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Bad First Half Proves Costly for UCLA Football

Despite a much better 2nd half, the UCLA Offense picked up where it left off last week during the first half against Washington State and it cost them the game.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State outlasted the Bruins tonight at Martin Stadium in Pullman.

Washington State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on Erik Powell’s first field goal of the season. The Cougars added a touchdown in the second quarter on a one-yard TD run by Gerald Wicks to make it 10-0 at the half.

After a lackluster first half, Mike Fafaul looked like a different quarterback in the second half. He was 6 of 12 for 84 yards with no interceptions in the first half, but, in the second half, he played better, going 18 of 28 for 174 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs.

Of course, one of those interceptions came at the worst time for UCLA, as they were trying to finish a comeback that saw them cut the 17-point deficit they had at the start of the fourth quarter to just six points.

But late game turnovers proved costly.

With the Bruins down by just six and less than three minutes to go, Washington State punted, giving UCLA the ball back on the Bruins’ 30-yard line. UCLA got lucky on the return as Randall Goforth fumbled, but the ball was recovered by Soso Jamabo.

However, on the very next play, Jordan Lasley fumbled after making a 13-yard reception. This time, the ball was recovered by the Cougars.

But, Tom Bradley’s defense, which played well all game, came through yet again by holding Wazzu to a 3-and-out. The ensuing punt was downed by the Cougars at the 2-yard line.

Two plays later, Fafaul threw his second interception of the game and that was all she wrote.

Unfortunately, football is a game consisting of four quarters and when you spend the first two quarters doing absolutely nothing on offense, it’s harder to win. UCLA had six drives during the first half. Five of those drives ended in punts including one punt that actually went for negative yardage, meaning that and 4th down and 11 yards from their own 43-yard line, UCLA would have had the same result if they tried to run the ball.

Ok, well, maybe they would have gained a few yards since the Cougar defense would be expecting a pass. But, the rushing game was again non-existent. UCLA rushed 25 times for only 43 yards.

The bottom line though was Mora the same: No rushing game, lots of punting, and too little, too late offensively.

Go Bruins.