5:30pm ~ In this, our first game after yet another 'worst loss in recent memory' we hope to see some improvement from our guys on the field. We wonder if our DBs have learned to turn around while covering WRs. We wonder if we will wrap up on tackles or lead with our shoulders. We wonder if our line is going to look like the one that absolutely dominated against Arizona, or the one which got absolutely dominated against Stanford. We wonder if our Offensive Coordinator has learned anything. We wonder if our Defensive Coordinator has ever faced the Air Raid offense in his career. We wonder if our head coach has held any of the coaches accountable for what happened the last two weeks. We wonder if a home crowd will help, considering it was as good as it gets against ASU, and we all know how that turned out.
So, with these questions burning in many a mind, Here's how it went:
Opening drive is a 66 yard, 13 play possession which leads to field goal by Cal. UCLA opens with a 48 yard, 9 play that was going really well until an offensive Pass Interference pushed us back 15 yards and forced us to kick a Field Goal. Score: 3-3. Cal came back with a 9 yard 3 and out followed by a punt. Score one for the guys on D. Bruins follow that with a 70 yard, 13 play possession that's capped off with TD pass to Duarte. Score: 10-3 Bruins. Cal takes the field on a mission and churns up 20 yards on 5 plays, but comes up short after a big sack by Aaron Wallace to end their drive and effectively; the 1st Quarter.
Bruins open the 2nd quarter with an impressive 90 yard drive across 10 plays that culminates in a TD pass to Devin Fuller. Score: 17-3 Bruins. Bruin defense comes out on fire; holding Cal to 0 yards on 3 plays. Bruins take the field again, and immediately the penalties show up again threatening our drive. Bruins go for it on 4th and 1 at the 50. Perkins delivers. Unfortunately the drive nets only a field goal on 53 yards on 12 plays. Score: 20-3. The Defense continue on its roll and holds Cal to a 3 and out. Interestingly, the Bears attempt a fake punt which the Special Teams unit blows up. We take the field with a short field in front of us, and comes up short again, settling for a field goal after driving 28 yards on 10 plays. Score: 23-3 Bruins. The Bears take the field and promptly drives 74 yards on 7 plays, capping it off with a TD pass to Kenny Lawler. Score: 23-10 Bruins. The Bruins take the field determined to keep the foot on the pedal, and drive 33 yards in the final :51 seconds. A couple of penalties pushes the line of scrimmage back, but Kaimi is unfazed. He kicks a 60 yard field goal to end the half. Score: 26-10 Bruins.
The Bruins started the 2nd half on fire, going 80 yards on 8 plays, ending with a 21 yard TD pass to Devin Fuller. The Bears, however started the half by going 22 yards on 5 plays, and punting the ball away. Score: 33-10 Bruins. The Bruins then went 4 yards on 3 plays and punted. The Bears took the field and drove 73 yard on 12 plays for a TD pass to Darius Powe. They then failed on the 2 pt conversion. Score: 33-16 Bruins. The Bruins took the field and went 75 yards on 11 plays with a TD by Soso Jamabo; but not before having a beautiful 18 yard TD run by Mossi Johnson called back on a penalty. Score 40-16 Bruins
The bears got the ball back and drove 33 yards on 12 plays, but turned the ball over on downs after back to back sacks by Kenny Clark. The Bruins returned the favor going 8 yards on 3 plays and punting. Score 40-16 Bruins. The Bears played along, going 20 yards on 5 plays before punting. The Bruins then started driving, looking good as they ran run plays to eat up the clock, but 29 yards on 5 plays ended with a Jamabo fumble. The Bear finally woke up and drove 61 yards on 11 plays culminating with a 18 yard TD pass to Khalfani Muhammed. The Bears then converted the 2 point conversion. Score: 40-24 Bruins. The bears tricked no one with an onside kick, and the refs gave us another 5 yards to boot. The Bruins plan was obvious: run out the clock. Somehow we only managed to run 1:05 off the clock. The bears started on their own 9 yard line after the punt but the 52 yards on 7 plays were mostly meaningless at that point.
The run game was on point early, especially with Perkins churning up yards in 10 yards chunks to open the game; he would put up 56 yards in the 1st quarter. Josh Rosen started the game on fire going 11 of 14 in the 1st quarter. As a whole the team went 119 yards on 23 carries and Rosen would go 24 of 33 for 238 yards and 2 TDs for the 1st half. The defense did their part, twice forcing Cal to punt, and twice forcing Cal to turn the ball over on downs. They would hold Cal to 170 total yards in the first half, as well as hold them to 3 of 8 on third downs.
The 2nd half felt like UCLA was steam rolling Cal with 2 TDs in the 3rd. But, after those two scores, the coaches pulled back the reins. Josh Rosen would go 10 of 14 for 161 in the 2nd half as the coaches obviously shifted the game plan to favoring the run game to eat up as much clock as possible. The 55 yards on 19 carries were not indicative of their importance however, considering Paul Perkins left the game in the 1st half. The Bruins played to win and they showed it on defense, holding Cal to two punts and a turnover on downs in the second half.
This was not the win we wanted. That would have been last week. But, at the end of the day, we won. We won "pretty" and I for one would much rather be here than a 3 game losing streak. The guys needed it. And, to their credit, they did not fold after two disheartening losses. Exhale all that sports anxiety of the previous two weeks and enjoy the win Bruins!