Stats on the Season
Progress varied throughout the season. Also, keep in mind that the Bruins were down several players, which affected how individual units performed.
The biggest issue, which became very apparent towards the end of the season, was the lack of a pass rush. UCLA only had 15.0 sacks all season long, 118th in the nation. The Bruins’ pass rush was not bad, they just did not have the players to put pressure on offenses. By season’s end, Keisean Lucier-South was pretty much the only edge rusher, collecting a team-high four sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss.
When defenses fail to get pressure on the quarterback, that gives those QBs more time to operate in the backfield. As you can see in the graph above, UCLA progressively got worse with their pass defense, which was capped off with USC (Week 11) and Stanford (Week 12) throwing for the most yards against the Bruins all season long.
But, UCLA was able to bring down their rushing yards allowed, especially in those last two games, which resulted in the least amount of yards allowed on the ground in a game for the season. The Trojans might have been a bit vain against UCLA, trying to depend on JT Daniels‘ arm a bit too much. With that in mind, the Bruins only allowed 112 yards in that game.
Against Stanford, there was more of a collective effort to shut down that run and the Bruins only allowed 126. That needs to be noted. UCLA’s run defense is taking major steps forward and in the next slide, we will see how the stats compared to 2017.