Blue and Fold — Like most Blue-Staters, fans in Blue are feeling blue, as UCLA gets up 14-7 on two Fafaul-to-Lasley TD passes, then gives up 29 straight points while Polamalu’s Offense gets shut out for the final 42 minutes in a 36-14 landslide
It looked good for 17 minutes. The Bruins were up 14-7 over u$c, and it looked that they might be able to compete with the #13 trojans. Then the bottom fell out, and the Bruins folded like a temp employee at The Gap. The first 17 minutes included a first-drive-of-the-game 56-yard Touchdown pass from Mike Fafaul to Jordan Lasley, and a Fabian Moreau Interception that set up a 7-yard TD pass to Lasley, which made the score 14-7 UCLA. But that was it. UCLA’s Defense was able to muster another Interception, by Jayon Brown in the End Zone, and they also forced sc to settle for three Field Goals. But they were unable to stop long drives, forcing only ONE PUNT until the last minutes of the (already-decided) game. SC dominated time of possession, with successful 1st Down runs and successful 3rd Down conversions, often due to Quarterback Sam Darnold eluding the rush to extend plays and then hit open Receivers. The Bruin Defense was definitely not playing their best game… but it was the Offense that really spelled the doom of UCLA.
Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, who was a Fullback for u$c in his playing days, just contributed another win to his beloved trojans. Hopefully, this will be his one and only season as the O.C. for UCLA. It has been a giant failure, in every way you can possibly measure it. Not to overstate it or anything, but some tactless Bruin fans in the stands were saying things like “They assassinated the wrong Kennedy! Twice.”
And just when it looked like Polamalu had finally turned a corner — Not only did his Offense score with two early TD passes, but they also gained 30 yards on a Wide Receiver Pass, when Lasley threw to Brandon Stephens for a big gain. But after the second TD, the Offense went right back to the stagnant, unimaginative, predictable unit that it has been for most of the season. SC adjusted, Polamalu did NOT. Sure Josh Rosen is out, but Mike Fafaul did not lose this game. He did not turn the ball over, and he was pretty nifty at avoiding Sacks. But the Running game was not effective during the 42-minute drought, and the DROPPED passes by Receivers were a huge problem again. The team has highly-recruited Receivers, but the staff can’t find a rotation that can catch the ball for 60 minutes.
The Bruins went three and out too many times, and couldn’t do the same to sc. The trojans took a 23-14 lead into halftime, then dominated the third quarter, but only got 7 points. So even though it SEEMED like they were up by 30, it was still a two-possesion game in the 4th Quarter. But UCLA couldn’t sustain a drive, so sc was able to get another Field Goal to make it a 19-point lead with about 13 minutes left, which understandably sent people to the exits. Another Field Goal made it 36-14, and then they put the back-up QB in, and took their foot off the gas, or the final score would have been worse.
Also, Mora gave up early, not going for it on 4th down when the Bruins were still alive. He ALMOST repeated that mistake, but then called time out and actually went for it on another 4th Down, with under 12 minutes to go. But they threw a pass short of the 1st Down, and that sent thousands more of the blue-clad fans to the parking lot.
The STATE of the BLUE program is bad. The first step for fixing it is firing the ex-trojan, and hiring a COMPETENT, experienced Offensive Coordinator. And then, recruit better Offensive Linemen, from high schools (or get Junior College Transfers), and then find someone who can coach them properly. And do it all quick, before Josh Rosen leaves for the NFL.
The only saving grace of the night was the beauty and grace of the UCLA Spirit Squad. Below are some photos of the game action, and then, a lot more of the Cheerleaders. My favorites are here right now, but there are literally hundreds more from tonight which I will be posting in the very near future. So check back every few days, because there are many, many more good “action” ones coming soon.