Well as the old cliche goes a win is a win. Early on it looked like if the Bruins were going to pull this one out it was going to be a ugly win. However, thanks to a productive offense (which was mostly steady despite expected freshmen mistakes) and a dominating defense in the second half, Bruins finished with a convincing win against a well caoched San Diego State. Bruins beat up on the Aztecs by a score of 33-14. Here is the boxscore. However, the score would have been more impressive if not for typical (again expected) freshman mistakes from Prince and the offense, and early sloppiness from our defense.
Bruins fell back early on by a score of 3-14 due to some unexpected slow and sloppy defense against an upstart and fired up Aztecs bunch that seemed to be on a mission to break their school's winless (0-20-1) streak against UCLA. However, thanks to a freshman QB - Kevin Prince's - fast start, the Bruin offense hung in there and eventually took over to win the game. The early sloppiness on defense was disconcerting but they responded with a dominating effort in the second half. We can talk about it more in this thread and also in next couple of days. However, we also have lot of positive data points from tonight to talk about. We saw some glimpses and flashes of promise tonight which we didn't see a lot of last year. More after the jump.
While Prince looked as good as any UCLA freshman QB in recent years and will be inevitable toplines in most post game reports, let's talk about our running game. The combination of Jet Ski Franklin, Derrick Coleman, Milton Knox and Damien Thigpen ended up rushing for 162 yards in 30 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. That wasn't bad at all. Franklin flashed his speed with a TD in his first carry. DC showed power with an impressive TD run, and Knox really showed determination with tough runs in the fourth quarter. As for Thigpen you can see his speed in the way he darts out of the field.
Going back to Prince he had his share of mistakes. He fumbled twice which included a classic freshman mistake of not falling on the ball. He also had two bad picks. He finished the game with 18 completions on 29 attempts with 179 passing yards and nifty TD pass to Austin. At the same time he showed all the signs of why the coaches are so excited about him. It's pretty clear he can throw all kinds of passes - long, short, touch and with power. He also showed decent pocket presence and good mobility. It is going to be fun to see him develop this year but it's going to require patience and constant reminders that he is a freshman.
As for the defense, we all had a lump in our throats when Price went down. Thank God he came back and he was ok. They had a very sloppy and slow start. Perhaps they came out with a little too much intensity as they made couple of costly mistakes in the first drive. But they did settle down after the first two Aztec drives and then simply overwhelmed the Aztecs. They popped them with some vicious hits and then shut them down in the second half. What a great night for Rahim Moore who had 3 picks. Sweet night for Courtney Vinney, who stepped up when Hester went out with a leg injury (we should know more about his status in next 2 days). Of course ATV was ATV, taking it to the House in a blocked FG.
Oh there is so much more to discuss in this game. For now though I will leave it up to you guys with your insta-analysis and reactions. Fire them up in the comment threads. If you have detailed thoughts (more than 75 words), please put them up in fanposts. Looking to also hear back from all the Bruins (perhaps with pictures) who were at the Rose Bowl.
Overall not a bad way for the Bruins start the season. From my count at least 5 true freshman played just on offense. It was a roller coaster early but we survived and ended up overwhelming perhaps the best coached Aztecs team in years.
With that let's get the post game party thread started.