It may not have been pretty, but it goes down as a win. Let’s take a look at some key stats that made a difference in UCLA’s win over Utah.
1. 0 interceptions thrown by Brett Hundley.
Why is this significant? In the previous game against Cal, Brett Hundley threw 4 interceptions which turned out to be UCLA’s downfall. It is always important to protect the football but it is imperative from your quarterback. Football will always come down to quarterback play and Brett Hundley had himself a day: 15/21 183-yards & 1 TD.
2. 7 penalties for 45 yards
Just last week the Bruins had 12 penalties for 99 yards. This was definitely a solid improvement that should not go unnoticed, disciplined teams win football games. It is also important to note there were no drive killing penalties of 15 yards or drive extending penalties by the defense.
3. 21 Passes to 47 Runs
It is essential that a football team plays to their strengths, and the Bruins definitely did that this week. A lot of fans were upset with the play calling the last couple weeks, and their feelings were justified. Anytime you have a Heisman caliber player like Jonathan Franklin you have to give him at the very least 20 touches a game. If UCLA feeds their workhorse every week like they did against Utah, then they will have success offensively. Jonathan Franklin has been battling injuries which could be the reason he hasn’t got as many touches, but he looked good, real good.
4. Brett Hundley: 15 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD
It’s been a few weeks but Brett Hundley’s ankle looks healthy again. Brett was able to showcase his smarts and athleticism by scrambling for 68 yards, he was constantly extending drives for UCLA with his legs. When you have a dual threat quarterback it adds another dimension to your offense, and the defense has to account for it. In particular, UCLA’s first drive in the 3rd quarter, Brett Hundley rushed 4 times for 32 yards which led to a score extending the lead to 21-7.
5. 2 for 2 in Red-Zone Opportunities
Red-zone efficiency is critical in any football game, and it is extremely important for UCLA. Ka’ imi Fairbairn’s struggles are well advertised, it is important for UCLA to score touchdowns in the red zone and not to rely on a true freshman kicker who’s been bad all year. UCLA did just that and it proved to be the difference in the game as they came out with two touchdowns in two red-zone opportunities.
As fans, all we want to see is effort and week-by-week improvement. We saw just that after a disaster in Berkeley, UCLA cleaned up the penalties, limited the turnovers and played to their strengths. Overall a solid performance from this team heading into the bye week, and just like any other team there will always be room for improvement.