The first half of football proved that UCLA can play defense on the collegiate level, yes, I know we all had our doubts. The Bruins allowed 10 points and 198 yards in the first half. The question was, could the Bruins play a full four quarters of good defensive football?
Well, not really.
The defense continued their first half success when they quickly put a three and out on the Buffaloes’ first possession of the second half. The Bruins then took their first possession of the second half and drove right down the field behind 70 passing yards by Josh Rosen on the drive, and a Soso Jamabo rush to the left for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
The defense could not handle the success for long, as the Buffaloes received the kickoff and were able to drive right down the field and convert on a few big plays. On 3rd and 15 Steven Montez’s pass to Jay MacIntyre for 14 yards to the UCLA 31 was the first big play. The Buffaloes were facing a 4th and 1 play in which Montez kept the ball on a read option and scampered 25 yards to the UCLA 6 yard line. The Buffaloes ended up scoring after a UCLA holding penalty in the end zone gave the Buffaloes a 1st and goal at the 2. Phillip Lindsay rushed to the right for 2 yards for a TD.
After a quick UCLA possession that resulted in a Rosen interception, the defense was right back on the field. Colorado, again drove down the field and on a 4th and 2 Steven Montez passed to the right to Phillip Lindsay for 15 yards to the UCLA 26. The Buffaloes then had a 3rd and 8 and Steven Montez passed to the left to Jay MacIntyre for 15 yards to the UCLA 9. The defense got a break on the drive as Montez ran in for a TD, but the play was called back because of holding. The UCLA defense held Colorado to a FG, and the Buffaloes trailed the Bruins 21-20.
The Bruins and Buffaloes exchanged three and outs. The Bruins then took over at the 13:48 mark of the 4th quarter, and Rosen guided the Bruins down the field, and while the Bruins were in a position to score more than a field goal, a delay of game penalty hurt their chances, and they settled for a JJ Molson 33 yard field goal. The Bruins were up 24-20 with 9:41 to go in the game.
Colorado took the kickoff and with a nice return was able to start on the 30 yard line. The Buffaloes drove down the field and on a big 3rd and 1 Steven Montez rushed to the right for 37 yards to the UCLA 14. This play was another read option in which Montez watched the defensive end, Jacob Tuioti-Marine crash and leave the outside wide open for the big run. The Bruins did hold the Buffaloes to a FG. The Buffaloes trailed 24-23.
The Bruins took the kickoff with 6:46 left in the game, and with a penalty on the kickoff, UCLA their backs against the goal line. On 2nd and 11 Josh Rosen passed to the right to Darren Andrews for 18 yards to the UCLA 25 and a HUGE first down. UCLA continued moving the ball down the field, and with 3:59 left Colorado called a timeout, and out of the timeout on 2nd and 7 Colorado dialed up a blitz and Rosen threw a beautiful pass to the right to Jordan Lasley for 11 yards to the CU 32. This allowed UCLA to milk more time off the clock. The Bruins picked up another 1st down on a 7 yard run by Jamabo on a big 3rd and 6 play. The Bruins could not get another first down, but they were able to milk the clock down to 29 seconds. JJ Molson kicked a 31 yard field goal to put UCLA up 27-23 with 26 seconds in the game.
That last drive by the UCLA offense was one of the biggest drives of the year for the Bruins. UCLA was able to move the ball on pass plays and run plays, and take a lot of time off the clock. The offense and the ability to run the ball, a little, was a huge part of the victory.
As for the defense, our defensive unit is a mess, present tense! We played one of the worst offensive teams in the Pac-12, and they gained 434 total yards. There is no way around it, after five games our defense quite possibly will go down as one of the worst to ever play for the Bruins. 191 rushing yards shows that we still cannot stop the run, and our defensive backs continue to just not make plays in the passing game.
Josh Rosen continues to show why he is simply the best quarterback in college football, period! Rosen was 28/45 for 372 yards and 1 TD. These numbers simply do not do justice to exactly what he does with the football each time he steps on the field. Josh Rosen is special, and he will be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft.
At the end of the day, we got a win, and we needed a win in the worst kind of way.