Our Bruins returned to the Rose Bowl on a picturesque afternoon in Pasadena, looking to get the season back on track after back-to-back losses on the road against Stanford and Oregon. Instead of coming out with intensity and firing on all cylinders, the Bruins looked sluggish and lost, making fans wonder if the football team has been hanging out with the same Westwood weed dealer that readily supplied all those "Fab Five" Ben Howland players.
The Bruins came out and let Colorado march down the field twice, failing to get the Buffaloes off the field on third downs. If it wasn't for poor execution, Colorado wouldn't have had to settle for two field goal attempts (with UCLA getting fortunate that Colorado only converted one), but the Buffs drew first blood and dominated the opening quarter, with UCLA doing nothing but going three-and-out, until they got one big play at the end of the quarter, with Hundley hitting Fuller for a 76 yard TD pass. Amazing what happens when Mazzone lets Hundley throw the ball down the field. Sure, it only took us 7 games, but we finally threw a deep post. Colorado wouldn't wilt though, and with Colorado and UCLA trading touchdowns, it finally took a big play on special teams for us to breakthrough, with Hundley leading the Bruins 14 yards after a fumble recovery on a kick-off. Colorado continued to push through our vanilla defense, but choked in the red zone again, settling for another FG. Despite getting the ball back with 1:16 and good field position, Mora and Mazzone went conservative, ending up settling for a 45 yard FG attempt, which came up wide left, with the Bruins up 21-13 at half in one of the most Dorrellian halves of football UCLA has seen since the Thinker left Westwood.
The Bruins got back to their prior methods, shutting out Colorado in the third quarter, with the defense finally able to get the Buffs off the field and with UCLA finally stringing together some offensive plays into sustainable drives. But despite going into the final quarter down 35-13, Coach MacIntyre's team kept fighting, with the Buffs opening the quarter with a TD and then forcing UCLA to settle for a FG, while adding one of their own. The Bruins added a late TD to make it 45-23, but the final scoreline flattered the Bruins, as the entire game had a Dorrellian feel to it. Bear in mind that we failed to cover the spread, while the true elites do that without blinking. The silver lining is that the Bruins have the talent, and it seemed that Mazzone slightly opened up the playbook (perhaps the chorus of boos after UCLA's second three-and-out in the first quarter had the desired effect), so the potential is certainly there for UCLA to take the step to being elite.
But when are we going to stop talking about potential and next year and talk about winning the conference and going to the Rose Bowl in the present?
At the end of the night, the Bruins got the victory, avoided any major injuries, and kept themselves marching toward a third-straight Pac-12 South division title and spot in the Pac-12 championship game. There's still a lot of work to do and if the Bruins don't pick their game up to the level we saw against Nebraska, the Bruins will have a very hard time against an Arizona State squad that is looking stronger with each passing week. Hopefully this coaching staff will figure out how to put together a complete game before it's too late and the season passes us by and we're once again waiting until next year.
Next year needs to be the here and now.
This is your post-game victory thread. Fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and takes as the Bruins enjoy a victory in classic Karl Dorrell fashion.