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UCLA Struggles Again, Falls to San Diego State, 23-14

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Chip Kelly’s offense faltered throughout, mustering only 261 yards and pushing the Bruins to another 0-2 start.

NCAA Football: San Diego State at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins’ best moment of the first half came early. After Kyle Phillips kickstarted the Bruins’ offense with a 30-yard punt return to the Aztecs’ 41-yard line, Dorian Thompson-Robinson found Greg Dulcich and Jaylen Erwin early. Then, Joshua Kelley — who the Bruins sorely missed in last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats — capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The rest of the first half, unfortunately, belonged to the Aztecs.

The Aztecs responded with a touchdown drive of their own, capitalizing on a drive-sustaining pass interference in the red zone by Bruins DB Elijah Gates. After Aztecs RB Chase Jasmin punched in the tying score, Bruins TE Mike Martinez fumbled on the Aztecs’ 48-yard line. The Aztecs, once again, took advantage of a Bruin blunder, converting on a 43-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Bruins again unable to create any offense. Inexplicable penalties, a missed 45-yard field goal, and curious time management led the UCLA faithful to shower Chip Kelly with a chorus of boos as the first half closed.

The second half wasn’t much better.

After Dorian Thompson-Robinson was stripped by the Aztecs on the Bruins’ opening drive, Aztecs QB Ryan Agnew struck WR Kobe Smith for a 34-yard touchdown pass. The Bruins finally flashed some life late in the third quarter, when DTR found Greg Dulcich for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Aztecs’ lead. This score, however, was the only offense that the Bruins mustered in the second half.

The Bruins were unable to open up the field on offense whatsoever, their last four drives leading to two punts and two turnover on downs — the Bruins totaled a meager 261 yards to the Aztecs’ 373. The Aztecs maintained control throughout much of the fourth quarter, extending their lead to 23-14 on two field goals from kicker Matt Araiza. As the game clock ticked towards zero, the Rose Bowl was once again rocked with boos. After another miserable performance by the Bruins, what words can be said?

The Bruins now sit at 0-2, the first time that they’ve begun back-to-back seasons 0-2 since the 1942 and 1943 seasons. As if that wasn’t enough, today’s victory marked the Aztecs’ first victory ever against the Bruins. Is this the history Chip Kelley wanted to make when he first came to Westwood?

With the Bruins slated to host the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners next Saturday, things aren’t going to get any easier for Chip Kelly.