UCLA Football: Three quick takeaways from win over Colorado

UCLA Bruins running back TJ Harden (25) hurdles Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Omarion Cooper (3). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA Bruins running back TJ Harden (25) hurdles Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Omarion Cooper (3). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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UCLA Football
UCLA Bruins wide receiver Logan Loya (17) carries the ball on a 49=yard reception against Colorado Buffaloes safety Myles Slusher (18). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

We will discuss the three quick takeaways from UCLA’s win over Colorado.

Before we go over the three quick takeaways, let’s give a brief overall summary of UCLA’s 28-16 win over Colorado.

The Bruins were only up 7-6 at halftime but scored 21 second-half points to secure a much-needed victory in a very competitive Pac-12 conference.

UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns while running backs T.J. Harden and Carson Steele each rushed for 75 yards or more. The Bruins’ defense was also dominant for most of the game, holding Colorado to just 242 total yards and limiting the Buffaloes to only 25 total rushing yards.

UCLA’s second-half surge began with a 75-yard, two-play touchdown drive on their first possession of the third quarter. Garbers capped the drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Moliki Matavao. The Bruins then added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one on a rushing score by Harden and the other on a quarterback keeper by Collin Schlee.

Colorado finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass from Shedeur Sanders to Isaiah Horn, but it was too little too late. The Bruins held on for the 28-16 victory.

Here now are the three quick takeaways from the game.

No. 3

UCLA needs to decide who will be the starter at quarterback moving forward

On paper, Ethan Garbers had a productive game completing 20 of his 27 pass attempts and throwing for two touchdowns. He also ran for 37 yards on nine carries and made plays using his feet avoiding sacks that would have pushed the UCLA offense back. However, he threw an interception even though you can make a case it was not an actual interception.

The role and job of the quarterback is to get the offense to score touchdowns, especially in the red zone. Just like in the Coastal Carolina game, Garbers moved the ball for the UCLA offense in the first half but the Bruins were only able to score seven points against a Colorado defense which is not a top-tier defense in the Pac-12. At halftime, according to the poll shown below, the majority of the fan base wanted Chip Kelly to start another quarterback in the second half.

UCLA after playing two teams that they were favored to win against now has a very tough match-up against an improved Arizona team on the road. The Wildcats could have defeated Washington and USC but lost two close games by single digits and then beat Washington State 44-6. Their most impressive victory of the season was when they defeated Oregon State this weekend a team that beat UCLA by 12. The Bruins need a starter at quarterback that can move the offense effectively and produce multiple first-half touchdowns.

Dante Moore statistically, is the quarterback who can get the UCLA passing game going against an improved Arizona secondary. Moore had two ineffective games against Utah and Oregon State but both of them were on the road and had any other Bruins quarterback started either of those games, there is no evidence to suggest the results for UCLA would have been any different on offense. Moore is a true freshman and many Bruin fans would argue he needs another opportunity to prove that he should be the starter against the Wildcats.

This is not to say that Garbers and Schlee can’t have a role against Arizona. Both quarterbacks are mobile and can run to extend plays on the ground. Schlee for example, has three rushing touchdowns and over 200 rushing yards on the season. Garbers has thrown for over 640 yards and can be inserted at quarterback for a series or two to give the Wildcats different looks. However, the Colorado game showed that UCLA needs to pick a starter at quarterback and stick with him moving forward.