The backup quarterback in college football has a unique ability to jumpstart an offense. Cardale Jones, Kedon Slovis, and so on. Plug-and-play.
For stretches this Saturday, UCLA Bruins’ backup quarterback Austin Burton made true on that trend, rallying late to bring the Bruins within a margin of respectability against the Oregon State Beavers.
Burton, replacing an injured (and struggling) Dorian Thompson-Robinson, displayed a steadiness that Thompson-Robinson hadn’t, especially in the second half.
But it was too little, too late after the Bruins found themselves in a 21-point hole after only six minutes into the ballgame.
A third of the Beavers 21-point opening run was only made possible by a recovered onside kick. Yes, a recovered onside kick. It’s really been that sorta season.
After that inexcusable start, the Bruins began to string together scoring drives — including a 75-yard touchdown dash from the electric Demetric Felton, but were unable to stymie the Beavers’ offense whatsoever.
Beavers quarterback Jake Luton torched the Bruins’ pass defense, completing 18 of 25 passes for 285 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. On the ground, Beavers running back Artavis Pierce totaled 119 yards on only 21 carries, including a 53-yard long.
Entering tonight’s ballgame, the Beavers had lost 18 of their last 19 Pac-12 matchups. Despite these in-conference struggles, the Beavers scored at-will and cruised to a 17-point victory against the Bruins on the road.
During a season of utter disappointment, Chip Kelly has, once again, somehow managed to outdo himself. What was once an easy win for the Bruins has turned into another convincing loss.
Attendance at the Rose Bowl is waning dramatically and rightfully so. Outside of Demetric Felton’s flashes, not much about these Bruins has been worth watching.
With the Pac-12’s sudden turnaround — Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Arizona State are all 4-1, among others — the Bruins are looking at a potential last place finish in-conference,
It’s time to stop caring about who Chip Kelly was in some other place at some other time. It’s time to care about who he is now: an outdated, inflexible coach.