UCLA headed out to Colorado for the first time in Pac-12 play, and it appears they're back on the right track, with a few detours, to make a run in the Pac-12 South, but let's not get that far ahead of ourselves. One game at a time.
We defer, and after a typical Jeff Locke kickoff, the game starts on a good note, as Anthony Barr makes his presence known to Christian Powell and forces a three and out. We start the game off by running, and Johnathan Franklin picks up yardage easily but the penalty bug strikes early, as Jerry Rice Jr. is called for holding. On the next play, Brett Hundley is sacked and fumbles, which is recovered by Colorado. He really should have wrapped up that ball.
Thankfully, Colorado can't do anything with the ball, as Barr reacquaints himself with the Colorado offense with a sack, and Dalton Hilliard forced a fumble that was recovered by Colorado. On the ensuing drive, Franklin has a lovely stiff arm on a 28 yard run, Jerry Rice Jr (YEEEE) with a catch, and Hundley scampers into the end zone for the touchdown. Ka'imi Fairbairn converts the PAT, but the kick is low, setting off warning bells.
Not much else happens in the first quarter. We exchange three and outs, and at the end of the first half, the score is 7-0. The first half makes us wonder what could have been, as it felt like Colorado wasn't in it, thanks to the defense, yet we didn't take advantage.
In the second quarter, we remember that we have a receiver named Devin Lucien, briefly, as he catches two passes. We easily pick up yardage, aided by passes to Joseph Fauria, runs by Franklin, and finally the drive ends in a touchdown pass, beautifully thrown by Hundley to Darius Bell. Absolutely beautiful. 14-0 Bruins.
Unfortunately our defense allows Colorado right back into the game, as they start picking on our corners and realize our weakness. They carve up the defense through the air, and touchdown, Colorado. Yeesh.
On our next possession, we do absolutely nothing of note and punt. Our defense comes back out and Datone Jones introduces himself to Colorado, dropping Powell behind the line. Colorado continues to target the corners, and picks on Price this series, who doesn't fall for the spin move like Hester did earlier. Thankfully, Damien Holmes comes in with the sack and Steven Manfro winds up returning the punt to the 45.
Hundley keeps flipping the ball down the field to Franklin and Johnson. On a screen pass to Franklin, we think he's in the end zone but upon further review he's out at the half yard line. No problem, we'll just line up and hand off to Franklin - NO WAIT IT'S THE BEST FAKE EVER as Hundley waltzes into the end zone, absolutely untouched. 21-7 Bruins.
The half ends at 21-7, and the rest of the action isn't that great, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Sheldon Price picked up a PI call and Jeff Baca picked up a flag for hands to the face. Both horrible penalties to pick up but don't hurt us in the long run.
The third quarter starts off shaky, as the offense seems out of sync. Hundley hangs on to the ball a bit too long, balls are dropped or are off the hands of receivers, or we're picking up illegal blocking penalties. It is not until after Tevin McDonald forces a fumble, recovered by Eric Kendricks, that we finally get the game moving for UCLA fans. Aided by a roughing the passer call on Colorado, Hundley winds up finding Fauria, the biggest guy on the field, wide open in the end zone, and the game definitely turns from there. 28-7 Bruins.
After another Colorado punt, we are once again aided by another Colorado roughing the passer penalty, Hundley hits Bell on 3rd and 12 and we pick up 21. From the 23, we run the DOUBLE REVERSE as Thigpen is into the end zone for his first touchdown. 42-7 Bruins and this game starts to feel like we have finally seized control, with about 9 minutes to go.
Kevin Prince comes into the game, as does many of the other second team players. Ellis McCarthy is spotted at right guard (and unfortunately allows the defense to go right by him.) We all see appearances by Rios, Goforth, and Moreau. The second team defense allows the second team Colorado offense to score, and the final score of the game is 42-14, covering the spread.
While it may not have been impressive from start to finish, the starters finally picked up near the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, and firmly put the game out of reach, and we may have seen the Colorado players let up just a bit. Congratulations to Damien Holmes, who possibly played one of the best games I've seen him play in his UCLA career, while Anthony Barr continued being #BarrSoHard. Hundley is my dream fantasy football quarterback, and Franklin picked up 111 yards of rushing, although we are looking for updates on his injury. We may need to worry about Fairbairn and his field goal kicking, as his accuracy is not up to par on his one miss today. Great job by the defense to hold Colorado to 32 yards rushing, and forcing two turnovers.
We'll have more analysis of this game in the coming week, but we're now 4-1 heading into Cal Week, and hopefully we've righted the ship after the disappointing loss last week to OSU.