One game, two curses finally smashed. Despite a sputtering and inconsistent offense (which included a major and unusual mental breakdown by Hundley resulting in a gift pick-six interception for Utah) that squandered the advantage the defense handed it with six interceptions, the Bruins went to Salt Lake City on a Thursday night and pulled out a tough win over a well-coached, tough Utah program. Was it pretty? Not by a long-shot, but it's a win and the Bruins are still rolling strong. The Bruins will have a chance to get the offense back to firing on all cylinders against a Cal defense that ranks among one of the most porous in the conference, if not the nation, but the Bruins will need to put up points as the Bears have shown they can score in bunches (they just can't prevent anyone else from scoring either). So, with that said, let's look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse this Monday morning:
- Starting with the collective stars of the game in Utah, the UCLA defensive secondary got some love from the Los Angeles Times yesterday, with the players praising defensive coordinator Lou Spanos' schemes to put them in the right position, and with Spanos praising his players for making outstanding individual plays(especially that beautiful interception by Ishmael Adams . . . just wow). Regardless of who is responsible, the secondary really found the perfect time to find itself, as they are going to face a potent Cal passing attack this Saturday.
- How good is Cal's passing attack? True freshman QB Jared Goff, in only his fifth game as a Bear, set a school record for passing yards in a single game last week, throwing for 504 yards (33 for 59, with 2 TD and 1 INT) in a losing effort against Washington State. Whether it's because the kid loves to sling the ball or because new coach Sonny Dykes' offensive scheme calls for airing it out, what matters is that our young secondary is going to see a lot of balls thrown their way at the Rose Bowl this Saturday, so hopefully, last Thursday's lessons paid off.
- Speaking of learning lessons, the Bruins will need to find a way to correct their penalty issues. As Jack Wang pointed out this weekend, the Bruins have managed to accumulate 28 penalties in their past two games, with last week's 13 penalties against Utah nearly costing the Bruins a very close game. The stats aren't encouraging and if UCLA can't get that number down significantly, it will come back to haunt the Bruins against heavyweights like Stanford and Oregon.
- Turning to our Bruins in the NFL, one of our two favorite UCLA running backs is still having a slow time, with Johnathan Franklin only seeing three rushing attempts in yesterday's win against the Detroit Lions. The Packers' rookie running back only managed a single yard in those three attempts, which is a bit of a let-down following his 103 yard, 1 TD effort two weeks earlier against Cincinnati.
- But at least Jet Ski has won a NFL game this season, while our other favorite former UCLA running back - Maurice Jones-Drew - has yet to pick up a victory this year with his hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. MJD posted a respectable stat line (17 carries for 70 yards, 2 receptions for 16 yards) considering how inept the rest of his offense is. Still, it's sad to see his talent go to waste for probably 0-16 squad.
- And unfortunately for MJD, it doesn't seem likely that he'll be able to escape Jacksonville this season, with Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell refusing to trade the stout ball carrier. Although, that being said, the Jags did just trade LT Eugene Monroe to the Ravens, and you can't expect a GM to be openly telling the media he is going to trade away his stars, so perhaps there's a glimmer of hope for MJD to experience NFL playoff football.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the football-related UCLA-iverse. Fire away with your comments, additions, thoughts, etc. in the thread as we kick off yet another work week.