Well, the most joyous time of the year is here — and I’m not talking about Christmas. Rather, it’s college football season, and things are rolling along. UCLA kicked off their season at home this year and rolled to a 58-20 victory over a tough, but non-elite, Nevada squad. In “celebration” of the 58 points that the Bruins tacked onto the scoreboard, lets look at the five high points of UCLA’s opening game.
1. A question is answered (Kind of…)
Jordon James proved to fans across the board that even without all time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin, UCLA can be an elite team at running the ball. Though only busting the plane of the end-zone once, James rushed for 155 yards on 21 carries. The Bruins racked up 190 more yards on the ground though, mainly through Brett Hundley and Paul Perkins. Perkins, who will be another major part of the Bruins run game this year, only carried the ball five times. Perkins managed 55 yards and put 6 points on the board in his efforts. The Bruins rushing game seems to be strong — and they’re doing there thing behind a strong offensive line.
2. No offensive line woes
UCLA’s offensive line, which struggled mightily last year, returned as a healthy group with some new faces. On every snap, they were ready to explode — managing to turn what would’ve been 1 yard gains into 45 yard explosions. They relieved Quarterback Brett Hundley of much pressure by allowing only one sack all night. With the provided time in the pocket for the redshirt sophomore, he has a vast world of options opening up to him.
3. Alleviated Ankle Aches
Rising star QB Brett Hundley hit a road block last year when it came to breaking tackles or running the ball. He adapted and overcame, but not at the level most diehards would have hoped. His young ankles were sore all season making it hard for him to juke and plant with his feet. Aside from bulking up, Brett seemed much more comfortable when he planted his feet — and it worked better too. His extra time in the weight room this offseason also played a large role in his success.
Simply put, the freshmen in the secondary have a long way to go — but they played well in their first college game. Namely the likes of Eddie Vanderdoes and Tahaan Goodman. Both played well on the defensive side of the ball; stuffing runs and breaking up passes respectively. The first half wasn’t nearly as successful as it could have been, but it’s evident that they stepped up post-halftime.
12 receivers caught passes for the Bruins on the 31st; accounting for 302 yards of a whopping 647 offensive yards. It didn’t matter, though it would have in the long run, who was throwing the pigskin either. Be it Brett Hundley or Jerry Neuhisel, receivers stepped up and showed up in what was an offensive beauty from UCLA’s perspective.
With their 58 points, UCLA made a point of the power of their offensive. Being out gained by Oregon — who played a terrible defense in Nicholls State — by just over 100 yards is an accomplishment when its also taken into account that UCLA also posted only 8 points less. Chances are the Bruins will move up one or two spots in the AP Rankings and face off against a similarly ranked Nebraska team two weekends from now in Lincoln.