If you thought the first half didn’t have enough excitement you surely got your dosage of it in the second half. The UCLA Football program continues to provide plenty of hope only to have it yanked out from underneath them especially against the Stanford Cardinal.
After receiving the second half kickoff the Bruins began marching downfield but were aided by another “targeting” call that saw Stanford CB Elijah Holder ejected from the game. These targeting calls are getting out of hand and clearly Jim Mora thought the same thing as he could be seen mouthing “bad call” after the announcement. Mostly the calls have hurt the UCLA Football defense but this time another questionable one gave them a short lived break.
The UCLA Football offense then did a very non UCLA thing this season and began running the football right at the Cardinal and RB Soso Jamabo punched it in to pull the Bruins to within three points.
Then it all fell apart.
The defense went with heavy dose of the 4-2-5 defense and in the early going it was successful. Then quickly it was a problem. To be honest I don’t think it would have mattered if the UCLA Football defense went with a 7-3-1 defense (don’t ever try that).
Stanford exploited the inexperienced and undermanned UCLA Football defensive front, especially the interior to the tune of 405 yards on the ground. RB Bryce Love was responsible for 263 of those yards and had probably his best chance to boost his Heisman campaign. He showed off the speed, the vision, the agility and even the power that make him one of the top backs in the country.
Speaking of RBs the Bruins had a 100 yard rusher in what has felt like a decade. Jamabo has put together a workman like 2017 despite missing two games with a shoulder injury. He demonstrated his own capable running ability bailing the UCLA Football offense out of a few bad situations.
More from Go Joe Bruin
- UCLA Football: It’s time for the nation to meet Dante Moore
- UCLA Football: Where are they ranked heading into week 4
- UCLA Football: Position battle breakdown for Utah showdown
- UCLA vs. Utah: Location, time, prediction, and more
- UCLA Football: Highlights from Chip Kelly’s appearance on the Jim Rome Show
But it seems like nothing could pull the Bruins out of this awful situation. They were bullied and they were beaten and at times it seemed as though the UCLA coaching staff didn’t have an answer for the Stanford offense despite them being on their third string QB. They couldn’t find a way to get home in their pass rush and their run defense struggled to shed blocks and put themselves in position to make tackles.
The goal of this game should have been to sell out against the run and force the Cardinal to beat the Bruins through the air. Well once K.J. Costello entered the game it didn’t matter what the Bruins tried to do they just couldn’t make a dent. They surrendered 58 points to a team that put up 31 points combined in their last two losses.
The secondary gave up plenty in the back end after a solid first half but they didn’t receive any favors from a defensive line that sans Jaelan Phillips was unable to mount any pressure against any of the Stanford QBs. That meant that in addition to having time to throw, the Bruins were lost in their gameplan.
Rosen on the other hand aired the ball out with 60 attempts for the game and had mostly solid protection from the offensive line but drops again reared their ugly head in this game and at one point a drop in the endzone cost the Bruins a TD. They then had that FG blocked and scored no points. It continues to look like Rosen will have to throw for 50 plus times a game to keep UCLA in the fight.
Things have gotten very ugly as of late for the Bruins especially when it looked like they could do some damage against this Stanford team that hadn’t looked good in almost a month. This loss shouldn’t be the end of the season but it is going to take a lot for the Bruins to get going again next week especially after they lost in this fashion.
Next week the UCLA Football team plays host to Colorado who also took a beating at the hands of PAC-12 North foe. Will the Bruins rise up and lay it on the Buffs or has the fight been taken out of them?