I saw a lot of good things on Saturday when UCLA went up against Utah.
First off: The offensive line proved themselves. A special shout-out to Xavier Su’a-filo who absolutely dominated star DT Star Lotulelei. Brett Hundley had all day to throw the ball, and it paid off. This OL is very young but they have proved to us that they can get the job done. Johnathan Franklin has rushed for 878 yards on only 138 carries, thats a great 6.8 yards per carry. Thank you, offensive line. When Hundley has time its great, he can take it himself and run, or pass it. It’s important to protect a QB, especially a
young one like Brett. Great job so far, props.
Shaq Evans=Play Maker: Shaq Evans (transfer from Notre Dame) has came out of nowhere this year. Virtually a non-factor last year, Evans has bursted onto scene with some great games. Staurday, he had 9 catches for 91 yards and a 64 yard pitch and catch for a score. Shaq is a vertical threat with his quickness; he leads the team in receptions and yards (28 catches, 413 yards, 2 TDs) although Fauria has 5 TDs, “Big” Joe has been disappointing this year. Brett Hundley spreads the field, targeting around 9-11 receivers a game. Shaq Evans looks like he’s the go-to guy this year and boy, they have a great connection.
UCLA Has A Great Run D: UCLA only gave up 75 yards rushing on Saturday. Utah only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. John White is no joke, he tore us up last year, but this year was different. UCLA dominated the battle in the trenches. Stopping the run is no easy task, UCLA has been up to it and they’ve succeeded very well. Credit goes to Defensive Coordinator, Lou Spanos of course. When you stop the run, you force the opposition to throw the ball, pretty much forcing them to throw. UCLA has struggled mightily with the passing defense, but they did better on Saturday.
The Secondary Stepped Up: Andrew Abbott, our best player in the secondary started the game off with an interception off a tipped pass. After last weeks debacle, the secondary did pretty well against Travis Wilson and co. Wilson was 22/33 220 yards and 1 INT, he did have a high completion percentage, but he was ineffective much of the game. They did give up a 1-yard TD pass late in the game, other than that, a solid game by our secondary.
The Defense As A Whole Is Great: Defense has been a problem in the past couple years. Not this year, UCLA D has stepped up to a whole other level.They have been great on stopping the run, getting pressure on the QB and forcing turnovers. UCLA’s defense has a nose for the ball, I credit Mora and company for toughening up our players. Last year, UCLA had all kinds of problems stopping the run AND pass, this year they have been good at stopping both. Yes, they do give up big-plays sometimes, but its natural and they’ve proven that they can bounce back.
As always, Go Bruins!