UCLA Football: What Went Wrong Vs. Baylor?

Dec 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Nick Florence (11) is pursued by UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) and defensive end Datone Jones (56) in the 2012 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Baylor defeated UCLA 49-26. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question as to who played the better game last night. Baylor dominated UCLA in all aspects, and quite frankly, the made the Bruins look like the team with the 119th (of 120) ranked pass defense. Or was that the run defense I’m thinking of? It was both. So while it is obvious that Baylor outplayed UCLA, it is not so easy to figure out why the Bruins looked like the mediocre 2011 team they once were.
So what went went wrong? Well, ultimately it comes down to the poor play of the offensive line. Baylor came into the game with 13 sacks on the season. They finished the game with 19. Yes, the recorded nearly half of their season total in one game. As a result, Brett Hundley did not look like himself out there. He looked awful. Unsure, inaccurate, and quite frankly, incapable. Thats not what we have been seeing from him all season, is it? No, its not, but something changed. He clearly felt the pressure when dealing with the ongoing blitz the UCLA line never quite understood.
Now thats not to say that Hundley’s poor play was all due to the O-Line. I can’t quite put a finger on what it was though. It seemed like his mind was elsewhere. He did all he could, but it wasn’t enough.
As for Johnathan Franklin, he had one of the worst nights of his career rushing for just 34 yards on 14 carries. Though he also didn’t seem like the up tempo, team leader we always see, its not his fault. Once again, he had no where to go due to poor blocking from the offensive line.
The offensive line is one of the few parts of a team that is able influence a game and, in the long run, decide the outcome. This line is young, and the members have dropped like flies this season. It just goes to show how far this team still has to go before they can be the dominant force they strive to be.
In the wake of a 9-5 season, losses like this tint the wonderful experiences this season has brought. With all the success UCLA has had in 2012, don’t let this game define them. Let it be something to learn from. All in all, it was a great season with only better seasons to come.

Topics: Baylor Bears, Football, UCLA Bruins

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