It's Monday morning, and the casual UCLA fan is feeling good after opening the paper and seeing the Bruins manhandled Colorado 42-14 in Boulder. Yes, it was a solid win on the road over a conference opponent. Yes, UCLA now stands at 4-1, just two games short of bowl qualification and it's only October 1.
But, as we saw against Oregon State, this UCLA team still has execution issues. If you watched UCLA take on an absolutely hapless Colorado squad, you'd wonder (1) man, Washington State must be pathetic if they lost to these guys and (2) the Bruins' play wasn't that satisfying. There are still places this teams needs to improve if they are going to hang tough and beat the conference big dogs (Oregon, U$C). You get the sense that Oregon would have hung 60-70 points on Colorado before stepping off the gas and putting in the second (or third) team. We're not there yet. So, yes it feels good to win and bounce back after that disappointing loss to a beatable Oregon State squad, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
So, with that said, let's get to the bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse at the beginning of this work week that finds our Bruins getting ready to head to the Bay Area to take on Cal. Here's the Bruin Bites for this Monday morning:
- Starting with football, you know something is obvious when the mainstream media picks up on it, especially if Jill Painter at the Daily News is on top of it. As Painter notes, this UCLA football team has yet to show the kind of killer instinct that would have led them to putting Colorado down quick and hard, instead of letting them hang around. Hard to argue with her, based on the lackluster performance against a terrible team.
- The Denver Post has post-game quotes and thoughts about the development of our redshirt freshman QB, Brett Hundley. Mora calls his young signal-caller unflappable and willing to correct mistakes he makes. Hundley shows that he's still not satisfied with his performances to date, which is welcome words to Bruin fans, and scary for conference foes. If this kid keeps developing, watch out.
- Turning to the non-revenue sports, golf (both men's and women's) got back into action since our last edition of Bruin Bites. The #5-ranked men's golf team got their 2012-13 program started at the PING/GolfWeek Preview in Georgia, finishing tied in fifth place with Washington (Georgia Tech and Cal tied for top spot, Texas and UNLV tied for third).
- Their female counterparts, the #2-ranked women's golf team got their year started at the GolfWeek Collegiate Invitational in Vail, Colorado (nice!), but weren't able to finish strong, coming in ninth place (sandwiched between East Tennessee State and Florida State), with #24-ranked Pepperdine finishing in top place, followed by UC Davis and #19-ranked Oklahoma.
- Turning to soccer, the #6-ranked men's soccer team got their Pac-12 season started in the Bay Area, beginning with a 3-1 victory over Stanford in Palo Alto. The Bruins started strong, giving themselves a two goal lead at the half, thanks to Fernando Monge (21') and Max Estrada (45'). Stanford notched one back on a PK in the 61st minute, but Reed Williams (82') sealed the win for UCLA for his third goal of the year. On Sunday, after a scoreless first half, the Bruins opened up the game, grabbing three goals int he second half, to finish their Bay Area road trip with a 3-1 victory over Cal in Berkeley. Victor Chavez (55'), Victor Munoz (61'), and Ryan Hollingshead (73') put the Bruins well in front before Cal notched one back, but it was too-little, too-late for the Golden Bears. UCLA now stands at 7-1-2 overall and 2-0-0 in Pac-12 play, and well next be in action against Oregon State, followed by Washington this next weekend at Drake Stadium.
- Turning to the female side of the pitch, the #3-ranked women's soccer team headed to Arizona for the weekend, getting started with a 2-1 victory over Arizona in Tucson on Friday. Zakiya Bywaters led the Lady Bruins to the win, scoring twice (7', 48') to bring her season tally to eight. The ladies will wrap up their Arizona road trip this evening, taking on Arizona State in Tempe at 7 p.m. PT. If you want to see them in action, the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. Heading into tonight's game, the Lady Bruins now stand at 8-0-2 overall and 1-0-1 in Pac-12 play.
- The defending national champs, and currently #4-ranked women's volleyball team went north to Washington this week, beginning with a disappointing five-set road loss to #5-ranked Washington in Seattle on Wednesday, falling 3-2 (25-22, 28-30, 25-19, 26-28, 14-16). The Bruins were led (as usual) by Rachael Kidder (19 kills, 8 digs) and Tabi Love (25 kills, 3 digs), with Zoe Nightingale making an impact (9 kills), and the usual strong numbers from Bojana Todorovic (19 digs), Megan Moenoa (40 assists, 6 digs), and Becca Strehlow (27 assists, 8 digs), but it wasn't enough to prevent the loss. On Friday, the Lady Bruins got back on track, sweeping Washington State 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-15) in Pullman. Once again, Kidder led UCLA (18 kills, 8 digs), with big games from Love (10 kills), Moenoa (41 assists, 5 digs) and Todorovic (11 digs). With the split weekend, the ladies now stand at 10-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play. They'll next be in action this weekend at the Wooden Center against the Arizona schools.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to start the work week with. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and additions in the comments thread.