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UCLA Loses 26-17 to the Cincinnati Bearcats

Too much of the same old Bruins, in all facets of the game, were on full display in this home opener at the Rose Bowl.

Cincinnati v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching the tale of two quarters in the first half, I am sure we were all wondering what Bruins team was going to show up after the half. Much of the issues that made this team unwatchable last year were on full display during that second quarter and pretty much the entire game.

UCLA started the second half strong on both sides of the ball. UCLA limited the Bearcats to a quick punt, and then in what looks to be maybe UCLA’s biggest weapon, Kazmeir Allen exploded to the right on a hand-off from Thompson-Robinson, and exploded is an appropriate word to describe his 74 yard touchdown run at the 12:49 mark to tie up the game 17-17.

The third quarter pretty much had both teams exhibiting football that reflected the amount of underclassmen on both teams. Missed tackles, penalties, and dropped balls were all on full display.

UCLA started the 4th quarter the recipient of some questionable play calling by Luke Fickell. Fickell had 3rd and 4 at UCLA’s 32 yard line, and he decided to pass, and that brought 4th and 4 yards to go. Fickell went for it, and Desmond Ridder threw an incomplete pass to Michael Warren II to give the ball to UCLA.

UCLA could not get any momentum from that defensive stop and immediately punted it back to the Bearcats.

The Bearcats received a big blow on their next drive as Michael Warren II was injured and left the game. On the very next play Desmond Ridder was sacked by Lokeni Toailoa, and Cincinnati had to punt and pinned UCLA inside their 20 yard line.

In what was the play of the game, Chip Kelly returned the questionable play calling favor by asking Dorian Thompson-Robinson to drop back to pass deep in UCLA territory. DTR was sacked by Cortez Broughton and fumbled the ball into the end-zone where Caleb Wilson recovered for a Cincinnati safety. The Bearcats went up 19-17. The Bearcats then had a great return on the kick and good field position, but the Bruins defense held and forced a punt.

In what turned out to be another huge turn in the game, and what was plain and simply a bad call by Chip Kelly. Kelly went for it on 4th and 1 at his own 36 yard line with over 5 minutes remaining in the game. To make matters worse, Kelly called a pass play, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed incomplete to Dymond Lee.

Cincinnati took over and in a battle of questionable play calls, Luke Fickell went for it on 4th and 2 instead of kicking a FG at the 9 yard line, and with Warren back in the game, he picked it up.

Chip used his timeouts and Cincinnati could not get the ball into the end-zone, and UCLA forced a Cincy FG attempt; however, UCLA was flagged for 12 men on the field. The penalty persuaded Cincinnati to go for it, and Michael Warren II ran for 1 yard TD to put Cincinnati up 26-17.

Final Thoughts

Highs and lows will be the name of the game this year when you have as many underclassmen as the Bruins have. It is going to take a while for these Bruins to learn and grow.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson needs to start and take every single snap for the rest of the year. If we’re young, which we are, embrace the youngsters and let them learn on the job. Kazmeir Allen needs as many touches as he can get. Chip Kelly needs to dust off the rust as well, and hopefully this game will start that process, because Chip did not coach a good game today, and we did not bring Chip in to coach a game like that. Chip did not put DTR in quality positions to succeed, and granted, DTR did not play well, but it starts with the preparation and the play calls.

The Bruins will travel to Norman, Oklahoma next Saturday to take on the 1-0 No. 7 ranked Oklahoma Sooners at the Gaylord-Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 10 A.M. kickoff.

The Sooners easily won their kickoff game against Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls 63-14.