UCLA Football defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 34-16 in the 2015 season opener. The team as a whole looked good, but how did the individual position groups do?
September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Running Backs: B
Paul Perkins and company could not get thing going early but managed to become a factor as the game went on. The Bruins had two freshmen that had spectacular debuts and helped the Bruin ground game as Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo shined in Game 1.
Rosen needed someone to throw to and 11 Bruins stepped up and collectively made their performance in the Virginia game one of the best in recent years. RB Paul Perkins lead all receiving yards with 58 followed by Jordan Payton with 54 and Thomas Duarte with 51 to go with a spectacular touchdown catch.
Offensive Line: B+
Do you see what an experienced offensive line can do? They protected Rosen and allowed the offense to work. Even better, they only allowed one sack. That is improvement. It was also good to see Jake Brendel in the middle of it all commanding the front line. It was night and day compared to last season against Virginia.
Defensive Line: A+
September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Taquan Mizzell (4) is brought down against the UCLA Bruins defense during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Bruins will now rely heavily on Kenneth Clark (who was great on the line and even had a receiving touchdown!) and Takkarist McKinley and one of three players (Eli Ankou, Matt Dickerson or Jacob Tuioti-Mariner) rotating in.
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A solid performance by the LBs. They assisted in limiting the Virginia run game, but also were slow early in the game in assisting the pass defense, but know that it improved dramatically in the second half.
Overall, we cannot complain with the pressure the UCLA Football linebackers put on the Cavaliers, especially Deon Hollins who recorded his first sack of the season.
Defensive Backs: B+
It took some time, but the DBs were all in this game. With the run game doing nothing for the Wahoos, Virginia QB Matt Johns had to rely on his air attack which picked apart UCLA for about a quarter and a half, but for the most part they suffocated the Cavaliers in the second half. With 5 pass break ups and one interception from redshirt freshman Adarius Pickett, things were definitely on the up for the secondary.