This was a pivotal game for UCLA. They came away with a win and they are now 5-2 heading into a bye week. Here are some tid-bits on the good things I noticed.
The running game. Our young offensive line won the battle vs Utah’s tough front 7. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 79 yards and 1 touchdown, Brett Hundley rushed for 68 yards and 1 touchdown as well. We only racked up 171 yards on the ground, but this is a very disciplined Utah defense that swarms the ball and can blow up plays in the backfield. Yes, the run game did falter at times but they stuck to it and it definitely paid off. UCLA hasn’t been explosive on the ground since the Nebraska game, but we are keeping defenses on their heels.
Jordan Payton, get to know that name because the kid is a stud. He only had 2 catches for 19 yards but he did the little things. He was getting out and blocking as well as fighting for those extra yards. With the absence of Devin Lucien, Payton has stepped up. As for other receivers, Shaq Evans is a flat-out B-A-L-L-E-R. 4 Catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, that’s 22.8 YPC. Hundley delivered a beautiful pass on the sideline to Evans that went for 64 yards and a UCLA touchdown, of course. Hundley is doing a good job targeting every receiver that gets into the game.
Brett Hundley is good at football. His day finished with him going 15/21, 183 yards and a touchdown; no interceptions. He made plays with his feet AND with his arm, this guy is truly fun to watch. He escaped pressure and turned it into positive yards, pur final TD drive in the 4th quarter was all credited to Hundley. Rightfully so. Way to keep calm under pressure, buddy.
The secondary played pretty well, wait. Did I just say that? All jokes aside, they did significantly better than last week. They did give up some big plays, but they held their own, only allowing 1 TD through the air. Well done, well done indeed. Andrew Abbott started all with an interception right off the bat. Abbott has done pretty well this season which is a great sign because he is the leader of the secondary.