This isn’t going to excuse UCLA’s offense for their pitiful performances against Stanford and Oregon over the past two weeks, but the Bruins’ 45-23 win over the Colorado Buffaloes proved to fans that this offense still has swagger.
In a bit of a sloppy blowout win for the Bruins, UCLA found its way offensively again after a rough start against the Buffaloes. Though Noel Mazzone’s play-calling was heavily criticized over the past two games (for good reason), the embattled offensive coordinator found his way.
Of course, this came after two straight three-and-outs for the UCLA offense, led mainly by the continued conservative play-calling from Mazzone. (Indeed, both drives were made up of two consecutive runs up the middle, too-short passes, and a punt, or as some like to call it, R2P2.)
After that, Mazzone allowed his star QB Brett Hundley to throw, and they were far more than just swing passes. The Bruins’ first touchdown of the evening came on a 76-yard pass from Hundley to QB-turned-WR Devin Fuller, and the UCLA offense rolled from there.
The defense? Well, they took a page out of Mazzone’s playbook, putting together a rather bland performance against a rather hapless Colorado squad. Though the Buffs were eventually held to 23 points, they gave the Bruins more fits than anyone had expected, even in a 22-point blowout.
The game featured quite a bit of late-fourth-quarter chippiness, too, which saw Anthony Barr and Myles Jack getting flagged for getting aggressive with Colorado QB Sefo Liufau. In a pair of instances, Barr’s late slamming of Liufau earned him the ire of the Colorado offensive line, which turned into a skirmish between the two teams.
The Bruins now move on to 6-2 and are bowl-eligible on the eighth game of the year for the second season in a row. Of course, for a fan-base with inflating expectations (again, for good reason), that’s not much to champion.
Next up for the Bruins is a showdown with a middling Arizona squad in Tucson. Given the improvements that both Arizona State and USC have made, every game from here on out is likely a must-win. (And, if we’re honest, a should-win, with the Bruins’ toughest competition coming against ASU and USC in the final two games of the year.)