UCLA Football: The USC Loss Amplified The Bruin’s Issues


The UCLA Football team, with so much momentum going into the USC game, falls flat and ends a regular season that had so much promise to it.

This is the way the regular season ends, not with a bang but a whimper. (Props to T.S. Eliot)

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The regular season has come to a close and for the UCLA Football team they once again miss out on winning the Pac-12 South and a chance to go to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Disappointing, yes, but the Bruins have had their share of misfortune all season long.

Which begs the question, how good could this Bruin team have been?

Imagine where the Bruins would be if they had Eddie Vanderdoes, Fabian Moreau and Myles Jack. Pretty impressive, though we can imagine all we want, it does not change the fact that the Bruins lost 40-21 to USC and are now destined for a lower-tiered bowl.

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There were several contributing factors to this loss — and one can go so far as to say that these were common themes throughout the season — but one of the more prominent was the offensive play calling which stalled on several drives. Three-and-outs, turnovers and the inability to get the run going hurt the Bruins, especially in the second half of the USC game where the Bruins continually “shot themselves in the foot”.

In this game, the Bruins were only able to convert 4 of their 14 3rd downs. By comparison, USC converted 8 of 19. It was not just the inability to move the ball forward, but the predictability of each play that aided USC’s defensive pressure.

Nov 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) is tackled by Southern California Trojans linebacker Olajuwon Tucker (34) during an NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Part of that had to do with the offensive line not holding off the Trojan’s front. Paul Perkins was stopped behind the line on more than one occasion, Josh Rosen was continually pressured and don’t forget the penalties that showed up right on cue. Because of that, the Bruins did not have a chance to assert any kind of offensive game plan.

And in regards to the defensive line, we can write for days about the inability to stop the run and plug the gaps, but these themes are nothing new.

All of these factors have been a weakness for UCLA, one that has hampered their progress to go from good to great.

So now we wait to see which bowl the Bruins go to for their post-season finale. It is not the College Football Playoffs. It is not the Rose Bowl. It is not even the Alamo Bowl.

As of now, the Bruins are sixth in the conference. The Pac-12 tie-in for the 6th place team is the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Use this as a measuring stick if you choose, but remember that the Bruins were not playing with a full roster, even though that will not take back this loss to USC.

Still, we will have to wait another year to see exactly what this team could have done.

Nov 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora walks off the field after an NCAA football game against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated UCLA 40-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

For Thine Is the Kingdom

Excerpt from “The Hollow Men”, by T.S. Eliot