I said on Twitter before the start of the game that the keys to this game for UCLA were for us to not turn the ball over and to limit Tate on the ground. Well, neither of those things happened in the first half, and thus we are down 30-14
As for the defense, the bye week did nothing to help as Arizona drove right down the field on the first drive to score a TD. Khalil Tate had two rushes during that first drive for 56 yards, highlighted by the 45 yard run for a TD.
UCLA’s first drive looked promising as Josh Rosen led the Bruins down the field going 4/6 for 42 yards on the first drive, but the drive stalled and the Bruins elected to go for the 45 yard field go on 4th and 5 instead of going for it, and Molson hooked the kick wide left.
The UCLA defense had a scare on Arizona’s second drive as JJ Taylor rushed to the left and was slung down for a minimal gain, but Taylor did not think he was down and neither did the referees, and Taylor continued to the end zone for an apparent TD, but after review, it was overturned and the Bruins defense held for an eventual three and out.
The turnover bug immediately bit the Bruins on their next drive as Jamabo fumbled on a 2nd and 7 run, setting up Arizona with great field position.
UA and Tate proceeded to run the ball right down the throats of UCLA. UCLA was saved with a crucial holding call on Arizona that wiped out a first down and put Arizona way behind the sticks with a 3rd and 19 play that they could not convert. Arizona had to settle for a 36 yard field goal by Pollack.
UCLA started their next drive with a little trickery on a Darren Andrews reverse for 27 yards. But somehow UCLA figured out how to face-mask on offense and immediately put themselves in a 2nd and 21 position. Rosen was able to pick this up with a beautiful pass to Lasley. The next big play of the drive was on 3rd and 8 from Arizona’s 25 yard line when Rosen zipped a beautiful throw to Darren Andrews to keep the drive alive. And while it was a struggle, the Bruins eventually scored a TD on a Jalen Starks 1 yard dive into the end zone on 3rd and 1. Nice to see the Bruins not get cute and run the ball in that area to score the TD.
On the next Arizona possession, Tate was able to show off his arm as he completed a huge 53 yard pass completion to Shun Brown to UCLA’s 23 yard line. Arizona then scored a TD on a 1 yard TD run by Nick Wilson. This put Arizona up 17-7 with 0:39 seconds left in the first quarter.
On UCLA’s next drive they were able to move the ball on the ground, but a holding penalty on Andre James negated a big run by Jamabo. However, a beautiful screen pass to Jamabo helped get the yards back and provided UCLA a 3rd and 1. Jamabo was able to pick it up to move the chains, and UCLA looked to be set up to pick up points, but Rosen was pressured and threw a really bad ball in the end-zone that was intercepted.
Arizona’s next drive once again picked up yards on the ground and at least flipped the field position, as UA was eventually forced to punt. The punt was poor and actually gave the Bruins better than expected field position to start their next drive.
UCLA actually should have never started their next drive because Rosen started off the drive with a horrible pass to the left that was intercepted by Jace Whittaker and returned for 40 yards for a TD. UA was up 24-7 at the 8:03 mark of the second quarter.
UCLA started the next drive featuring Jalen Starks, and Starks responded with some big runs. However, on a 3rd and 2 run, Starks went down with an ankle injury. UCLA continued to drive the ball and even converted a 4th and 1 play with Bolu Olorunfunmi. The drive was capped off with a hard-nosed Soso Jamabo rush to the left for 9 yards for a TD. That drive contained an unprecedented 10 rush plays, and UCLA seemed to find something on that drive to the left.
On UA’s next drive, they continued to run Tate and company to the left, to the right, to the middle, and no matter where they ran, UCLA could not stop the run. Tate capped off the drive, not with his feet, but with a TD pass to Trevor Wood for 6 yards for a TD. UA went into the half up 30-14.
UCLA once again has shown that they have the worst defense in my 30+ years of watching them play football. They have given up almost 300 total yards on offense, with 217 yards coming on the ground.
Not sure what they second half has in store for the Bruins...no wait, I think I might have an idea.
Listen to the Game Here on BN!
The good news for tonight’s game is that this week’s game is not on ESPN. That means that Mark Jones and Rod Gilmore won’t be around to mispronounce the names of the players. Instead, we get Roxy Bernstein and Anthony Herron.
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