As one of the veterans of the UCLA football team, Keisean Lucier-South is leading by example, and against California, he led the charge for a defense that is finding their identity. As a result, he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and the defense showed they have teeth.
It has taken some time, but the UCLA football team is finally getting comfortable with the system that Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro have implemented. That is helping players on an individual level which is resulting in the defense, as a whole, making progress from week to week.
This weekend against California, one of those players unleashed his fury on a team that was not prepared for his onslaught. Keisean Lucier-South, “KLS”, had himself one of the biggest games of his career, which made the defense look unstoppable. As we have been saying, KLS is going to rock you and he definitely rocked California
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The Bruins had entered the 4th quarter against Cal with a 20-7 lead. The Golden Bears were trying to push their offense downfield to close the gap. Two quick scores and they were back in the game. KLS would make sure that did not happen.
With just over 11 minutes in the game, Cal QB Brandon McIlwain threw the ball to the left side of the field, right where Lucier-South was. The redshirt junior had tipped the pass up in the air, turned around and caught the ball, getting his first interception of the season.
Five minutes later, Cal was once again trying to march downfield, but the Bruins’ pass rush continued their relentless pursuit of the ball. Linebacker Odua Isibor shot into the backfield for a sack of McIlwain on the strong side, resulting in a fumble which hit the ground and rolled in back of the Cal O-line.
KLS spotted the ball, moved around the Bears’ big men, darted for the ball, scooped it and ran 38 yards for the defensive touchdown. That wasn’t all.
On the next drive, KLS put the nail in the coffin when he had his own sack on McIlwain and stripped it in the process. The ball rolled toward Lokeni Toailoa and that was that. KLS left his mark on the game and UCLA got the win. Their first of the season.
KLS has been able to do this his whole career, but this one quarter really made him stand out. For the game, he totaled 6 tackles, 3.5 which went for a loss. This performance got him named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, and rightly so. The Bruins’ defense worked together to shut down Cal as they were trying to come back against the Bruins but with KLS playing at the top of his game, he tied a ribbon on this game.
We have been saying that UCLA has a good defense, it has just been hard to prove it statistically because the Bruins have played some of the top offenses in the nation which put up some big numbers, so when they had a chance to strike, the Bruins took it and ran with it.
This is what UCLA’s defense is about and you should expect more of it in the coming weeks. The effort that Lucier-South is putting out is spreading and the defense is finding ways to make plays. Let it be known that KLS and the defense are going to rock you!