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UCLA Football: Stanford Post-Game Roundtable

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The writers and editors of Bruins Nation discuss UCLA’s 49-42 loss to the Stanford Cardinal.

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Initial thoughts on this game?

AnteatersandBruins: We scored enough points and put up enough yards to win. I don’t want to say the defense lost it for us because we had plenty of issues on offense that could have turned the tide of the game, but we never should have given up 49 points after last week’s showing. Overall, the game felt flat--on the field and in the stands. It’s like everyone was still hungover from Thanksgiving.

Markybcool: Pretty much the type of game we have grown accustomed to, Stanford pounding our defense. The only difference is that this year it was done through the air. Pretty tired of seeing the line of scrimmages dominated by other teams.

Dimitri Dorlis: While I’m not surprised the UCLA Bruins hasn’t overcome its pathological inability to defeat the Stanford Cardinal (a theme for some teams this past weekend), it was nice to see a UCLA team look like it belonged on the same field as Stanford for once.

Joe Piechowski: It was a definite letdown after the Southern Cal game, but we did look like we belonged on the same field for a change.

2. The offense had an interesting day. The running game just could not get going, yet the offense put up its highest yardage total of the year. How do you feel the game went?

AnteatersandBruins: We had it tough on the ground, which made no sense because Stanford’s defensive line was their liability all season. There was no reason that should have been an issue. Speight looked pretty darn good but couldn’t close the deal at the end of the game. So, like I said before, it just looked flat. We definitely have something to build on for next year, but I had us pegged as the winners in this one after the way we looked against Southern Cal. Classic laying of the egg.

Markybcool: Wilton Speight’s poise and experience was a definite help. He couldn’t quite make the plays needed to get the UCLA offense over the hump, but he played well enough and guided the offense to enough points to win most games.

Dimitri Dorlis: Stanford loaded the box, making the bet that Speight couldn’t beat them through the air and it did work, though Speight almost made them regret that choice. The important thing to note about this offense is that it’s so flexible that it can adapt easily based on what the opposing defense wants to do and still put up points.

Joe Piechowski: Sometimes, you can play well and still not win. That was the case here. The offense scored 42 points, but it wasn’t enough. The defense did a decent job stopping the Cardinal, but still gave up way too many points. I wouldn’t call it the hated “moral victory.” That said, considering how this team started the season, I would have predicted a 42-point loss if we had played them during the losing streak that started the year. So, I think, in general, this game showed that the team has, in fact, made progress, but, at the same time, they have a long way to go still.

3. The defense had no answer for Stanford’s bevy of large receivers, but were able to keep Bryce Love in check. How did you think they did?

AnteatersandBruins: The exact opposite of what I thought would happen, happened. I figured Love would be all over us and they wouldn’t have to bother passing. But, clearly, they knew all about our defensive backs and their struggles to cover this year. I’ll say, though, we have really limited our PI calls lately. Our DB’s have actually learned to turn around.

Markybcool: Shaw is smart and he knew, based on weeks and weeks of game film, that UCLA cannot pressure the QB. When you team that up with receivers and tight ends that are talented and big, it is a recipe for disaster.

Dimitri Dorlis: Yeah, it wasn’t really surprising. UCLA schemed to take away the run, but they don’t have the talent to pass rush with any consistency at the moment, which makes defending Stanford’s bevy of big talented receivers almost impossible.

Joe Piechowski: Yeah, the Bruins have really had a pass rush since the Cincinnati game. So, it made sense that Shaw attacked through the air.

4. Special teams update: one long return before the half gifted the Cardinal a field goal and momentum, but Darnay Holmes had a kick return touchdown. Rate their performance?

AnteatersandBruins: Can we have a special teams coach, please? It’s clearly a necessity. That Holmes touchdown was awesome, but the rest of the season cannot be ignored.

Markybcool: There were a couple of returns that created great opportunities for the Cardinal. This unit for the Bruins was bad once again, regardless of the Holmes return.

Dimitri Dorlis: One touchdown return does not fix the disaster that was this unit by the end. Also, I’m still unsure what happened to Flintoft.

Joe Piechowski: The long return before the half is on Chip. Period. He called timeout with 44 seconds to go on fourth down. UCLA was only going to be able to run one play in that situation. He should have let the clock run down to about 10 seconds so that only one play could be run. At worst, they still would have had to kickoff, but, by the end of the run, there would have been no time left to kick the field goal. Now, that said, it may not have affected the final outcome because the difference was seven points, but it could have, especially since UCLA would have taken a lead after their first drive of the second half.

5. The Extra Point - Sound off!!!

AnteatersandBruins: OK, I think my group might have been the only individuals in the world to pick up on this, but there was a touchdown we scored early in the third quarter. It was a sweep to the right and it appeared that Stanford’s defense just seemed to stop. At the same time, Stanford’s idiot drum major blew a whistle in the middle of the play that sounded like a dead ball whistle. I’m pretty sure Stanford’s “band” (which I am deeply offended by on multiple levels, but that’s another write up for another blog) gifted us a touchdown. Anyone??? Anyone???

Markybcool: Once again, the kids played hard and gave maximum effort. As a fan, I appreciate that, especially when this team has been pretty overmatched.

Joe Piechowski: I REALLY want to know why the Victory Bell was NOT on the field for the game. It was outside the Rose Bowl before the game, but it wasn’t on the field. BruinReportOnline tweeted that the coaching staff didn’t want it on the field, but that makes no sense and I haven’t heard that from anyone in the Athletic Department so far this week. The Victory Bell belongs on the field. Period.

Dimitri Dorlis: That’s a wrap on the 2018 season! We’ll have one more roundtable sometime next week that will act as a season wrap-up of sorts, so look out for that.