The first half was somewhat of a bizarro Virginia game. The defense that was so good last week got pushed around for three long TD drives. Fortunately, the offense found a great rhythm, established a steady run game behind the return of center Jake Brendel, and mixed in a solid passing game to put up 28 points. At the half, the Bruins lead the Memphis Tigers 28-14. The first half stats can be found here.
The Bruins offense showed some life from the outset as the Bruins got a steady run game going and beganmixing in strikes from Brett Hundley. The first drive was decent, but stalled after a sack. The second drive, however, finished with a Paul Perkins 17 yard run for a touchdown. Ka'imi Fairbairn missed the PAT though to give the Bruins a 6-0 lead.
Memphis then followed that with a solid 75 yard drive led by their mobile QB who scored on a 8 yard rushing touchdown just before the end of the quarter. The Tigers made their PAT and took a 7-6 lead.
But the Bruins weren't done scoring in the first quarter. Hundley responded immediately and dropped a 62 dime into the hands of Kenny Walker on the best deep ball Brett has thrown as a Bruin. Fairbairn converted this time to put U.C.L.A. back up 13-7.
The Tigers came right back with another consistent 75 yard touchdown drive against a defense that got no sustained pressure and repeatedly let the QB roll out and convert the same play multiple times to take a 14-13 lead.
The Bruins following drive saw the debut of true freshman Nathan Starks who promptly busted a big first down run. Jordan Payton had a tough catch and run and a face mask penalty got the Bruins in the red zone, where Hundley found Thomas Duarte alone on a deep out at the pylon to retake the lead 20-14.
The defense happily forced a Memphis punt and Hundley and the offense started finding a nice rhythm. Another big play to Duarte got the ball to the 4 and Perkins finished the drive on the next play. Hundley completed a pass to Tyler Scott for the 2 pt conversion and the Bruins were up 28-14.
The missing defense promptly gave up an 85 yard touchdown drive on 4 plays in just over a minute to make it 28-21 to cap the scoring for the first half.
In this second half, the Bruins absolutely need to find some more intensity on defense. Memphis rolled up 310 yards in and 15 first down in the first half and faced surprisingly little pressure. The defensive line which was so good last week put little pressure on the Tigers QB and allowed a consistent run game. On the other side of the ball, the Bruins offense looked like what we were expecting this season with a steady run game and Hundley throwing strikes.
Let's see if the defense can make some much needed adjustments and if we can play a good half on both sides of the ball.