Money — Houston’s Case Keenum puts Cougars in the Pink, cutting up the UCLA Defense into little pieces; Bruins come back from 17 down, but don’t have Time to get over The Wall, in 38-34 season-opening loss
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall, that faces Rick Neuheisel in his attempt to save his job.
Despite losing their Starting Quarterback Kevin Prince to a concussion in the 2nd quarter, the Bruin Offense was quite effective. Not only was the Running Game powerful behind Jonathan Franklin’s 128 yards, 1 TD performance and Richard Brehaut’s 87 yards and TD, but the Passing Game was equally impressive, behind Brehaut’s 264 yards and 2 TD’s. The Star Receiver was Tight End Joseph Fauria, who caught 6 passes for 110 yards and a TD. Those stats are better than Fauria’s entire season last year. Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree added 147 yards, with Rosario making two one-handed circus catches. Anthony Barr also made a twisting grab, for a TD that kept the Bruins alive with 1:19 left in the game.
But all these Offensive heroics were not enough to overcome the difficulties experienced by the Bruin Defense. Heisman-hopeful Case Keenum was on fire all day, picking apart the Bruin secondary without breaking a sweat. The Bruins were supposed to have a new, attacking philosophy on that side of the ball, but new Coordinator Joe Tresey’s debut was an epic fail.
Keenum ended up 30-for-40, for 310 yards and 2 TD’s, as not only did the Bruins fail to cover the Cougar Receivers, but they allowed dozens of short passes to go for huge gains, due to shoddy tackling. Usually-solid Sean Westgate missed three tackles himself, including one on a Houston Touchdown run where FOUR other Bruins also missed tackles.
Kevin Prince was doing well early, going 3-for-3 for 58 yards, and he led a Touchdown drive to cut Houston’s early lead to 10-7. But on his next drive, he got upended on a run, and landed on his shoulder and head. Prince was down for a while, but then got up, and watched the rest of the game from the sidelines, in sweats.
And what Prince saw was justification of Neuheisel’s previous decision to get Brehaut some playing time in this game, regardless of Prince’s performance. Brehaut showed a lot of moxie, taking hits, stepping up in the pocket, and hitting his targets, even on tough 3rd downs. He also ran the offense well, making the right reads, and running when he had openings.
The Bruins were down 31-14 at Halftime, but scored two TD’s in the 3rd quarter to make it 31-28. Then Keenum responded, and drove the Cougs down the field for another score. They got the points on a fumble recovered in the end zone, but even if the guy didn’t fumble, it would have been 1st and Goal at the 1. The TD made it 38-28 with 9:31 to go, but just like at Halftime, the Bruins refused to quit.
UCLA came back, and drove down the field, but with 2:32 left, Kip Smith was wide right on a 32-yard Field Goal attempt. But once again, the Bruins didn’t roll over and die. They forced a 3-and-out, got the ball back, and drove down for the Barr TD. The PAT was blocked, making it 38-34 with 1:19 to go. The ensuing Onside Kick failed, and that was the game.
The loss was a lousy way to start the season, but at least Bruin fans know that this year’s team will be more entertaining, will score points, and will never say die. The Bruins showed heart in the loss, and if they can make some defensive adjustments and learn how to tackle, they will be competitive with all their other opponents… and Joseph Fauria could be a breakout Star, and possibly an All-American, who will help get the Bruins some good wins this year.
Speaking of “good wins,” that is NOT what u$c got today. Yes, they logged a victory, but they won by only 2 points, 19-17, over lowly Minnesota, in the Coliseum. The trojans were favored by TWENTY-ONE points, and were up 19-3, in the 1st half, but then failed to score the rest of the way. And the Golden Gophers had a chance to win it in the last few minutes, but the back-up QB who they had to use due to an injury, threw an INT that ended the threat.
All three trojan TD’s were passes caught by Robert Woods, who caught a school-record SEVENTEEN passes for 177 yards. Attention Joe Tresey — When the big game rolls around, try to do what Minnesota couldn’t: Just guard ONE GUY. A few years ago, UCLA let Mike Williams rack up that kind of a day. Tresey should watch that game, and be prepared to double-team Woods all night long. In other words: Make someone ELSE beat you.