I worked 14 and a half hours on Saturday, so I did not watch any of this 40-37 double overtime victory by the UCLA Bruins over the Colorado Buffaloes until Sunday night.
If you somehow missed it and don't want to rematch, I'll break it down for you.
With 4:48 left in the first half, UCLA was up 24-7. Had just responded to a Colorado scoring drive with a TD of their own, making things look real easy.
Were there some points left on the board? Sure, and UCLA's defense actually got a stop on the previous drive if not for an idiotic roughing the passer penalty on Ellis McCarthy. But as a football team, you will take a 24-7 half on the road against any team and be happy with your play. Two 24-7 halves turns a game into a blowout and probably the highest GPA of the season.
Instead of this happening, the wheels came off and UCLA's football team was riding on rims at the end of this game, sparks everywhere, some flames, awful screeching noises and probably irreparable damage to parts of the car. Getting outscored 30-16 the rest of the way by a team that barely beat Hawaii at home. Getting manhandled on the stat-sheet by a team that is essentially eliminated from bowl contention in October.
But they did get to the final destination and Coach Mora "wouldn't want to change a thing."
That's great if you're in the NFL hoping to squeak out a game to stay on track for one of the 6 spots in the playoffs that each conference gets (that's 6 representatives out of 16 teams in the playoffs for each conference).
However, in case you were wondering, UCLA doesn't play in the damn NFL. They play in college football, where only 4 out of 120+ teams make it to the playoffs.
Playoff teams don't beat UC Berkeley and Colorado (teams that combined to win 10 games against Pac-12 teams other than each other since 2011) by a combined 5 points.
This football team has been a massive disappointment in 2014.
Do not let any blogger, writer, coach, player, fan, TV personality or random stranger tell you differently. They are wrong if they say otherwise.
Empirically false to suggest that the UCLA Bruins have met expectations this season.
Let's get to the grades.
1.) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play?
The first quarter of this game was a phenomenal defensive effort against a good Colorado offense. The Buffaloes got 21 yards on a trick play end-around pass. Aside from that, they ran 16 plays for 37 yards of offense while throwing an interception and 6 plays for 1 yard or less. Pass rush was disrupting Sefo Liufau, run fits were on points outside of one poor playcall, coverage in the secondary was tight and physical. After another drive to start the 2nd quarter where UCLA forced a punt, things were looking real good for the UCLA defense.
Then...on the next 22 offensive plays in the 1st half, UCLA allowed 149 yards which is an insane 6.7 yards per play.
Not even including the 34 yards UCLA gave up as a result of 4 penalties, which gave Colorado an additional 3 first downs. If you add those in, it jumps to over 7 yards per snap.
If not for a lucky false start that ran off 10 seconds when CU had no timeouts remaining, UCLA was going to go into the half with it being an one score game after being up 17-0 and 24-7 in the half.
The 3rd quarter was similar to the 1st quarter, to be honest. 11 plays for 36 yards on the first three drives of the 2nd half for Colorado. Then CU moved the ball a little on their last drive of the quarter, but were aided by yet another defensive penalty.
The 4th quarter was a disaster on par with the 2nd quarter.
174 yards on 25 plays, again around 7 yards per play. And again not counting another defensive penalty to give CU a free first down.
17 points despite intercepting a pass.
The offense gave basically zero help in the 2nd half, but the adjustments in-game were non-existent by the defense
Good game plan and execution to start both halves and then implosions once CU got a chance to adjust on the sideline. That just cannot happen to a team twice in one game.
The blitz packages are still a mess with Ulbrich. UCLA shows their blitzes so insanely early that there is no element of surprise for opposing offenses. The corners or safeties show it pre snap and never drop into coverage that I can recall. If they show, they come. If they don't, they're in coverage. Makes the protection much easier to pick up when all that is required to show the defense's hand is a hard count.
I also am still not a fan of a lot of the personnel decisions on defense.
I don't like Anthony Jefferson at corner. UCLA is much better at corner than safety, Randall Goforth is out, why move your best safety to corner when there are two virtual clones of him physically (Priest WIllis, Marcus Rios) at that position. I
don't like that Priest Willis is getting his playing time reduced to under ten snaps a game, he was developing into a solid corner.
I don't like that Deon Hollins is playing 3 downs instead just being used as a pass rusher on obvious throwing downs. Aaron Wallace is a better run defender than he is, and much less prone to being overpowered by offensive linemen.
I don't like that the 4 insanely talented defensive linemen are never on the field all at once. If you were a defensive coordinator and had Eddie Vanderdoes, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Kenny Clark and Ellis McCarty all on the same roster, why wouldn't your 4-man front be those 4 players? What offensive line is capable of handling those guys all at once? If you're using your Nickel defense that frequently, that 4-man front is going to be stout as hell against the run by themselves. That front would keep offensive lineman off of Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack and allow both to make plays much easier.
I don't know why UCLA shows their blitzes so early and doesn't ever adjust when they give it away pre-snap. You are allowed to audible on defense, it isn't that difficult to communicate.
I am immensely disappointed by the defense this season. There is too much talent at every level of this defense to have it be a below average unit by nearly every statistical measure.
Giving up 500+ yards to Colorado when you are physically superior across the board and played like that for the first and third quarter is embarrassing. Defense gets a C- (1.7)
2.) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard?
UCLA left a lot of yards and points on the field with the mistakes that I will touch on throughout this post.
One good observation specific to this question and two very bad ones.
Jordan Payton's TD reception was a very well designed play and a look that UCLA hasn't shown a ton. Caught CU off guard on defense. 4 WR to the left and 1 to the right. Payton is actually in the slot and just runs a 10-yard curl. CU is in zone and lets Payton get a free release into an open area and is able to easily get a TD.
Mazzone decided to go back to the awful screen pass again because it worked once this season. Surprise, it was blown up and Hundley just threw it at Perkins' feet for an incompletion because Perkins had two defenders on top of him from the start of the play. It is just a hideous looking play. I cannot emphasize enough how bad of a screen this play is. Run terribly, fools no one and is not run in a situation where a defense would be sending pressure (2nd and 7 at the UCLA-33 yard line).
Then, on the final drive of the 4th quarter, Mazzone went back to the screen again. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING STILL?
In a outcome that would surprise no one, the pass went for 3 yards and Perkins was tackled in bounds after breaking two tackles. Under 30 seconds left, UCLA ran a RB screen against a prevent defense. Against a 4-man pass rush with 30 seconds left, he ran a RB screen that has proven time and time again to be a negative outcome for the offense.
For the rest of the season, every time that this screen play gets called I am going to take away a grade point from this section (B becomes a B-minus, etc.) It has gotten to that point.
So after taking off two grade points for the awful screens, the grade goes from a B- to a C (2.0) because they put up 40 points an 500+ yards against a defense that they should have put up 40 points and 500+ yards against.
3.) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times?
Just going straight into general observations:
Eddie Vanderdoes injures himself on the 2nd snap of the game by diving late into a pile and leading with his head, as the UCLA defense has done all season. Someone finally got hurt being undisciplined and it was a Bruin hurting himself, could have been much worse, helmet on helmet with Eric Kendricks.
If you're wondering why Devin Lucien gets limited looks, an explanation might be found on a 2nd and 4 on UCLA's 2nd drive where he costs UCLA a first down. Tries cutting back on a quick hitch to try and break a big play instead of just knowing he needed 4 and getting 5 instead of trying to get 15 yards. UCLA ends up going 3-and-out.
The whole left side of the offensive line whiffs on the 3rd and 1 on the next play. No clue what Benenoch is doing allowing a DE to go around him so easily on a down block. And the DT jumps from Jake Brendel's outside eye and goes in between Brendel and Scott Quessenberry. Just no cohesion on simple down blocks. Not difficult blocks.
Malcolm Bunche blocks no one as Jake Brendel gets physically beaten on a 1-yard loss on a Perkins run. Play was there for 5+ yards except for this block. Probably would have been fine if Malcolm Bunche had attempted to block anyone on the play. Should be a combo to the play-side linebacker, but Bunche doesn't do either part of the combo block. The play-side linebacker actually runs himself out of the play, so it should be an automatic double-team on that DT. Brendel gets no help, the DT gets a TFL.
CU gets 11 easy yards because UCLA only has 4 defenders in the box against a two TE set. The LBs are 5 yards off the line, the corner at the top of the screen to the left is covering grass, one safety is 12-yards off the line on the opposite hash from the ball. This is a coaching issue. Lucky this wasn't a TD.
Eric Kendricks' interception was a linebacker's dream. Curl-to-flat in zone, done correctly. Liufau never looks beyond his first read and throws the pass right to Kendricks dropping to his zone.
Eddie Vanderdoes got a TFL taken away from him because the LG held Kenny Clark. He totally baffled the RG with an inside move and crashed down the left side of the line so quickly. He's just an insane athlete at his size. Should be getting two TFLs a game. Gets a hurry on the next play despite being held (no call).
A good decision by Coach Mora to use a timeout at the very end of the 1st quarter to allow Adam Searl to punt with the wind instead of against the wind. 59-yard punt was the result UCLA's punts into the wind in this game were 37, 38, 38. That's a 20-yard swing in field position. Props when props are due to the coaching staff. That is an NFL move.
Tahaan Goodman leaves a lot to be desired in the run game as a safety. Tries to duck under blocks instead of engaging. Frustrating to watch a player that physically gifted not trust himself to be physical outside of trying to deliver head shots into piles.
No defender covers the running back out of the backfield on a 20-yard pass to Tony Jones. There were two LBs and a safety that could possibly have been responsible. Just cannot happen that close to your own endzone. Poor defense.
Same thing happened again on a 9-yard pass out of the backfield at the end of the 1st half. Eric Kendricks looked lost on this play, ran in a circle in the middle of the field instead of covering the RB out of the backfield. Just do your job, not that difficult.
After a mess up on a similar play where he missed a TFL or tackle for no gain, Isaako Savaiinaea crashes hard down the line near the goal-line and gets a TFL. Trust your eyes and go make a play when you are unblocked on defense. Case of coaching on the sidelines making an impact on an individual player.
The one position I feel comfortable saying that there has been a marked improvement at from last season is running back. Paul Perkins is obviously deserving of praise for looking like a totally different player with the ball in his hands this season. But I think Jordon James also looks markedly better. Both players look decisive with their decisions. Lots of one-plant and go from both players. Finishing runs moving forward, ball security been better (the James fumble against Texas was just helmet-on-ball, will happen sometimes). Coach Polamalu has earned his paycheck already. On the field improvement, not just recruiting.
Myles Jack runs to the sideline because he guessed again on defense instead of reading his keys. Run is right up the middle to the vacated 2nd level. Kendricks gets cut-blocked but still recovers to make the tackle 11 yards downfield with Wadood, Jack doesn't turn around to find the ball until after the play is over.
Deon Hollins undisciplined on a end-around. Crashing down for no reason. CU gets 9 yards on 1st down. Stay at home, there is no way he is going to make a play from backside DE on a sweep to the other side.
Defense is not set for a 2nd and 2 at the 14-yard line. CU gets an easy first down by quick snapping it. Have to be ready there as a defense. Lack of urgency.
Eric Kendricks and Kenny Young do not communicate on a TE crossing route. Liufau is rolling right and the TE slips underneath to the left, easy completion to get the ball to the 3-yard line.
Defense is once again not set on a 2nd and 1 from the 3-yard line. Colorado has 2 WR to the right side, UCLA only has 1 DB out there. Quick screen, easy TD. Simply cannot happen as a defense. Sideline has to call a timeout there. Play was a TD before it was snapped.
For whatever reason, Alex Redmond came in the game in the late, late 4th quarter for Malcolm Bunche. Key 3rd and 1 play, CU has three DL and three LBs in the box. Redmond has a DE on his outside eye between him and McDermott. The DE goes unblocked into the backfield between those two and makes the tackle for no gain.
On the next play, McDermott gets his face crossed by a DE that blows up Eddie Vanderdoes on an inside handoff. Both short yardage plays were blown up by blocking assignments that were not carried out. Rough series for the left side of the line. I don't know if Bunche got hurt or whatever, but he played pretty well for 95% of the game and then Redmond came in the 4th and struggled.
As always, the penalties are taken on a play-by-play basis:
1. Got things started early on the punt return after UCLA's defense forced a 3-and-out. Holding on Jayon Brown.
2. Caleb Benenoch with what must be near his 10th penalty of the season through 8 games. Quite the pace for the sophomore guard still playing tackle despite "Simon Goines being ready if we need him." Newsflash, Coach Klemm and Coach Mora, you need him. Should have been a drive killer, but Paul Perkins went 92 yards on the next snap.
3. Fabian Moreau gets flagged for defensive holding. Good call. Moreau got fooled on a double move by one of the best WRs in the conference, put his hands on Nelson Spruce to make sure he wasn't beat deep. You'll take that instead of the alternative.
4 Jake Brendel gets flagged for holding on a 16-yard run by Hundley. Good call and an unnecessary play by Brendel. Turns a 1st down inside the 20 into a 2nd and 20 from the 37-yard line. UCLA would put on this drive because of this penalty. Pretty commonplace for the Bruins.
5. Just an unbelievably dumb play by Ellis McCarthy. UCLA gets a stop on 3rd and goal, pressure forces Liufau to throw it away. McCarthy decides he needs to throw Liufau on the ground instead of just being excited he forced a bad throw. Cost UCLA a stop on defense. This is a trademark UCLA penalty under Jim Mora. Undisciplined, but "a tough culture change". The Bruins aren't soft anymore, they'll needlessly throw a player on the ground after he's thrown the ball away. If that is what you want to hang your hat on as a program, more power to you. But it is not a formula conducive to success long-term. Ask the Detroit Lions how that works out long-term.
6. Pass interference on Ishmael Adams negates an interception by Adams at the end of the first half. Good call, Adams pushed off to get the separation needed to catch the ball. Didn't need to because Spruce was losing his balance, but did it anyway because that is how UCLA plays football under Jim Mora.
7. Clear case of defensive holding by Ishmael Adams negates an insane one-handed interception by Myles Jack. This was another good call despite Jim Mora's hissy-fit on the sideline. Well officiated game all around in the first half by my eyes.
8. Illegal handling is called on Myles Jack on the same interception but during the return. He pitches the ball forward, you aren't allowed to do that. Forward laterals are illegal. Pretty basic rule of football.
9. Offsides on Owamagbe Odighizuwa (called on Clark somehow but it clearly was Owa) gives CU a 2nd and 1 instead of a 2nd and 6. Colorado scored a TD on the next play because UCLA loaded the box.
10. Offensive pass interference on Mossi Johnson negates a 3rd and 3 conversion by UCLA on their 2nd drive of the 2nd half. Total unnecessary and another good call. Undisciplined mistake. You need 3 yards and you are blocking a corner 10+ yards downfield before the ball is thrown. Just does not need to happen. UCLA has to punt because it is 3rd and 18 instead of 1st and 10. Probably takes points off the board because UCLA's offense was in rhythm on this drive.
11. Odighizuwa lines up offsides. Turns a 2nd and 6 into a 2nd and 1. Frustrating as hell.
12. False start on Connor McDermott turns a 3rd and 11 into a 3rd and 16. Effectively ends the drive.
13. Defensive holding by Marcus Rios. Gave CU a first down on a 3rd and 3. They converted anyway away from the penalty, but could have been very costly still.
14. False start on Scott Quessenberry on a 3rd and 7. Makes a relatively manageable 3rd down into a difficult one.
15. Holding on Caleb Benenoch. This hold negates a 26-yard run on 3rd and 12 that got UCLA into the outskirts of FG range. Awful, awful. He got beat at the snap and wrapped his guy up.
This was a disaster, as it has been for many games this season. The penalties are crippling for this team. It has been nearly 3 seasons of around 80 penalty yards a game. There is just no way to be successful doing that so consistently without the lack discipline seeping through to all other aspects of a team's performance.
UCLA is undisciplined and dirty (it is just a reality, you can't commit that many penalties that consistently and not be a dirty team) as a football team. That is derived from a coaching staff that doesn't see that as an issue.
The "Eye Test" does see it as an issue. D+ (1.3)
4.) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game?
The defense had two outstanding quarters and two terrible quarters, but that was due to Colorado adjusting their game plan on the field and UCLA not being able to counter effectively and kept giving Colorado first downs on penalties. Not an effort based issue.
The offense was hot and cold. I would point out that there were more mistakes than usual. Drops, missed throws that Hundley has hit all year, missed assignments on the offensive line in the running game, drive killing penalties (of the 6 penalties on the offense, 4 were on 3rd down and one negated a 12-yard gain on 1st down).
I can't even rag on Mazzone's game plan for the most part. The plays were there for the most part, UCLA probably left 150+ yards and around 21 points on the field for those reasons above. Then it wouldn't have mattered that Colorado's offense adjusted or that Brett fumbled in Colorado territory or that Eddie Vanderdoes got stuffed on a 4th down.
I'm cool with a B (3.0) here.
5.) Do our players execute?
Just going straight into general observations:
So much praise to go around on the 92-yard run by Perkins. Connor McDermott reach blocks the DE so effectively that he also blocks a safety that looks totally lost. Downfield blocking by Mossi Johnson and Jordan Payton was on point as well.
Kenny Clark pancakes the CU center on a 2nd and 9 where Moreau got a TFL. Instant pressure right in Liufau's face.
Mossi Johnson looks like the player I saw in the spring and at San Bernardino. Where has he been in this offense for the rest of the season? You'd have to ask Noel Mazzone about that one.
Ka'imi Fairbairn had himself a great day in the Colorado air. Looked powerful on FGs, kickoffs and PATs.
I wish Devin Fuller were able to make the first man miss consistently. He has so much room to work with on these outside WR screens and gets like 4-9 yards most of the time, but the first defender seems to always wrap him up. The shiftiness of Steven Manfro is missed, but I think Mossi Johnson, Kenneth Walker or Ahmad Harris should be getting those looks.
Myles Jack shows the good and bad side of his play on back-to-back plays. First one, he blows up a designed rollout by using his speed to duck underneath a blocker on the edge. He falls down because he hasn't figured out how to bend around blocks, but he disrupts the pass and allows Jacob Tuioti-Mariner to hit Liufau.
The bad is Myles Jack guessing run and running inside instead of reading the play and covering the back out. Allow CU to get a first down on a flare out by Tony Jones into the flat. Jack's Cowboy-ing is boom or bust at times, it becomes a lot more glaring with only 2 LBs on the field than it was last year with 4 LBs on the field.
Inside move by Odighizuwa in the 3rd quarter, gets a hurry and forces an incompletion. Outstanding move. He's going to be able to play football a long time.
Goodman crashes in to stop Liufau on an attempted scramble. Reads the play so quick that it is hard to register where he came from in the secondary. Hell of a play that looks unimpressive on paper.
UCLA got bailed out by a roughing the passer call, but Devin Fuller runs an insanely sloppy out route, rounds it and gives the DB a ton of time to make a play. Then he drops the pass. Not a good play for Fuller.
Deon Hollns got sealed on the edge twice in a row on CU's game-tying drive. Both runs went for 11 yards and got CU in FG range. Hollins did not have a particularly good game, but I do not think any edge player had a particularly good game. Takkharist McKinley had some decent pass rushes but looks lost in the run game, Aaron Wallace looked off but didn't get a ton of reps (that's who I would have playing far more reps than he presently is). Isaako Savaiinaea had ups and downs there as well.
Observations on Hundley's game, some good and some bad:
Incompletion to Mossi Johnson on the deep sideline throw that Hundley has been outstanding on this season sails out of bounds. Missed big play that has been there all season. Looked like the wind might have taken it more than he expected. Need that throw from Brett.
Hits Devin Fuller in stride on a slant on 3rd and 11 to allow Fuller to get upfield for the 1st down.
5-man box against UCLA on a 2nd and 4. They run a zone read and Hundley makes a poor read. If he keeps it, he's 1-on-1 with a safety for a TD. He gives and it is a 2-yard gain. Hundley being the player he is, instantly pats his chest as if to say it was his fault on that read. Guy owns up to his mistakes, wish that quality extended throughout all levels of this football team.
Incompletion on a dropped pass to the endzone for Mossi Johnson was a good throw, only Johnson had a chance to catch the ball. No issue with the throw or decision, just didn't hit on the play. Wish there was a WR on the roster that makes this catch.
Missed TD to Nate Iese. Almost 100% on Hundley, sloppy feet (which is not generally an issue with Hundley). Great route by Iese and a nice playcall as well, not a look that UCLA had shown that I remember.
Looked like a miscommunication on the 3rd and 3 on the same drive. Think Brett expected Payton to do a quick hitch at the marker but Payton got jammed and knocked off his path. Pressure got there before he could get to the 2nd read.
Overthrows Devin Fuller by about 5 yards on a deep ball down the middle, Fuller pulls up and makes the pass look a little worse than it was. But there was no way Fuller could have gotten to this pass.
Deep sideline ball sails out of bounds on Hundley on a 3rd and 20. Play was there. Throw looked like it got caught in the air again. Hundley needed to adjust after it happened the first time. Did not do so. A QB coach should recognize the issue and fix it there, but it is pretty clear that Taylor Mazzone rarely even speaks to Hundley on the sideline.
Good throw aways on back-to-back plays in the 2nd quarter. First was the awful screen pass, Hundley just tosses it at the ground in front of Perkins to avoid a sack or Perkins getting blown up by the two defenders covering him. Second was to avoid a sack because McDermott/Bunche get beaten by a simple twist and Brendel gets beaten in a 1-on-1. Two defenders with pressure in his face, Hundley gets it out.
Fumble at the end of the first half is just a great strip by a defender. Hundley has no way of seeing the DE crashing down from behind him after disengaging with Benenoch. He has the ball pretty secure in both hands, the defender just hits it clean. Fumbles are going to happen with running QBs sometimes, just a reality of football.
3rd and 3 pass to Payton gets tipped at the line because Perkins doesn't pick up a blitzing LB. Nothing Hundley could do there.
The last two plays of the game speak for themselves. Clearly not supposed to be QB keeps, he just yanked the ball and made a play. Not many players in the country are capable of doing that.
Some observations about the dropped passes, sacks, fumbles, interceptions and missed tackles:
Owamagbe Odighizuwa shows why he is going to play in the NFL on the 2nd snap of the game. Comes off the ball like a missile, dips under a guard 1-on-1 and should have had a sack. He misses the tackle and Sefo Liufau gains a yard instead of losing 5. Jaleel Wadood also whiffs on a sack on this play.
Brendel gets physically beaten on a run block on a 1-yard loss on a Perkins run. Play was there for 5+ yards except for Brendel's block. Probably would have been fine if Malcolm Bunche had attempted to block anyone on the play. Should be a combo to the playside linebacker, but Bunche doesn't do either part of the combo block
Mossi Johnson has a TD go through his arms in the 1st quarter. UCLA scores on the next play, but still a catch that a Pac-12 championship teams needs to have.
Isaako Savaiinaea costs UCLA 8 yards by reacting instead of just playing defense. Needs to just go and make the play instead of thinking about what he is doing. Doesn't come flat down the line (he's playing the DE/OLB spot that Barr worked at a lot) forces himself to try and make a tackle in space instead of delivering a blow on a RB that isn't prepared for it.
Tahaan Goodman is basically acting as a LB on a 27-yard run by Tony Jones. He looks lost and gets sealed easily, giving Jones the edge. Then he runs down the field and misses the tackle about 20 yards down the field. Not a good snap for Goodman. Not sure why he is being asked to act as a run defender. Just let Anthony Jefferson play safety, UCLA's much deeper at corner than safety. Seemed like a bad decision when I first saw it, nothing has made me change my opinion.
2nd dropped pass of the game by Mossi Johnson. Quick slant, turned his head before he secured the ball. Not ideal.
Jaleel Wadood misses an open field tackle at the end of the first half on a 2nd and 12 that gives CU a 10-yard gain instead of 3 or 4 yard gain. Makes the 3rd down easy instead of a 3rd and long.
Calling another drop on Eldridge Massington on the first drive of the 2nd half. CU defensive back got credited with a breakup, but Massington needs to make the catch. It is a 6 yard hitch on a 3rd and 5. 1-on-1 coverage, Massington has at least 2 inches and 20 pounds on the corner and has position to box out the corner. Need to make that play.
Long TD on a 4th and 2 was sprung by Anthony Jefferson taking a poor angle. Bryce Bobo didn't even really need to make a move, just turned around and ran untouched for 30 yards into the endzone. Need to force that guy to where your help is, cannot over-pursue.
Wadood gets his ankles broken on a double move by Nelson Spruce in the 4th quarter on a 3rd and 6. Ends up going for 28 yards.
Paul Perkins with just an atrocious blitz pickup on a 3rd and 3 late in the 4th quarter. I have no idea where he was going, rusher on the right is unblocked and able to tip Hundley's pass to Payton.
Dropped pass by Devin Fuller on a 3rd and 4 after a sloppy route as well. UCLA gets bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty.
Dropped pass by Payton on the first play of overtime. Need that pass to be caught.
Not a banner day on execution, but there were positives here. Certainly more so than in the knowing where to go section. I go C (2.0) here.
6.) Do we have leaders on the field?
Eric Kendricks is probably going to end up as UCLA's all-time leading tackler after 16 more in this game.
Brett Hundley put the offense on his back at the end of the game despite having an off day and is about to break most of UCLA's passing records in just 3 seasons.
Paul Perkins continues to exceed any possible pre-season expectations, with essentially 1000 yards rushing in 8 games.
The special teams had another solid game overcoming a tough wind to win the field position battle all game long.
Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark made running up the middle impossible for Colorado in this game. Those guards and center will not be having an enjoyable film session of this game.
There are so many outstanding players on this team at so many different positions.
Being 6-2 (3-2) and looking the way they have looked is beneath this team. The on the field leadership is there, it just need to start being led by the sidelines on both sides of the ball. B+ (3.3) here
Final Grade Card for the Colorado Buffaloes
1.) Is our defense prepared for each and every team we play? C- (1.7)
2.) Do we call offensive plays to catch our opponents off guard? C (2.0)
3.) Do our players look like they know what they should be doing at all times? D+ (1.3)
4.) Do our players play for 60 G-D minutes every game? B (3.0)
5.) Do our players execute? C (2.0)
6.) Do we have leaders on the field? B+ (3.3)
Colorado GPA: C (2.2)
For reference, the GPA in UCLA's previous win over UC Berkeley was a C+ (2.5). The Bruins two losses to #5 Oregon, a D+ (1.3), and #18 Utah, a C-/D+ (1.6), were good comparisons to this game. The win over #15 Arizona State was a B+ (3.4), which was the high mark of 2014. The wins over 3-5 (2-3) Texas C (2.2), 4-3 (2-1) Memphis C (2.2) and 4-4 (2-2) Virginia C+ (2.5) all saw UCLA look exceptionally mediocre, like the UC Berkeley game.
UCLA continues to play down to their competition and show that they unable to step up to beat teams they are not supposed to beat. There may not be a more appropriately rated team in the country than UCLA at #25 in both polls. Top 10 talent but with barely top 30 performance.
Note: I'm only going to reference the College Football Playoff Poll from this point forward. The other two are 100% irrelevant after it is released. I cannot force that stance on the rest of the site, but I do recommend it. I am genuinely excited to see how the first rankings turn out.