It took what seems like ages to finally arrive, but the Bruins kicked off the 2014 season.
The score at the half is 21-10 with UCLA leading. You'd expect that to mean the offense played well and the defense was just okay. Polar opposites in reality.
Brett Hundley kicked things off great with a deep connection down the sideline to Eldridge Massington, beautiful ball. The Bruins drive stalled out inside the 30 after a Logan Sweet drop, a stuffed run and tipped pass. Kaimi Fairbairn then pushed a 45-yard FG wide to come up with no points on the first drive.
The defense held fast on the first Cavaliers possession, forcing a punt. Eric Kendricks made 4 or 5 tackles on that drive alone.
Moved down the field initially crisply, chunk pass after chunk pass. Again the drive stalled out on the Cavaliers side of the field. Dropped pass by Devin Fuller, a holding penalty and two sacks. Punt gave UVA the ball back.
Same story for the defense. Kenny Clark terrorizing the interior line of UVA.
Ishmael Adams had a punt return TD taken away after Priest Willis had his helmet knocked off and continued playing. Amazing blocking by the punt team, nobody ever really had a chance at Adams. Those are the rules though, nobody's fault.
Another stuffed run inside, followed by a drop by Thomas Duarte. Alex Redmond flinched for a false start and forced a 3rd and 17. A 10-yard pass to Devin Lucien wasn't enough and UCLA had to punt once again.
Once again, the defense shut down the Virginia offense, forcing another quick punt.
The offense decided to expedite the process early. With a drop on 1st down by Steven Manfro and a sack on 2nd down, the 3rd of the game. Eldridge Massington had a big mental error on what should have been a 20-yard completion and the Bruins had to punt once again.
The defense appeared tired of just stopping the Cavaliers and scored on their own after pressure from Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Deon Hollins forced an interception by Ishmael Adams, which Adams took back for a TD, giving UCLA a 7-0 lead.
A quick 3-and-out by the UVA offense gave Hundley and the offense another chance to get on the board.
Devin Lucien started things with a holding penalty. Brett Hundley made a terrible read on a read-option, then Steven Manfro dropped his 2nd pass of the day and then the offensive line imploded again on 3rd and long.
UCLA's defense had their first real problem of the day, with UVA moving the ball on some solid playcalling, utilizing pick plays to chunk off some yardage into UCLA territory. Myles Jack made a great play breaking up a slant on 3rd and 5 to force a FG attempt, which the Cavaliers delivered on making the score 7-3 in favor of UCLA.
The UCLA offense again did nothing to help the cause. Najee Toran had a rough first half of his college career. 3-and-out and the defense headed back on to the field.
The defense once again took things into their own hands, as Priest Willis forced a fumble and Randall Goforth scooped it up and took it back for the defense's 2nd touchdown of the game, making the score 14-3.
That was quickly followed by Eric Kendricks reading an out route by UVA's running back and breaking to pick it off and score UCLA's 3rd defensive touchdown of the game and put the Bruins up 21-3.
The Virginia offense switched QBs and the playcalling was outstanding by them. Took two shots down the sideline with a single-high safety (meaning it was true 1-on-1 coverage) and the Cavalier receivers made two great plays to end up scoring and making it 21-10 in favor of the Bruins.
A really pitiful performance by the offense that was saved by the defense making three huge plays and saving this from being a disastrous half of football to start the year.
Let's keep it going in the 2nd half, hope that the N-Zone actually shows up in Charlottesville today.