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UCLA Opens the Season With a Loss, 38-34 to Houston

Jonathan Franklin rushes for over 100 yards and scores a touchdown, but it isn't enough.
Jonathan Franklin rushes for over 100 yards and scores a touchdown, but it isn't enough.

At the end of the first half, UCLA was down 31-14.  Kevin Prince was knocked out with a stinger, and was later evaluated for a concussion, but the Richard Brehaut and Joe Fauria show took over, with contributions from Jonathan Franklin in the running game.

Unfortunately, the defense didn't show the same intensity as the offense, as they missed tackles and let Case Keenum go wild, showing exactly what was expected of him last year before he was knocked out for the season.

But in the second half, there was a spark of life.

We opened up the second half with a long drive, where we moved the ball well, with a ridiculous catch by Nelson Rosario, and a 4th down TD run by Derrick Coleman.  As Houston came marching down the field again, Owa recovers a fumble, and Brehaut marches the offense down the field and finishes the job to bring the team within a field goal. 

After UCLA is unable to score early in the 4th, Houston resumed the march down the field with Case Keenum refusing to miss, receivers not dropping balls, and score by recovering their fumble in the end zone, putting us down 10 with 10 minutes to go.  After being pushed back to 3rd and very long, Brehaut comes up with a run and Franklin converts the fourth down.  Unfortunately UCLA can't get into the end zone and Kip Smith, in his first field goal attempt in college, misses the kick to the right with the wind in his face.

UCLA manages to get the ball back, and quickly marches down the field in one of the best two minute drills ever, and Brehaut hits all his receivers as Anthony Barr catches the touchdown.  However, Smith's PAT is blocked and UCLA is unable to recover the onside kick.

Four points are left on the field.  UCLA loses by four.

The team was also it's own worst enemy, with 10 penalties for 80 yards.

After every game, we will grade the team based on the Eye Test:

1) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play?
2) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard?
3) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times?
4) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game?
5) Do our players execute?
6) Do we have leaders on the field?

1.  I'd say no, the defense was not prepared.  We couldn't tackle Houston to save our lives, and Case Keenum was a machine. We also did not adjust in the second half, although if you want to call it a victory that they only scored 7 points in the second half, go ahead and call it that.

2.  By the end, it seemed Houston was starting to pick up more on the Pistol, especially the QB draws, but Brehaut decided he could throw the ball and his receivers were catching everything.  I was caught off guard with how well our WRs played today.  We also converted two fourth downs, which was huge, and I didn't dread the fourth down plays.

3.  Our tackling seemed to shore up a bit in the second half, but we were giving their receivers a nice fluffy cushion so they could go off for eight yards, easy.

4.  The offense played, when they were out there.  The defense tried but their inability to tackle led to Houston marching down the field, eating up clock, and scoring touchdowns.  I feel like there was effort, but the game plan on the defensive side was horrible.

5.  Kip Smith did not execute today, and I am worried.  The defense didn't execute either, and I'm extremely worried.  Houston kept picking on Sean Westgate the entire game and it did work.

6.  Brehaut, Fauria and Franklin were our leaders today, and they will have to be the rest of this season on offense.  On defense, the entire unit needs to step up and fix their mistakes from today.

On the bright side, we scored FIVE touchdowns.  FIVE.  I don't remember that - am I back in 2005?

Who was your player(s) of the game today?

First game, over.  Eleven more to go. This is not the time to discuss Neuheisel's seating arrangement.