left out on the field for 35 minutes, tired, in the freezing cold. Our players kept going down with injuries which had to hurt more in the cold. We picked up stupid flags (of our own right, such as a penalty for an illegal substitution, and a penalty for running out of bounds on a frickin punt) and completely uncalled for flags (that was NOT a personal foul on Stan McKay) and flags that weren't thrown for us (if Dalton Hilliard gets a flag for going helmet to helmet, there should have been a penalty on the kickoff return by Kenny Walker that resulted in a fumble and eventual WSU touchdown.)

We gave up over 500 yards on defense. We only had 333 yards on offense. We were 3-11 on third down. We only had 72 yards rushing. These are all ugly stats.

Yet we managed to hold on and win, in the Palouse, where 7:30pm games should never be scheduled in November.

I'm tired. I'm hungry. That game wore me out. But we're 8-2, and we play that other school across town Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Now we can talk about it. WSU, thank you for your hospitality, but we will take the win and return to Westwood.

Go Bruins. Please let there not be any serious injuries to come out of this game. We're going to need everyone on their A game.

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