Although 2012 saw a plethora of UCLA athletics programs getting deep into national title runs, the UCLA football season has stood out as the most salient, primarily because of the visibility of football but also because the Bruins’ 2011 season was laughable.
After the hiring of Jim Mora, the program turned from the direction of fiery college football hell into one that could see UCLA atop national rankings in just a pair of seasons.
A nine-win season (so far, with a Baylor performance coming up) has yielded some of the most jaw-dropping performances in recent memory. There are far more than 10 amazing performances, but these are the best of the best of the best.
(NOTE: We realize that UCLA has yet to play in the Holiday Bowl, but that’s far too late to start making 2012 lists; get with it.)
Without further ado, the best individual performances of the 2012 UCLA football season.
10. Eric Kendricks vs. Arizona State. October 27, 2012
STATS: 17 Total Tackles (Season-High), 11 Solo Tackles (Season-High)
UCLA linebackers Eric Kendricks turned out to be one of UCLA’s unsung heroes of the 2012 season. Despite leading the Pac-12 conference in tackles for the regular season, he was snubbed from both first- and second-team all-conference honors, receiving merely an honorable mention.
Statistically, this was Eric Kendricks’ best game in a season where he was somehow overshadowed by the emergence of sackmeister Anthony Barr, and remarkably (SPOILER), this wasn’t Kendricks’ best performance.
In this game, Kendricks was able to limit Arizona State from earning big yardage, preventing an Arizona State touchdown early in the game — Kendricks was the last man to beat — on a 49-yard run from ASU running back Cameron Marshall. Instead, ASU settled for a field goal, and the four extra points may have swung a close 45-43 game in ASU’s favor.
Additionally, Kendricks ended four separate drives with his tackling prowess, a stat that is magnified in the context of a thriller.