Last year was the debacle in the desert. (Our write-up last year was mentioned in Yahoo's College Sports blog too, aka the high point of my blogging career.)
This year it was the domination at Arroyo Seco. Not enough alliteration? Rout at the Rose Bowl?
Whatever you want to call this game, it was a thorough demolishing of the Arizona Wildcats. We could have expected them to come in on a high from beating that other team across town last week, or they were in letdown mode after a huge game. You could call it a case of the players being extra pumped up, with it being Homecoming and fresh unis to psych them up. Whatever the inspiration, it was nice to sit back and just enjoy the touchdowns for once.
We started the game electing to receive. Excellent choice, as we march down the field with ... passes? Why are we throwing? Johnathan Franklin needs one nice run to become the all time rushing leader at UCLA! Don't fret, after Franklin picks up 9 yards on the ground, the ball is handed off to him again and he has an absolutely beautiful cut and dashes into the end zone for the touchdown. Coach Jim Mora quickly calls a timeout so that Franklin can see the video on the scoreboard from previous all time leader Gaston Green. It was a good sign of things to come in this game.
Arizona takes the touchback on the kickoff... and is promptly flagged, beginning tonight's exhibition of flags. You should have had Sheldon Cooper out there to explain all the flags, they were flying with force tonight. Arizona goes three and out, and shanks the punt. (Shank: noun and verb. This time, a verb.)
Franklin adds to his career rushing total, and Brett Hundley winds up in the end zone. 14-0.
Arizona goes three and out. Cassius Marsh made the acquaintance for Matt Scott. Rugby punt. Yawn.
Jordon James and Damien Thigpen come up gimpy (but return to the game later) on the next possession. Arizona penalties, Hundley runs, and throws an absolutely beautiful ball to Jordan Payton for his first career touchdown. 21-0. We even had two straight penalties on that drive, yet we still scored. Amazing.
Arizona actually manages to stop us on our next possession, which leads to a Jeff Locke punt, who had a very relaxing day today. Arizona fields.... AND MUFFS THE PUNT! David Allen, special teams wizard recovers and we promptly score again, courtesy of Damien Thigpen. 28-0. Jerry Johnson had a beautiful catch and run on this drive, as he was absolutely wide open and was taken down at the one foot line.
Arizona kicks a field goal. It could be argued that they could have gone for it on fourth down instead of taking the points, but either decision wouldn't have amounted to much.
Johnathan Franklin with another touchdown. 35-3.
Joe Fauria with a touchdown from Hundley. Just feed the big man! The score is 42-3 at halftime. Here's a stat for you: 371 yards of offense for UCLA. 83 yards for Arizona.
Remember, this is the same team that beat SC the week before.
The second half wasn't as crisp (not to mention the flying flags) but the important thing to take away is that we did not sit on our laurels and let Arizona creep back into this game. Our first scoring play is a 25 yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn. 45-3 UCLA.
Arizona scores, aided by a bad personal foul on Aaron Hester, making the score 45-10. Thankfully, Arizona does not score again the remainder of the night, although I did feel a bit of doubt creeping in for a second.
On Arizona's next drive, Matt Scott is taken down by Anthony Barr and his head winds up caroming off of Datone Jones' knee. He is down on the ground and gets up extremely wobbly. The commentators stated he couldn't answer basic questions. We questioned him playing in this game in the first place, but he quite possibly suffered a concussion, and concussions in consecutive weeks is not a good thing. We're hoping for the best for Scott, not just for his Arizona career but for the rest of his life. The backup, BJ Denker comes in and moves the team downfield, but winds up fumbling the ball. UCLA takes immediate advantage as Hundley hits Fauria in the end zone. 52-10 UCLA.
Let me say that score again.
In front of a full Rose Bowl, in their flashy LA Nights uniforms, the Bruins put together a complete performance from beginning to end and we atone for last year's debacle and put up a new Rout 66. Congratulations Bruins.
By the way, SC lost for the second week in a row. But for now, let's focus on WSU in Pullman.
In addition, we are hoping for the best for Hank Hobson, who was carted off the field in the third quarter. I missed it when the injury occurred, but best wishes to Hobson and his family.
Enjoy tonight/early morning, Bruins. It's been a while since we've felt like this.
(The flags were nuts though. Come on Mike Pereira. It seriously messed with the flow of the game!)