The UCLA defense bounced back from a 43-point beatdown at the hands of the northern equivalent of Bruin football in the Cal Bears.
After allowing punching bag Zach Maynard to pick his spots against a weak UCLA secondary a week ago, the Bruins adjusted and allowed the Utah Utes just one offensive touchdown all game. Meanwhile, the Utes only accumulated 319 total yards against a UCLA defense that has allowed 400 yards of total offense per game on the season.
It must be noted, though, that the Utes’ offensive woes are well-documented. With an offensive line that has largely disappointed a distraught Utah fan-base, and with a quarterback carousel that has the Utes starting their third quarterback of the season, no one expected Utah to be much of a threat with the ball in their possession.
UCLA followed through, though, on limiting a hapless Utah defense. On to the grades…
Defensive Line: A
The Bruin defensive line went about its business, entirely eliminating the Utes’ ground game as the UCLA front-line has done to nearly every other opponent all season.
In fact, the Utes only gained 75 yards on the ground off of 22 carries, 11 of those carries coming from freshman QB Travis Wilson, who was forced to scramble more than the Utes would have liked for their first-time starter. John White, meanwhile, was unable to get into any kind of rhythm: He, too, carried the ball 11 times, earning just 44 yards against a defensive line that dominated the trenches most of the game.
For the second straight game, Cassius Marsh proved to be the line’s brightest star, earning four tackles — one for a loss — and a sack, his second of the season and the only sack UCLA earned against the Utes, partly because Wilson was often able to scramble his way out of trouble.
Overall, the defensive line has further solidified itself as the most consistent unit on this UCLA football team. With the Bruins earning 23 sacks on the season and allowing just 4.3 yards per rushing attempt from opponents, it’s clear that the hype the unit received in the offseason was warranted.