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Josh Rosen calling a play during a recent game at the Rose Bowl. Photo courtesy of brunchnews.com

 

UCLA BRUINS – 2016 BY THE NUMBERS AFTER SIX GAMES

Record: 3-3, 1-2 and 5th place in the Pac-12 South

Team Leaders:

Josh Rosen, QB – 59.3% completions, 1,915 yards, 10 touchdowns, 5 INT

Soso Jamabo, RB – 220 yards, 3.9 ypc, 3 TDs

Bolo Olorunfunmi, RB – 4.0 ypc, 2 TDs

Darren Andrews, WR – 25 receptions, 35 long, 1 TD

Kenneth Walker, WR – 18 rec, 62 long, 3 TDs

Jayon Brown, LB – 53 tackles (leads team)

Kenny Young, LB – 45 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 4 sacks

Takkarist McKinley, DL – 8 TFL, 3 sacks

Adarius Pickett, DB – 3 INT

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With a mere 3.9 yards per carry and on a pace for just 440 yards for the 2016 season…congratulations Soso Jamabo, you’re at the top of the Bruin rushing attack. Photo courtesy of dailyherald.com

 

A Few Thoughts:

Three facts regarding these Bruins’ offense – or a lack of one – says it all…

A ranking of (dead) last in the Pac-12 Conference with an average of 99 rushing yards per game.

Which puts them at 123rd out of 128 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Not to mention a receiving corps full of guys who remind fans of that character in the movie Necessary Roughness who was called “Stone Hands” due his extreme inability to catch a football.

And the reason for the Bruin’s ineptitude, an offensive line that’s possibly the worst in school history as they have already given up more sacks this year than all of last year, blocking, in the words of Craig T. Nelson in the 80s football movie All The Right Moves which starred Tom Cruise:

“…about as good as a jelly doughnut!”

Josh Rosen, who was knocked out twice during the most recent game against Arizona State, and backup quarterback Mike Fafaul can attest to that as they spent last Saturday night running for their lives when they weren’t being sacked.

All of this equals a UCLA team that once again is having a sub-par season despite having enough talent to be undefeated.

Which they could easily have been as their three losses were of the close kind in which they blew it at the end – and in Texas A&M’s case overtime.

That’s what is most frustrating and upsetting to Bruin Nation as these disappointments – that’s keeping them from being a truly elite program – seem to happen year after year.

This is a team that should be 6-0, ranked in the top ten if not the top five, and contenders for the College Football Playoff.

And they’re about as far from that level as a team can get.

 

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Two bright spots for the Bruins: defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley (#98)  and linebacker Jayon Brown (#12) celebrating during a recent game. Photo courtesy of zimbio.com

 

And the worst part of this mess, as much as it hurts to say it…

It doesn’t look like things will get any better going forward, particularly if Rosen has to miss any time.

Remember in my preview of this team when I stated that Bruin Nation needs to pray for Rosen’s health due to the lack of a credible backup?

That nightmare scenario has all but come true as with no disrespect intended, in the grand tradition of what Michael Corelone famously said in The Godfather:

“It’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business,”

Fafaul in simply not a good enough quarterback to be successful at this high level of major college football, his skill set being more favorable to a Sacramento State or a UC Davis.

Unfortunately, this is UCLA and the Pac-12 Conference, and if Fafaul is forced to play due to Rosen’s injuries, I honestly can’t see the Bruins winning any more games this season save for maybe Oregon State.

And seeing that they beat California their last game, even that’s no longer a gimme.

To put it another way, UCLA is staring at the possibility of a 3-9 record.

Which could happen even if Rosen’s able to play because of an offensive line and a group of receivers that perform like Charlie Brown pitches.

 

Highlights of UCLA’s last win, a 45-24 beating of the Arizona Wildcats on October 1st at the Rose Bowl, courtesy of YouTube.

 

The one silver lining in this disaster of a season (so far), the reason why these Bruins will be in every game from here on out and will avoid getting blown out, is their defense.

Led by coordinator Tom Bradley, they have given Jim Mora’s team a chance to win every game with their pressure up front and stops in key moments.

With UCLA’s sorry offense, however, that defense is going to have to come up with some pick-sixes and fumble returns for touchdowns if they are going to have any chance of winning.

As such, like I tweeted on this site’s Twitter page, as much as I’m sick and tired of the Bruins’ underachieving, as a loyal alum if this ship goes down like the Titanic – and they’ve certainly hit the iceberg,

I’ll go down with them. And I’m sure the rest of Bruin Nation will, too.

UCLA’s next game, against a resurgent Washington State team that not only beat the Bruins last year, but are favored this year in arguably the toughest place to play in the conference, Pullman, WA, will be very telling as for how I see the rest of this campaign unfolding.

By roughly midnight, I will know once and for all if the Bruin fan base should consider this season over and start looking forward to 2017.

And whether I should start tweeting, #IsItUCLABruinGymnasticsSeasonYet?

 

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Rosen, with Andre James (#75) leading the way, getting ready to throw a pass in UCLA’s 45-24 win over Arizona. Photo courtesy of foxsports.com

 

 

 

 

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