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The "Eye Test": UCLA Defines Season Perfectly In Alamo Bowl Win

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Grading out the finer details of UCLA's 40-35 win in the Alamo Bowl over the Kansas State Wildcats to see if UCLA football is meeting expectations.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I learned nothing about UCLA's football team in 2014.

Now, I reaffirmed a ton of things.

1. That UCLA is one of the 10-20 best football teams in the NCAA.

2. That Brett Hundley is one of the 3 best QBs in the NCAA.

3. That the UCLA offensive line had some flaws.

4. That UCLA's front 7 might be the most physically talented group in the nation.

5. That Jeff Ulbrich was not capable of being a top 20 DC in 2014, but may have some potential to do so down the road.

6. That Noel Mazzone's offense is not overly A) creative B) complicated C) effective against high level defensive teams D) capable of fully utilizing the skill set of Brett Hundley E) expensive if you are interested on purchasing it online. But that it is capable of getting you to 9 wins. Which is fine, but is the equivalent of choosing a ham sandwich and a cheap beer when another person at your table (Oregon) is eating filet mignon and lobster with a really expensive bottle of wine.

7. That Kennedy Polamalu is a damn fine football coach and that the small negative of him being involved with Southern Cal did not make him any less talented or effective at his job.

8. That Eric Kendricks is an exceptional football player.

9. That UCLA is either the most and 2nd most physically talented team in the Pac-12.

10. That UCLA is not on the same level as Championship Contending teams (Oregon, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Baylor, TCU, Michigan State) when it comes to consistency, coaching, identity as an offense or defense, discipline in regards to penalties, or possession of an explosive, game changing talent at the skill positions.

Right now, for a variety of reasons, UCLA is not in that top group. They are in the group below that, which is still a very high level of team.

Programs like LSU, Clemson, Arizona, Missouri, Arizona State, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Louisville, Georgia, Boise State, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas State. That is where the Bruins are as a football program in January of 2014.

The question moving forward is: How does UCLA go from that group into the group above it?

I do not know what the exact answer to that question is. I do know that I am excited, nervous and anxious all at once to find out.

Let's get to the grades:

1.) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play?

The first half was as well called and schemed of a half as the Bruins defense has had all year. Looked dominant up front and physical but smart in the secondary. Not counting a kneel down at the end of the half, UCLA gave up just 121 yards on 31 offensive snaps.

3.9 yards per play.

That is impressive.

4 sacks, 5 TFLS and an additional gain of zero yards. An interception in the red zone, a fumble recovery, a 3-and-out on a drive that started at the UCLA 15-yard line, two other 3-and-outs.

That is dominance, no other way to put it.

But...

What happened in the 2nd half was not as fun to watch.

298 yards on 47 plays (which is a ton of plays in one half). That's an exceptionally underwhelming 6.3 yards per play.

In the first drive of the 2nd half, the KSU offense converted a 3rd and 6, and 3rd and 5, 3rd and 13, a 4th and 3, and a 4th and goal.

They also converted a 4th and 1, a 3rd and 3, a 3rd and 5 (via pass interference), a 4th and 6 (10 yards of penalties after forcing a 3rd and 10 and 4th and 11 on the same set of downs).

Then the really embarrassing final defensive drive after the non-interception by Priest Willis. 19, 12, 15, 29 yard gains after a PI negated an INT. Can't have that happen.

So there is a balance there. The first half is an unquestionable A+. The second half is probably somewhere in the C-or D+ range because I do note that they had to play 20 minutes and defend 44 plays in the first 25 minutes of the 2nd half.

Overall a B- (2.7) feels okay.

Pressures on pass plays:

  1. Eric Kendricks sack on the first KSU offensive snap. I talk about this play elsewhere. Know that I loved it.
  2. Deon Hollins with an insane inside move to get a QB hit on the 2nd play of the game.
  3. Nice inside pressure on a 3rd and 13 by Ellis McCarthy. Got a ton of push on the right guard and rushed the throw by Waters. Jaleel Wadood also coming late off the edge from safety.
  4. Deon Hollins sack on a 3rd down in KSU territory. Straight effort sack. Gets stoned on his initial rush, kind of goes Cowboy a bit to slip all the way underneath the rest of the defensive line to get into a passing/running window as Waters is stepping into it.
  5. Deon Hollins reroutes a TE slipping into the flat, but reaccelerates towards Waters quick enough to force a bad throw. Hell of a day from Deon.
  6. Ishmael Adams amongst others on basically a jailbreak blitz on a 3rd down and 2 in the 2nd quarter. Forces a rushed, poor throw.
  7. Deon Hollins getting his 2nd sack. Nice rip move to the outside.
  8. Marcus Rios sacked while unblocked coming from the slot. Forces a fumble. Big time play at the end of the half.
  9. Hollins on a 3rd and 6 play to open the 2nd half. I'm pretty confident he got tackled and not pancaked, but it could go either way.
  10. Owamagbe Odighizuwa basically beats the RT with the same inside move that Hollins used. It looks so awesome on tape. Instant pressure in your face as a QB is basically impossible to deal with.
  11. Eli Ankou forces a rushed throw away by Waters on a 2nd and 2. Effort rush after getting stopped initially.
  12. Eric Kendricks on another delayed rush up the middle. An exotic 4-man rush gets pressure. Just let talent win with a little help. Gets his 2nd sack of the game.
  13. Deon Hollins and Takkarist McKinley force a rushed throw by not biting on a play fake. Good job by both.
  14. Owa works insanely hard on a 1st and 10 late in the 4th to force a bad throw by Waters. Is double teamed by the TE and RT, but battles upfield, then wraps underneath both to flush Waters toward the left sideline.
  15. Deon Hollins gets his 3rd sack with another rip move to the outside. His 3rd sack of the same and 7th pressure of the game by my count.

2.) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard?

If you like raw numbers, this was a pretty solid offensive performances against a good KSU defense.

467 yards on just 63 plays. That's over 7 yards per play, which is astounding against any defense.

Averaging 8.5 yards per carry will allow for that gaudy of a number and all facets of the running game were effective in this game. The stretch plays to Perkins, the zone read game, the inside zone, those triple option to the WR looks, and of course the patented "Save my ass on 3rd down" Brett Hundley scrambles.

The passing game leaves something to be desired sure. I did not expect Hundley to leave UCLA on a 136 yard passing performance, but he was better than those numbers show. Couple of drops, including what would have been a 50+ yard play to Thomas Duarte, hurt as well as a few missed throws. Had the 3rd quarter gone differently, these numbers would have looked much better.

The actual play calling in the first half was the best I have ever seen UCLA's offense under Noel Mazzone look. Crisp, efficient, catching the opponent off guard, utilizing the strengths of the team. It was fun.

The 2nd half was not so fun. Both sides of the coin are counted here, totaling for a still pleasant grade of B (3.0).

3.) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times?

General Observations:

  • The first drive for this offense was beautifully scripted and run to perfection by the entire team. Huge props to Noel Mazzone for that.
  • The first TD run by Hundley was a great call. KSU is playing NIckel with their safety to the single WR side basically in the middle of the field against a 3x1. All that means is that Brett has to beat KSU's ILB and he scores. That ILB drops to the 3 WR side to compensate for a inside breaking route from the slot WR and Hundley strolls into the endzone. Love the design and that is something that Hundley will be able to do at the next level as well.
  • The first play on defense was beautifully exotic. 7-man front with a man coverage shell and just 1 LB on the 2nd level. A look that UCLA has not shown all season to start a game. KSU had no clue how to divy up their pass protection initially. They actually do a phenomenal job of picking up all 6 initial rushers. But Eric Kendricks comes on a delayed blitz right up the middle to make the sack.
  • Sneaky play that NFL scouts will like from Hundley. Sees a corner blitz on a 1st and 10, checks it, sends James into the flat on a flare, hits him in stride over the blitzing corner. If not for an Alex Redmond penalty and a missed block by Mossi Johnson, it probably gets 8-ish yards on 1st down.
  • Myles Jack's interception is exactly why you just leave him at LB and let him ball the hell out. He basically flips his hips and runs a perfect seam route down the middle of the field. You have to have played football to fully understand how crazy that is to do. Insane play that I've only seen three linebackers make and I distinctly remember the plays. Derrick Brooks, Brian Urlacher and Patrick Willis. That's it. I know others have, but there is a long list of great backers that could not do that.
  • What is Ishmael Adams doing not fair catching the punt that he got lit up on by Lockett? Know where you are on the field.
  • In addition to showing what he can do earlier in the game, on a 1st and 10 late in the first half Myles Jack showed why he should just be allowed to be a non-pass rushing LB. Just does not have high level natural pass rushing skills or instincts. It is by far the weakest part of his game, which is fine and not a criticism. Just needs to be a cut down on people talking like he can be Anthony Barr. Because he cannot. Is not going to happen and would be a waste of his insane NFL-level skill set in coverage to try and force him into that role.
  • Glenn Gronkowski had about 5 plays where he just looked totally lost trying to block. Like let guys like Jack and Eddie Vanderdoes and Kendricks run right past him for TFLs. Really odd.
  • Aaron Wallace gets stuck in zone coverage as a result of UCLA sending somewhat needless pressure with Ishmael Adams on a 3rd and 13 on KSU's opening 2nd half drive. Since he's basically been playing DE all year, not exactly shocking he didn't drop deep enough to the middle of the field. Not a fan of that blitz call and the random surge in blitzes at the start of the half. Just play your defense, especially in 3rd and 13 situations. I don't want Wallace covering slant routes. I'd rather have him rush and Adams cover the shallow middle.
  • And then you have your 2nd string defense in on the next play because the drive has lasted so long. Isaako Savaiinaea gets sucked in, as does Myles Jack,  making it an easy 8 yard pick up on the keep for Jake Waters.
  • Why on earth is Fabian Moreau giving 6 yards of cushion to Lockett on a 4th and 2 play? It is man coverage, why are you lining up you defensive backs that far off the ball? Easiest conversion I've seen in a while.
  • Eric Kendricks explodes the first play after the Perkins fumble for a 5-yard loss. Just runs right past the center at the snap. That's film study.

As always, the penalties are taken on a play-by-play basis:

1. A holding call on a punt return by Priest Willis. From my perspective on the replay, it looked like Willis just physically dominated the KSU guy and he fell down. Looked exactly the same as the first punt where it went uncalled. It isn't Willis' fault that he's strong enough to drive their gunner to the ground.

2. Block in the back by Mossi Johnson negates a big gain by Devin Fuller on that triple option play. Good call, Mossi pushes dude right in the back in front of the ref.

3. Block in the back by Alex Redmond. Again, easy call.

4. Hands to the face personal foul on Deon Hollins on Jake Waters' 25 yard run up the middle. Easy call again. Has to get the hand off.

5. Personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct on Caleb Benenoch. Easy call again. After a failed 3rd down attempt, probably not the ideal time to "X-out" the opposing team/sideline. Cost UCLA 15 yards of field position and was probably fairly responsible for Matt Mengel out kicking the coverage on the ensuing punt. Luckily, UCLA's defense picked it up with a 3-and-out in the redzone.

6. Offsides by Owa. Just jumped the count. KSU false starts on the next play to kind of cancel it out. Still a needless penalty.

7. Unnecessary roughness on Myles Jack for lowering his head at a diving QB. Easy call.

8. False start by Connor McDermott. First play of the drive. Makes a 1st and 10 into 1st and 15.

9. Holding on Scott Quessenberry. Again, easy call. Negates a 1st down, although it wouldn't have been a 1st down without the hold.

10. Pass interference on Anthony Jefferson. Fair call. Gives KSU a 1st down instead of a 4th down where they'd have gone for it anyway.

11. Offsides on Deon Hollins. Pretty easy. Instead of 3rd and 10, it becomes 3rd and 5. Making a tough 3rd down manageable is not good.

12. Illegal substitution by UCLA. Gives KSU a shot to convert 4th and 6. Again, this should have been a 3rd and long, and then just an easy punt situation. Penalties hurt.

13. Personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct on Myles Jack for throwing a player down well after the whistle. He also flexes at the sideline after this play, where UCLA had just given up a 1st down inside the 5-yard line. I probably would advise my players not to do things like that. But, I'm an innovator like that sometimes.

14. False start by McDermott. Procedural penalties are frustrating.

15. Hands to the face by Priest Willis on a 1st and 10 after UCLA had taken back a 2-score lead. He got his head turned the wrong way, flipped his hips to fix that and accidentally made contact with the facemask instead of the shoulder. Really tough break after about 38 minutes of Willis' best game that I can remember.

I can't fully express how bad the penalty situation has been under Jim Mora. I try to keep this as a single game analysis, but knowing how this negatively impacts the team week after week makes that nearly impossible.

Flat out must be fixed moving forward and I believe it starts with accountability. First, as a coach by admitting you were wrong about penalties not mattering. Then, as a leader by holding players responsible for their actions. You commit a personal foul? Out for the rest of the series or the quarter or the game or however you need to discipline players for being reckless, selfish or both and make it stick in their heads.

The content in this section aside from the penalties is probably about a B+, but the penalties drag that into the C+ (2.3) range.

Penalties do matter.

4.) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game?

This was a tougher one. The effort was actually in question on that final defensive drive after the called off interception. Just a bad look in a game that was still in doubt.

Part of that was probably just fatigue because they were on the field for 20 of the first 25 minutes of the 2nd half. Defending 44 plays in 20 minutes of game time is absurd.

I'll go with a C+ (2.3) here.

5.) Do our players execute?

General Observations:

  • Not a particularly good start to the game for Connor McDermott. Gets beaten around the edge on the first snap. Luckily the rest of the line did very well and Hundley was able to step through the pocket for a completion.
  • The inside move by Deon Hollins on the 2nd play of the game was filthy. Right tackle had to have been watching film and compensating for that speed rush Hollins shows with his insane get-off at the snap. RT overcompensates outside, Hollins come inside right at the snap and gets essenitally a free shot on Jake Waters. I cannot emphasize enough how much confidence that move working on the 2nd snap must have given Hollins the rest of the game. Pass rushers live for that. It is amazing tape to put out there for his future.
  • While he did not have a particularly great game, Priest Willis was the biggest reason why Ishmael Adams got yardage on his 9-yard punt return. Willis does a textbook job of stopping the gunner on the left side. Dude is maybe 20 yards downfield when Adams catches (muffs, really) the punt 50 yards from the line of scrimmage.
  • Caleb Benenoch, Scott Quessenberry and Jake Brendel spring Paul Perkins for his 30-yard run in the 1st quarter. Great job by all three, as well as Jordan Payton showing why he'll be a steady #3 WR in the NFL with his run blocking downfield.
  • Next play, not much of a job by Devin Fuller blocking on that triple option look. Payton only gets 2 yards because Fuller gives up the outside.
  • Footwork while throwing on the run probably cost Hundley a couple of yards on a 2nd and 3 conversion to Mossi Johnson. Still got the 1st, but I think Johnson makes a guy miss if he doesn't have to shoestring catch it before running.
  • Really nice route and ball placement by Devin Lucien and Brett Hundley on a 2nd and 18. Get 13 yards to make it 3rd and manageable.
  • Read option run perfectly on Hundley's 2nd TD run. Untouched for 28 yards for a touchdown on 4th and 3.
  • Something I did not see very often this season on the last play of the 1st quarter. Kenny Clark getting pancaked at the point of attack on a 6-yard run. Shows what a team concept stopping the run is. The other 10 guys do a good job, but 1 guy makes it into a 6-yard gain instead of nothing.
  • Unintentional, but still not good. Jalen Ortiz accidentally almost tackles Adams on a kickoff return. Not ideal.
  • Ellis McCarthy on a 1st and 10 play in the 2nd quarter showing off his ridiculous strength. Away from the play, but he throws #77 on KSU to the ground like a parent throwing their kid in the pool. Also a fantastic route to the ball on a run by Anthony Jefferson to make a tackle for a short gain.
  • Not a good ball or pass block on the 3rd and 7 failed conversion late in the 2nd quarter. Benenoch gets beat inside late and Hundley doesn't step into his throw as a result. Ball goes short, Bruins punt. Both should do better.
  • Priest Willis has basically perfect coverage on a big reception down the sideline by Tyler Lockett. Gets his hands on him, but not enough to warrant a flag. Uses his size to force him down the sideline without any room. Even gets a hand up as soon as Lockett's hands go up for the ball. Lockett just makes an insane play on the ball. Willis did a nice job on Lockett outside of getting beat on that double move in the 4th quarter, especially in the 1st half. He and Ishmael Adams did good jobs getting physical but staying smart for the 1st half.
  • In fact, on the very next play Willis locks down Lockett. Clearly that was Waters' decision of where to go with the ball and when he is covered, he holds the ball and gets sacked by Hollins for the 2nd time.
  • Adams has good instincts on a catch that Lockett had on a slant, he just comes off the route way too soon. Should not have been a 14-yard gain.
  • The 40-yard run on 3rd and 11 by Brett Hundley is not possible to describe fully. Almost 100% individual effort on an atrocious play call. Cannot teach someone to make that play.
  • Can we talk about how Ka'imi Fairbairn made 82% (18-22) of his FGs this season? Like that is low-key great for a college kicker. For all the flack he has caught, some justified and some not so much, he really developed this season. Will look forward to his season next year.
  • Great pull by Jake Brendel on a 20-yard run by Perkins in the 4th quarter. Looked great in space.
  • Outstanding job after being called for a false start by McDermott to seal a linebacker on the 2nd level. He springs Perkins for the 67-yard TD run. He's going to be a very solid lineman if he keeps improving. I think he's probably a RT, but he's been passable at LT at least in the run game.
  • Awful play-call on the 2-point conversion. Giving the ball back to Perkins on a WR screen after he just had a 67-yard TD run is just baffling. But I suppose if you only have 5 plays, you can't sub in people who might be able to breathe. Or something like that.
  • Lackluster coverage by Marcus Rios on a 12-yard reception by Curry Sexton. Gives up too much ground too quickly.
  • Ishmael Adams with really minimal effort on the play right after the Willis non-interception. Slot runs a slant right in front of him and he just seems to drift back to the top of his zone without acknowledging the WR running in front of him with no LB help inside.
  • Priest Willis gets beat in Cover 3 on a double move by Lockett for the last TD. Has no reason to bite up, stay deeper than the deepest. If anything, this play shows why Willis is much better at corner than he would be at safety.

Some observations about the dropped passes, sacks, fumbles, interceptions and missed tackles:

  • I understand how insanely difficult that what I'm about to suggest would have been for Hundley to do, but I will say it anyway. First FG drive, 1st and 10 just inside the red-zone. KSU brings a slot cornerback that is untouched in pressure. Hundley has Perkins flaring out of the backfield in the same direction that the CB is vacating. To me, that has to be a quick lob out to Perkins. Hundley would've taken a hit and it is a difficult throw, but if he does it is probably a TD. Instead, he rolls right where there is one WR running a shallow route and then a late flare out to Nate Iese. Hundley tries to lead Iese down the sideline and it gets batted away out of bounds.
  • Ishmael Adams on Kansas State's first successful offensive play. Has position for a big hit and TFL on Tyler Lockett on a screen pass. Adams slips inside to be there, but it looked like he never saw the ball. Lockett gets 11 instead of losing 2.
  • Straight up drop by Thomas Duarte on a beautiful deep ball by Hundley. Would have been at least a 50-yard completion. Possibly a TD if Duarte can get a much smaller defender off of him. Goes through both hands.
  • One play later, straight up drop by Mossi Johnson on a slant on 3rd and 6. Easy conversion, good ball, good route. But Mossi tries to catch it with his body instead of his hands. Back-to-back drops to end a drive.
  • Jaleel Wadood gets beat on a double move by Lockett on a dropped TD pass. That's the scouting report. Lucky he dropped the pass.
  • Both Connor McDermott and Alex Redmond get schooled on the sack on a 3rd and 11 in the 2nd quarter. Terrible form by both.
  • <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>#68 was 2 steps out of his stance and had zero depth off LOS on sack of Hundley. I didn&#39;t even know it was physically possible to do that.</p>&mdash; Kyle Crabbs (@NDTScouting) <a href="https://twitter.com/NDTScouting/status/551181117387468800">January 3, 2015</a></blockquote>
  • <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

  • On the flipside, outstanding blocks by both on Perkins' 32-yard TD run. As well as Jordan Payton downfield, nothing new there.
  • Fumble by Perkins was helmet on a well secured ball. Not much he could have done. Benenoch gets beat inside, which is disappointing because he crushed Randy Mueller with his initial push off the line. Knocks him back two yards but does not stay on him.
  • Sure looked like a drop on 3rd and 10 in the 3rd quarter by Jordan Payton. Didn't get a great replay of it, but appeared to be an eminently catchable ball.
  • Really tough catch, but it did hit both hands of Thomas Duarte. I wouldn't call it a drop personally but I could see an argument being made.
  • Not a great job in pass blocking by Scott Quessenberry on the sack by Randy Mueller, but the ball should be out once you reach the top of your drop and come forward as a QB. Either the separation wasn't there downfield (from the cable camera angle they replayed, all I could see was Payton covered underneath) or Hundley couldn't find it because he never dropped his eyes to try and run, just didn't throw the ball.

I was pretty pleased with this section, to be honest. Don't think that the issues in the 2nd half were execution based. Think it was more Kansas State taking advantage of their adjustments (and turnovers/field position) on offense in the 2nd half and UCLA's staff assuming that 31-6 was enough of a lead to go conservative on offense.

Execution gets a B (3.0)

6.) Do we have leaders on the field?

I'd like to take a second to dish out a bit of the praise deserved to the leadership of the upperclassmen of this team.

  • Brett Hundley:

Somehow lived up to the Savior role he was thrown into at age 17/18. That should tell you everything you need to know about Brett. However the rest of his football career goes, he will be able to know that he was the rope that pulled UCLA out of the ashes as a football program.

  • Eric Kendricks:

EK. What can be said that hasn't already popped up over the years. Would not surprise me at all if he is the first Bruin drafted this season. The eyes of the sports world have finally opened up to the kind of football player that Kendricks is. A perfect send off in the Alamo Bowl for him. 9 tackles, 2 sacks. Ridiculous career. Best UCLA linebacker since Robert Thomas (1st round pick) and up there on the all-time list with any former Bruin.

  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa:

Missed the hell out of watching this dude play ball. Elite physical specimen with the character and brains in interviews to match. Cannot wait for Owa to tear it up on the Pro Day/Combine circuit. Also my favorite name to spell/pronounce (because I was good at it) and that will be greatly missed for selfish reasons.

  • Anthony Jefferson:

No player on UCLA's roster has been on the roller coaster ride of a career that Jefferson has. Insane to think how close Jefferson probably came to a medical retirement at one point. In a few months, he'll be in an NFL training camp. Phenomenal talent that finally shown through when he got healthy and got game reps. Rock solid football player. Versatile as hell as a DB. Not easy to replace and I hope he somehow gets that 6th year of eligibility to allow for another year of watching him wear the Blue and Gold.

  • Jordon James:

Not the easiest road for Jordon, but the numbers this season don't show how much James improved as a RB over the course of his career. Could not stand seeing him get touches his first two seasons. Then he showed flashes pre-injury in 2013 of the electric player he was in high school. 2014 showed a totally different player. Pass blocking took a huge leap. Downhill runner that got unlucky early in the year with some brutal offensive line play. He'd have had over 1000 yards if he had gotten the number of touches that Perkins did.

  • Ryan Hofmeister:

Being the perfect special teams player. All-Pac-12 representative multiple times and deservedly so. Occasional fill in at linebacker, even starting during a UCLA victory against Colorado (I believe). Was fun watching you tear it up and develop. IE football player that makes it big is always going to get appreciation from me.

  • The assorted group of Librado Baracio, Tre Hale, Malcolm Bunche and Drew Huusfeldt:

Thanks to Hale for the excessive eye black and special teams work, to Baracio for keeping Brett Hundley sane off the field and making the 1st string WRs work, to Bunche for taking up a leadership role as a graduate transfer and doing your best to hold down LT, LG and everywhere else the Bruins tried to fit you in, for Huusfeldt for being a Bruin and the thousands of hours of work you put in with no scholarship incentive.

This goes against the traditional style of my Eye Tests, but I am giving the leadership section an A (4.0) as a group achievement for this collection of players that will be leaving UCLA a completely different program then it was when they showed up in Westwood.

As a Bruin fan, I am deeply appreciative of that work on and off the field. No legal incidents, no embarrassing moments, just a positive impact that made me proud.

Grade Card for the Kansas State Wildcats

1.) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play? B- (2.7)

2.) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard? B (3.0)

3.) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times? C+ (2.3)

4.) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game? C+ (2.3)

5.) Do our players execute? B (2.0)

6.) Do we have leaders on the field? A (4.0)

Kansas State GPA: B (3.0)

As a recap of the year (though not as clean as dbear's graph), the season started with wins against Virginia [C+ (2.5)], Memphis [C (2.2)] and Texas [C (2.2)] that all saw UCLA look exceptionally mediocre.

That followed by a high point in the Arizona State win, a B+ (3.4).

The Bruins rode into their next two games and put up two straight losses at home to Utah, a C-/D+ (1.6) and Oregon, a D+ (1.3)

The back to back ugly and needlessly close wins over UC Berkeley C+ (2.5) and Colorado C (2.2) did nothing to quell the concerns over how the 2014 season was going.

Then, in the stretch run, the Bruins seemed to finally be headed towards the expectations laid out before them prior to the season. Three good wins in a row over Arizona, a B (3.1), Washington, a B (3.1) and Southern Cal, a season high A- (3.7).

It seemed like all was well headed into a home game against an immensely flawed Stanford team without their best offensive weapon. The Bruins looked to be headed to a 10-win regular season, a Pac-12 South championship and a trip to play Oregon with a worse case scenario of playing in the Fiesta Bowl and a best case scenario of making the College Football Playoff.

Instead the Bruin had their worst game of the season against Stanford, D+ (1.5). Technically the Oregon game is lower, but the context at the moment of both games needs to be taken into account there.

This game feels like the season as a whole to me.

UCLA is probably going to end up around 9th in the final CFP Rankings. 10 win season against a tough schedule. But so much left on the table.

Until next season from the Eye Test,

Go Bruins!