Another Slow Start, Another Defeat for the UCLA Bruins
October 10, 2019
Some habits are hard to break and for the UCLA Bruins, falling behind in football games has been a consistent habit. On Saturday night, the Bruins took this habit to new heights, falling behind the Oregon State Beavers, 21-0, in the first six minutes of the game. They were never able to recover and lost 48-31 at the Rose Bowl, dropping to 1-5 for the season.
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton had a night to remember, throwing for five touchdown passes, three to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins. Luton completed 18 of 26 passes for 285 yards and had a 19-yard run for a touchdown. Running back Artavis Pierce had 119 yards rushing on 21 carries, including a five-yard touchdown run. For his efforts, Luton was named the National Player of the Week by College Football Performance Awards. Luton as also named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.
There was an assumption from many Bruins fans that the Beavers would be an easy win. After all, the Beavers had lost 48 of their last 59 games. But the matchup did not really favor the Bruins. The Beavers are ranked 24th in the nation out of 130 teams in total offensive yards. The Bruins are ranked 124th in defensive yardage allowed per game. The Bruins defense badly lost this matchup.
UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly stated the obvious: "You can't spot them a lead like that in the first quarter. I thought that our guys battled. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes. With the onside kick, it's something you practice but you don't see that very often. That's on us. You've got to just fair catch that. I thought that our guys battled back. They did a good job, but we put ourselves in too big of a hole to start the game."
The Beavers received the opening kickoff and quickly struck, driving 75 yards in 7 plays to take a quick 7-0 lead over the Bruins. After a touchback, the Bruins were faced with a 4th and 1 from their own 34-yard line. The smart move might have been to punt, but Kelly decided to go for it. Running back Joshua Kelly was nailed for a five-yard loss and the Beavers had a first down at the Bruin 29-yard line. Five plays later, Pierce ran in for a 14-0 lead.
The Beavers kicked off from midfield after a UCLA personal foul penalty and were successful on a squib kick, recovering it at the Bruins 27. On the first play after the recovery, Luton connected with a wide-open Teagan Quitoriano, their tight end, for a touchdown. A constant in the Beaver offensive onslaught were missed tackles and receivers running wide open in the secondary. The Bruins defense looked lost.
When asked about the performance of his defense and his defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro, Coach Kelly stated: "It's with our whole staff. It's not just with one guy on the defensive side of the ball. I think that we've got to do a better job. That's on all of us. It's not a one-person operation. It has never been a one-person operation. So, everybody collectively, we have to do to a better job of stopping people."
Offensively, the Bruins did score 31 points. Quarterback Austin Burton, making his first career start, completed 27 of 41 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown. He also had a six-yard rushing touchdown. Running back Demetric Felton had 166 total yards of offense, which included a 75-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. The Bruins as a team had an impressive 256 rushing yards and 492 total yards of offense.
The Bruins will have a bye this weekend and then return to action at Stanford on Oct. 17, in a Thursday Night game at Palo Alto. The game starts at 6 p.m.. Hopefully, the Bruins will get off to a much quicker start on the road.