Updated with more injury news at 10:27p. - D
I don’t even know what to write in these anymore.
This game was actually close at halftime, and then the UCLA defense finally arrived at the stadium to start the second half. And from the start of the second half, the rout was on.
Utah scored 27 points in between UCLA touchdowns, and kept adding on points late despite committing to only running the ball in an attempt to run out the clock. Seriously: Utah began a drive at their own 25 yard line with 9:59 left in the game, and managed to march all the way down the field for a touchdown by running the ball 8 times, finishing the drive with a 2 yard touchdown pass. The drive took up 6:32 of game time.
There really isn’t much to say at this point. Utah completely manhandled UCLA in every facet of the game. The final stats are telling. Utah doubled up the Bruins on offense, gaining 506 yards compared to 249 for the Bruins (and if you’re wondering, yes, this game absolutely takes the shine off of Jedd Fisch’s tenure thus far). Utah was very balanced offensively, gaining 272 yards on the ground compared to 234 passing yards, but it really felt like the Utes could have just handed the ball off on every play and still moved down the field with efficiency. I’m beyond the point where I can even discuss the coaching ability of anyone on the defensive side of the ball, because it’s hard to discuss theoretical impossibilities.
The UCLA offense was a huge disappointment in this game. Obviously, not having Josh Rosen hurts, but the offensive gameplan from Jedd Fisch was uninspired, confining a quarterback with the ability to run in Devon Modster into a pure pocket passer (and apparently receiver at one point). The UCLA running game isn’t the strong suit of this team, but suddenly you have to consider just how bad the passing attack looked without a top NFL prospect throwing the ball.
And, not to be left out, there were plenty of injuries for the Bruins in this game. Darren Andrews went out in the 4th quarter with a non-contact knee injury, while Ainuu Taua suffered his own knee injury at the end of the first half. Devon Modster was knocked out of the game with a thumb injury, while Krys Barnes left the game with fluid in his lungs. Keisean Lucier-South and Jaelan Phillips missed parts of the game with injuries of their own. Darnay Holmes managed to pick up a late targeting penalty, so he won’t be in for the first half of next week’s game versus ASU.
As an aside, what’s the over/under on ASU fans outnumbering UCLA fans at the Rose Bowl next week?
I wrote on Twitter that, for all his faults, Steve Alford managed to give back his contract extension until he felt that he had earned it back. And yet is there any doubt from UCLA fans that Jim Mora won’t do the same thing? Do I honestly have more faith in the basketball program under Alford than I do with the football program under Mora?
Because, if we’re being honest, that’s where we’re at now. There’s no doubt that UCLA football is in a death spiral, and the odds are closer to this team matching last year’s 4-8 record than them making a bowl game.