For most of the first half, it looked like UCLA found the same road mojo they had in Tempe, running roughshod over Washington to a 31-10 lead going into the break, but the Bruins couldn't finish the Huskies off and had to withstand a late push by Washington to hold on to a 44-30 win in Seattle. It's a good road win for the Bruins and their hopes of finding the back door to the Pac-12 conference title game remains alive, but UCLA's inability to find a way to finish off opponents once they are on the back foot remains concerning.
To be fair to the Bruins, they did trade score for score with the Huskies in the second half - being robbed of a great back shoulder TD catch by Devin Lucien due to a terrible phantom offensive pass interference call that led to the Bruins settling for a long FG. But that shouldn't take away from the same concerns we've had for a while - Noel Mazzone and Jeff UIbrich put together really good first half game plans, but Washington figured it out, made some good half time adjustments and UCLA never seemed to hit the same high gears they had in the first half. The lack of adjustments in the second half once it became apparent Washington was catching on is a bit concerning, but given how well we played most of the first half (not counting the idiotic clock management to end the half), it's a bit of a wash.
In positive news, Kenny Walker finally escaped the dog house and reeled in another long TD bomb, showing off the big play deep ball that UCLA has sorely missed in a lot of the games where Mazzone has dialed up the number of walk-ons like Logan Sweet instead of an elite speed guy like Kenny Walker. UCLA's defense did a good job of limiting the Washington offense, finding a lot of ways to put pressure on Cyler Miles, and in reality, only gave up 23 points to an offense averaging over 30 points per game (due to some woeful kick coverage that gave up a 100 yard TD kick return).
The Bruins will get a week off and will have time to get healthy and get prepared to take on Seven Win Sark and the Southern Cal Trojans at the Rose Bowl. It will be a huge game and the Trojans will know that beating UCLA will effectively end UCLA's season - so don't be surprised if Sark's guys come out extra hungry. UCLA survives with another win - but after taking in the action from around the nation, it's going to leave a lot of Bruin fans wondering "what if" - without the loss to Utah - the Bruins are a one-loss team, on top of the Pac-12 South, and likely ranked around #6-#8 and likely moving on up with some big names falling today.
What if, indeed.
For now, let's celebrate another win over Washington and the fact our season is still alive.