Week 4 of college football is over and UCLA is still undefeated, at 3-0, following a 59-13 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies. In a touching tribute, the Bruins lined up 10 men for the first offensive snap, in memory of Nick Pasquale.
Here are our thoughts and reactions to the New Mexico State game.
1. Initial Impressions?
bruinclassof10: So Brett Hundley is human. 692 yards of offense is a lot and what a touching moment: 10 men on the field for UCLA, to honor Nick Pasquale.
Achilles: Team had a bit of a let down after the emotions of the Nebraska game. Hard to find fault with the box score but if you watched the game you know that there's plenty of room for improvement.
AHMB: We were obviously the superior team, but there were plenty of mistakes on both sides of the football. Even after racking up nearly 700 yards of offense and holding NMSU to 1-11 on 3rd downs, the staff won't have to dig to find teaching moments on the game film.
IE Angel: New Mexico State is not as good of a football team as UCLA. Kind of feels like a loophole to the streak of never having played an FCS team.
Bellerophon: I really loved the heart of New Mexico State. In terms of talent, they were clearly outmatched, but they played hard the entire game, so I tip my hat to them. As for our Bruins, the execution was very sloppy. Yes, the score is very flattering, but this was one of the weakest opponents we have ever played. There's still a lot of room to improve.
Ajax: Unlike years past, the team dominated a team that it was expected to dominate despite some sloppy play.
2. The Good
bruinclassof10: 692 yards of offense and a night dedicated to the memory of Nick Pasquale. It was good seeing the players fired up before the game.
Achilles: Malcolm Jones is going to need more and more playing time -- he really pounds it in there.
AHMB: The box score. UCLA tallied nearly 700 yards of offense. UCLA used 8 different rushers and 16 different receivers caught balls.
IE Angel: Agree with the others. When you look at the box score, there is not a lot of bad. The running game actually looks better than last season and the defense is much improved as well.
Bellerophon: The defense put up a good effort and it was awesome seeing the second-string (and in some cases, third-string) guys getting significant minutes. Any time Jerry Neuheisel gets to throw a TD pass, it's a fun game for UCLA.
Ajax: The Bruin defense was dominant for the most part, especially Anthony Barr and Myles Jack. As excited as I am to see Barr's big hits, I am genuinely afraid that he is going to seriously hurt somebody. The tribute to Nick Pasquale and his family was very cool.
3. The Bad
bruinclassof10: Brett threw 2 picks and overthrew a few open receivers. I can't complain about the way we were running about the ball though. It also seemed like the entire UCLA roster caught a pass in the game.
Achilles: Penalties and turnovers.
AHMB: UCLA wasn't that sharp. NMSU'S anemic run game put up nearly 200 yards and got over 4 yards per carry despite essentially running the same zone read play repeatedly.. There were three turnovers inside the red zone and once again, too many penalties.
IE Angel: Brett not looking like a top-5 draft pick, the turnovers, the penalties and the play of the backups on defense in garbage time. If those issues are reduced by half, UCLA scores at least 70 points.
Bellerophon: Not sure if it's really a bad thing, but Hundley looked like a young kid with only one year of starting experience against this terrible Aggie defense. People who think this kid is ready for the NFL got a rude awakening in this game, when it became evident that while he's a great college QB, he's not quite ready for the next level. He still doesn't throw a consistently accurate deep ball, and his decision making was less than stellar. Not thrilled that our defense couldn't completely dominate a very weak New Mexico State offense, and the penalties need to be addressed.
Ajax: Red zone turnovers and penalties..
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
bruinclassof10: #36 Nick Pasquale
Achilles: Randall Goforth
AHMB: Steven Manfro.
IE Angel: The offensive line.
Bellerophon: Shaq Evans and Randall Goforth. Neither were particularly spectacular, but both played consistently well the entire game. Considering a lot of players were asleep at the wheel for part of the game, that's both a kudos to Evans and Goforth and a bit of a concern vis-a-vis the rest of the team heading into Pac-12 play.
Ajax: Myles Jack. That kid is all over the field.
5. Honorable Mentions?
bruinclassof10: Jordon James. X-Man has a great game too, he was throwing defenders around. On defense, Randall Goforth had an outstanding game, breaking up passes and disrupting the Aggies receivers. Manfro had a breakout game.
Achilles: Jordan James, Malcolm Jones, Stephen Manfro
AHMB: The offensive line.
IE Angel: Cassius Marsh, Anthony Barr, Jordon James, Steven Manfro, Randall Goforth.
Bellerphon: Steven Manfro, Jordan James, and the entire offensive line.
Ajax: Jordon James. I'm really hoping that these first three games will give him the confidence to keep improving during conference play. We are going to need him.
6. What we hope gets addressed against Utah next, next week?
bruinclassof10: Slow starts seem to be a recurring theme so far this year, and we need to hit Utah in the mouth in the 1st quarter instead of waiting.
Achilles: Agree with bco10, the slow start is going to come back to bite us if we don't address it.
AHMB: We get another bye before heading to Utah for a Thursday night road game. After the past couple of weeks, our guys probably need a short break, but they are going to have to come out firing on all cylinders to beat Utah in a pretty hostile road environment. Remember, we haven't won in the state of Utah in a long time.
IE Angel: Penalties and turnovers. Can't expect to beat a team on the road in a tough environment with 15 penalties and losing the turnover battle. If UCLA takes care of the ball and plays sharp, they win by 3 scores. If they don't, the Utah game will be more interesting than it should be.
Bellerophon: We need to address the penalty issues, tighten up ball security, and really be mentally focused. UCLA has struggled when playing in the State of Utah the past decade, so let's hope our Bruins come out fired up and focused.
Ajax: Again, the penalties must be reduced. The Bruins won't get away with such sloppy play against conference opponents. I'd also like to see the defense play better out of the gate.
7. The Extra Point.
bruinclassof10: Great videoboard tribute to Nick Pasquale.
Achilles: We haven't punted at home this season.
AHMB: The past few weeks have been difficult, and I'm impressed by how Coach Mora and the staff have kept the team focused and respectfully honored Nick Pasquale and his wonderful family at the same time. It's nice for the team to have a short break, playing one game over the next three weeks, but the remainder of the season of going to be a tough test of endurance, both mentally and physically.
IE Angel: UCLA is leading the NCAA in 3rd down conversion percentage on offense at 68% and the defense is only allowing opposing offenses to convert 26% of the time (13th in the NCAA). The only other school in the country in the top 15 of both stats is undefeated Louisville, who has played Ohio, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Florida International. Going through the NCAA's team stats reveals how good UCLA has been through three games.
Bellerophon: Very classy move by our fans to have a sign thanking the Nebraska fans who honored Nick Pasquale in Lincoln last weekend.
Ajax: I am very impressed by the leadership demonstrated by Coach Mora in light Nick Pasquale' passing. I think the team handled its out of conference games about as well as can be expected. I also expect the team to continue to progress in all phases as it begin conference play.
Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions to this game. Go Bruins!