UCLA Football: 2016 results and analysis

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PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Caleb Wilson
PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Caleb Wilson /

Game 9 – Loss at (21) Colorado  20-10

With Colorado having their most success in years and UCLA having a tough season, this game looked like it could get ugly for the Bruins. Coach Mora went back to a more balanced attack from the previous week where Mike Fafaul threw the ball 70 times. UCLA’s defense also stepped up allowing just one touchdown and two field goals.

The problem was that UCLA also had trouble getting the ball in the end zone. Fafaul’s first quarter pass to Darren Andrews would be their only touchdown of the game.

The game was decided on one punt in the fourth quarter when Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver returned the kick through the middle of the field and then broke to the right side for a touchdown. That score put the game out of reach for the Bruins.

Too bad because UCLA’s defense had a great game intercepting Colorado’s quarterbacks three times (Liufau 2, Montez 1) in the first half. They also held Colorado to just 20 points when they had averaged 35 points a game up to that point.

LB Jayon Brown would again lead the defense with 19 total tackles including 13 solo and two for losses.

Game 10 – Win vs Oregon State  38-24

After losing four straight games, a visit from Oregon State was exactly what an ailing Bruins team needed. The Beavers came in losers of six out of their last eight with one of those two wins coming against Big Sky member Idaho State.

Mike Fafaul was not as sharp as other games, barely connecting on 50% of his passes. Luckily the Bruins got off to a good start and didn’t a sharp Fafaul taking a 24-14 lead at halftime.

Even though Oregon State got within three points at 24-21, the Bruins regained control and ended up winning by two touchdowns.

Bolu Olorunfunmi had a nice game breaking off a few big runs for a total of 65 yards and a touchdown.

Game 11 – Loss vs (15) USC  36-14

This year’s crosstown rivalry game didn’t have the same feel as other years. The Bruins came in winners of just one of their last five while the Trojans entered the game winners of their last six.

UCLA got on the board first with a 56 yards pass from Mike Fafaul to Jordan Lasley. USC quickly answered to tie it up but another Fafaul to Lasley touchdown gave the Bruins a 14-7 lead. That would not only be the last lead for UCLA, it would be the last time they would score. USC went on to score 29 unanswered points to crush any hope the Bruins had in getting bowl eligible.

The Bruins couldn’t get their running game going with Jalen Starks and Bolu Olorunfunmi both rushing for 20 yards apiece.

Fafaul was decent, but inaccurate, going 15-31 for 181 yards and two touchdowns and no picks.

Game 12 – Loss at Cal  36-10

With the loss to USC last week, a lot of the Bruins’ wind was knocked out of their sails for the game against Cal. Mike Fafaul never got going, completing only 12 of 30 passes. The Bruins didn’t even get on the board until the beginning of the third quarter with a touchdown pass from Fafaul to Kenneth Walker III.

The only other points UCLA could manage was a field goal by JJ Molson.

The game itself was almost demoralizing to watch. This UCLA Football team didn’t show any major signs of fight and seemed resigned to the fact that they would miss bowl season.

Next: UCLA Football: Offensive starters thriving, 2nd/3rd string struggles

Cal continued to score as the game, much like the Bruins’ season, just got away from them.

The only bright spot might have been a season long quiet Nate Starks showed what he was he is capable of by rushing for 73 yards.