Another week, another very close win in a game that Bruin fans will rightfully feel could have been a dominating win. Unlike last week's ho-hum overtime win over a sorry Colorado squad, the Bruins picked up a win over a division rival that was in the mix for the division crown. But just like last week, the Bruins were their own worst enemy, gifting Arizona their only points in the game - despite stopping the Mildcats twice in their opening drive, extremely stupid penalties (for unsportsmanlike conduct) allowed Arizona to score a TD when their offense should have been off the field two plays prior.
On one hand, it's a win and UCLA's season and chase for a spot in the conference title game remain alive, but it was another less-than-satisfying win in a game where many UCLA fans will rightfully feel that the Bruins could have won handily. Instead, despite Jim Mora's idiotic claims that penalties don't matter, the Bruins did everything they could to keep Arizona in the game with their complete inability to control themselves.
Yet again, Noel Mazzone's offense was completely missing in action, as the Bruins struggled to score points against a team that allowed 28 points per game coming into tonight and had surrendered 45 points to Berkeley and 37 points to Washington State. In fact, except for UNLV (currently 2-7 in the Mountain West) scoring 13 in the season opener, this was the lowest point total surrendered by Arizona's defense all year long.
It was a less-than-stellar effort, but credit to where credit's due - Jeff Ulbrich has been much maligned all year (and rightfully so), but his unit did a solid job of holding Rich Rodriguez's offense to just 7 points. While cynics will rightfully point out that often, it was Arizona stopping themselves with dropped passes, poorly thrown balls by a freshman QB, and poor play calling, rather than the Bruins' defense doing anything - you could flip that around by pointing out that UCLA actually would have pitched a shut-out on defense if Myles Jack didn't decide to commit boneheaded back-to-back penalties to open the game.
On a quick aside - these were the most hideous uniforms UCLA has ever worn in any sport - it makes the basketball zubaz uniforms look beautiful in comparison. Someone needs to seriously have a long talk with whoever is handling these alternate uniform designs at Adidas, because when UCLA - a school with one of the most distinctive and beautiful uniforms in college football - is wearing primer grey uniforms with illegible numbers, that's pathetic.
Just like last week, it's a win - but once again, this team looks nothing like the elite squad that they should have been. Arizona is a solid team, but their record belies the fact they barely beat Berkeley and caught Oregon when they were really hampered by injury. Our season remains alive and we're still in the mix for a date at Levi's Stadium against the Ducks, but this UCLA team still looks too undisciplined on both sides of the ball, and there's still not much of a coherent offense, to be a legit conference title contender - and given the elite talent on the roster, that falls squarely on the shoulders of Jim Mora - who really was exposed as a conservative, playing-not-to-lose NFL style coach tonight - it was enough because Rich Rodriguez is one of the most overrated coaches in America and Arizona's freshman QB couldn't seem to throw an accurate ball all night long.
Still, it's a win and we'll take it.