UCLA wide receiver Theo Howard (#14) celebrating with Bruins center Scott Quessenberry (#52) and other offensive linemen during a game at the Rose Bowl. Photo courtesy of uclabruins.com
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA) BRUIN FOOTBALL AFTER SIX GAMES – BY THE NUMBERS:
Record: 3-3, 1-2 and tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 South
(* = leads team)
Josh Rosen, QB – 64% completions, 2,354 yards, 17 TDs, 8 INT
Soso Jamabo, RB – 249 rushing yards, 5.2 ypc, 4 TD
Bolu Olorunfunmi, RB – 240 rushing yards, 6.0 ypc, 3 TD
Darren Andrews, WR – 44 receptions, 590 yards, 7 TD
Jordan Lasley, WR – 32 receptions, 543 yards, 3 TD
Jaleel Wadood, S – 40 tackles *
Kenny Young, LB – 37 tackles, 2 TFL
Jaelan Phillips, DE – 4.5 TFL *
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, DE – 2.5 sacks *
Keisean Lucier-South, LB and Rick Wade, DE – 4.5 TFL*
** Defense has a total of nine sacks and 34 tackles for loss in six games (Anemic!)
** Run defense giving up an average of 313 yards per game, ranking 128th out of 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams
** Opponents scoring an average of 40.5 points per game, ranking 125th out of 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams
Last Game: Lost to Arizona in Tucson, 47-30, on October 14th
Next Game: vs Oregon at the Rose Bowl, on October 21st, at 1:00 p.m.
Highlights from the Bruins’ most recent win: a hard-fought 27-23 decision over Colorado at the Rose Bowl on September 30th. Courtesy of YouTube.
A Few Thoughts:
For those who want to know how UCLA’s football team has fared so far in 2017, the defensive stats that I listed above sums it up.
Last year it was the offensive line that was the reason for my collegiate alma mater’s sub-par season.
This year it’s the defense, particularly the front seven as they have made the majority of running backs and quarterbacks who predominantly run the ball (read: Arizona’s Khalil Tate) look like Heisman Trophy favorites.
Heck, there have been times when that Bruin defense couldn’t stop Justin Bieber or any of the Kardashian sisters, it’s been so frustrating, painful, and just plain bad for Bruin Nation to watch.
I mean, the leader having only two and half sacks?
NINE sacks for the entire team?
A run defense ranked next to last in the nation?
Sound like the Bad News Bruins to me!
Pop Warner teams full of eight-year olds can do better than that!
Those were some cool uniforms and helmets that the Bruins sported during their “White-Out” game vs Colorado. Photo courtesy of bruinsnation.com
If it wasn’t for Rosen and the offense – his bad performance in Tucson with those three interceptions notwithstanding – UCLA would be in a ruined state at 1-5 as even the running game has improved some.
And outside of those dropped passes against Arizona, the wide receivers have been the most improved part of this squad.
However, football is considered the ultimate team sport for a reason.
If you don’t have all the facets of your team clicking – offense, defense, and special teams – you’re not going to be very good.
Especially at the Division 1, FBS, Power Five conference level, which UCLA is on.
The worst part of all this for me, the thing that makes it seem futile,
Is the fact that that debacle in Tucson happened after a bye week, where the Bruins were supposed to fix their tackling problems and where coach Jim Mora and his staff stated that things went well in practice.
Only to have it not show on the field.
Which leads me to this possible conclusion, at least after six games…
Perhaps too many of UCLA’s defensive personnel, particularly in the front seven, is just not good enough.
I know a lot of Bruin fans are fervently stating that the coaches are to blame, that they have been ineffective as UCLA’s record since that 10-3 season in 2014, to the minute, is a very mediocre 15-16.
They have a point when they say Mora has to go; I have stated in the preview I did for this team in August that if Mora wins five games or less, he’s gone.
Josh Rosen throwing a pass during UCLA’s epic comeback against Texas A&M on September 3rd. Photo courtesy of sbnation.com
To be brutally honest, as I take pride in being completely impartial, objective, and realistic when it comes to this football team of my alma mater’s – and all the other teams in Westwood for that matter, as I’m not an Annie-like “Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” member of Bruin Nation and never will be,
The way things are going, the Bruins could bring back both Vince Lombardi and Knute Rockne from their graves, and they wouldn’t be able to turn this season around.
And don’t even get me started on the Bruins’ trip to Seattle to face the Washington Huskies on the 28th; that’s going to be a grotesquely ugly outing as I recall saying that their chances of beating the Huskies was a “no way, no day, no how” in my UCLA predictions article before the season began.
The only hope for Bruin Nation is that Rosen and his offensive teammates can perform at a level where they are able to outscore teams.
Because – again, I’m being brutally honest – I don’t see their friends on the defensive side of the ball improving, particularly against the run over the next month and a half.
As such, I’ll be at the Rose Bowl for the Bruins’ Homecoming battle against Oregon this Saturday.
If they manage to beat the Ducks, I’ll hold out hope for a decent finish to 2017.
If they lose, I’ll consider UCLA’s football season over.
And expecting the announcement sometime after Thanksgiving that Mora has been bought out of this contract and the Bruins are looking for a new head coach.
Not to mention beginning to count the days until gymnastics season.
I know, most Bruin fans will be counting the days until basketball season – if they haven’t done so already.
And while I like UCLA Basketball,
Here’s the reason why I’m counting the days until the women’s gymnastics team begins their campaign: