Here’s a recap of how this game has gone:
Stanford is the best defensive team UCLA has faced this year, so it’s not surprising that the team has had difficulty scoring. The troubling thing so far has been that the problems have been issues of execution rather than solid play by the Cardinal. Receiver drops have ended 2 Bruin drives inside the red zone, so instead of 7 points, the Bruins have been forced to kick field goals. It’s not a recipe for success, so here’s hoping the execution gets better next half.
The offense has adapted throughout the game, however. Rosen was a bit jittery to start the game, so Jedd Fisch switched to a series of quick outs to settle him down, and Rosen was able to get into a rhythm. The run game, as well, has started to show signs of life, in part because Stanford has had to focus on stopping the Bruin passing game.
On defense, Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst tried running....and was immediately knocked out of the game. Signs are that his night is done after possibly receiving a concussion. UCLA returned the favor by having Adarius Pickett get ejected from the game for a targeting penalty. It’s an unpopular call, but by the letter of the law it was the correct one.
Against a rotating squad of backup QBs, UCLA’s defense has looked....alright for part of the game. Once Chryst was knocked out, the Bruin defense really stopped respecting the Stanford pass game, loading the box and sending some unique blitzes at the backup QBs. Unfortunately, Bryce Love finally broke out for a few long gains and Stanford was able to score a touchdown near the end of the half. And on a last drive before the half, UCLA’s defense really started to collapse, allowing big runs combined with big passes over the middle. Jaleel Wadood in particular has been struggling in a return back from a concussion, trying to do too much rather than play within himself.
UCLA needs to figure things out in a hurry if they want to end the streak. We could be looking at Jim Mora’s Last Stand.
Y’ALL I WROTE ALL THAT AND THEN THEO HOWARD FUMBLED THE BALL. THIS IS A STRAIGHT END-OF-HALF COLLAPSE. SEND HELP.