Where does the offense go from here? (cont.)
In the first third of the season, Kelly tinkered with 21 personnel (2 RBs, 1 TE), but left it alone after the Colorado game (week 4). As the season went on, the 13 personnel would be a big hit, especially when it came to the run game which started improve, especially when Kelly focused on Joshua Kelley as the premier running back.
In addition, the Bruins started to mesh with DTR running things. The offense continued to sputter, but it was improving. In Game 5 against Washington at the Rose Bowl, UCLA surprised the eventual Pac-12 North winner. DTR threw for 272 yards and led the Bruins to an energized second half effort which had them outscore the Huskies, 17-7, the first time they would dominate the second half that season.
The offense was moving forward and would have a big game the next time they took the field, but let us quickly go back two games to Colorado. It was Game 4 of the season and the last of the suspensions expired the week before, which meant that a player like Boss Tagaloa was again eligible to play (seven players were suspended at the start of the season with punishments ranging from 1-3 games). Tagaloa came in as the Bruins’ starting center on the offensive line. The last time he took the field was in 2017… as a defensive lineman. His insertion into the line did wonders for UCLA and was the start of something that would help open the floodgates for the Bruins, especially, Joshua Kelley and the running game.
Kelley was named as the starting RB along with Bolu Olorunfunmi for the first several games, yet did not play a single down against Fresno State. He then made an appearance the next week against Colorado and made the most of it. In that game, he ran for 124 yards, the first of four straight 100-yard rushing games and a total of six for the season which culminated with 289 against USC, which we will get into in a minute.