It's halftime at the Rose Bowl and U.C.L.A. has done pretty much all they can to make this game close. Penalties, poor decisions, baffling play calls in the red zone, penalties, turnovers, bad special teams, dropped passes, and a few more penalties have hurt the Bruins. U.C.L.A. trails at halftime 14 -13. If the Bruins played any sort of a smart game, they'd be up 28-7. Instead, they are playing typical U.C.L.A. football and are struggling against an outmatched team.
U.C.L.A. came out in their Black Ops alternate uniforms with the Navy SEALs bone frog logo on the left side side of the helmet. Senior night got off to a good start for the Bruins with a quick 3 and out on D and a steady drive on offense. But three separate false starts stalled the drive inside the 5 and the Bruins settled for a short FG from Ka'imi Fairbairn, who set the all-time U.C.L.A. scoring record with the kick.
WSU's next drive however was a series of short passes and consistent gains to set up two short runs for the Cougar's first touchdown.
The Bruins' second drive looked like the first with nice passes by Josh Rosen, good runs from Paul Perkins, and some big catches by Eldridge Massington, only to see the drive stall inside the 5 again, this time due to some questionable play calling. Fairbairn extended his record with another FG. The quarter ended with the Bruins training 7-6.
Both offenses scuffled a bit until halfway through the second when the Bruins went on a 94 yard 11 play drive featuring big runs by Perkins, Soso Jamabo, and an 14 yard TD from Nate Starks.
The Bruins looked like they'd take control when Jacob Tuioti-Mariner sacked WSU QB Luke Falk and forced him out of the game with an apparent head injury and the defense forced a punt. But then the Bruins got stupid again when Ishmael Adams fielded a punt at the 4 and then fumbled while trying to make a play. The defense stood strong but a needless holding penalty on Adams gave WSU a second chance and the Cougars took advantage with a late touchdown pass with a minute and a half remaining to end the scoring with WSU leading 14-13.
Josh Rosen orchestrated a great 2 minute drive to get back into field goal range as the half expired and Fairbairn was money from 38. The Bruins took a 16-14 lead to the locker room.
The Bruins were their own worst enemy in the first half. Presuming Luke Falk doesn't come back in the second half (and if he does, the WSU coaching staff should all go to jail), the Bruins should have a great advantage to take over this game and finish the Cougars. I hope the coaching staff can get this team focused in the second half, but then they're an enormous part of the problem, so I'm not holding my breath.