Take a guac on the wild side — UCLA dominates early to lead at the Half 31-6, but have to recover a last-minute onside kick — twice — in order to stave off a valiant Kansas State comeback attempt and take the Alamo Bowl 40-35

Texas may be the Lone Star State, but when the Bruins played in San Antonio on Friday evening, it was all four of their biggest stars who had huge games and carried the team to victory.  It started out easy, as #1 Bruin star, Quarterback Brett Hundley, in his final game as a Bruin, led the way with a scramble TD, and then a Read-Option rushing TD — on a FOURTH DOWN — and completed 9 of his first 11 passes, to guide #14 UCLA to an early 17-0 lead over #11 Kansas State.  And the reason high-powered K-State had zero was simple:  UCLA’s two biggest Defensive stars were stymie-ing the Wildcats’ attack.  Butkus Award Winner Eric Kendricks was, as usual, all over the field, gumming up the Offensive works of KSU.  And when it wasn’t Kendricks, it was Myles Jack, on pass defense and run support.    A Jack Interception and 41-yard return set up UCLA for their third Touchdown.  Kendricks finished with 10 tackles, 3 for loss (totaling 21 yards), and Jack had 8 tackles, 2 for loss, plus the huge INT, which set up the fourth star, Running Back Paul Perkins.  Three plays after the pick, Perkins scampered 32 yards for the first of his two TD runs.  GAME MVP Perkins ended up with 194 yards rushing, including the game-winning 67-yard TD run with 2:20 left in the game, when the Wildcats had cut the lead to 6.

But it wasn’t as simple as the Big 4 doing everything right, by themselves.  After going 9 for his first 11, Hundley missed on his next 7 passes.  And Perkins lost a fumble in the 3rd quarter that aided the KSU comeback.  Then, with 1:21 left in the game and UCLA up by only 5, KSU attempted an onside kick, which Perkins caught, but apparently fumbled, almost costing the Bruins the game.  It looked like he was down by contact, but Jordan Payton is being credited with recovering the ball, so apparently, the ball was still live after Perkins had his hands on it.  So yes, Perkins was the MVP, but he can give an assist to Payton.

There was one more player who had a monumental individual impact on the game, and that was Deon Hollins, who had THREE QB SACKS and 2 QB “Hurries.”  For most of the game, UCLA put immense pressure on the KSU QB, including two passes batted down by Owa Odighizuwa.  Fellow D-Lineman Eddie Vanderdoes contributed too, with a Fumble Recovery after D-back Marcus Rios jarred the ball loose from the QB on a blitz-sack.  My point is that it wasn’t just the big 4 stars that played well.  They had plenty of help, especially in the first half, when the Bruins held K-State to 104 yards of Offense and just two Field Goals.

In the Second Half, the Bruin D lost their edge, and allowed the two star Wide Receivers way too much room to operate, as each of them surpassed 100 yards receiving.  The Bruins also had major penalty issues all game, committing 15 fouls for 128 yards, many of them costly and leading directly to possessions and points.

But just when it looked like the Wildcats had all the (Ala)mo-mentum, and Bruin fans were afraid that the UCLA staff was playing too conservatively or playing not-to-lose, Perkins broke free for his 67-yard TD with 2:20 left, that everyone including the announcers thought was the dagger.  But K-State showed heart, and refused to die, quickly cutting the 12-point lead back to 5, on a long pass to their MVP WR.  It was pretty sad that the Bruins would allow him to get so wide open at that juncture of the game, in that situation.  That screw-up with 1:21 left gave life to the KSU comeback.  The Wildcats tried a TRICK onside kick, with the Kicker switching directions at the last second, wrapping his right (kicking) leg around his plant (left) leg, and hitting the ball backhanded (“back-footed?”) with the outside of his foot, to his right.  The ball went right to Perkins, who made the grab, then lost it in the scrum, with — according to the box score — Payton saving the day.

The exhilirating victory escape gave the Bruins their 10th win of the season, for an unprecedented second year in a row.  A lot of people make a big deal out of this, and UCLA will use that stat in recruiting.  However, they play more games in a season than they used to, so I think it’s a misleading stat.  They should actually concentrate on how many LOSSES they accrue in a year.  Don’t get me wrong — Of course I am happy with 10 wins, because 1 of those 10 was the third straight beatdown of u$c.  But the Bruins did lose three games this year, ALL AT HOME, and was favored to win 2 of those.  So let’s not call it a “Perfect 10.”

That being said, the year is still a success, despite the sky-high expectations which were not quite realized.  The Bruins will probably finish in (or very close to) the Top Ten in the final Polls, and most importantly, they spanked sc again.  So congratulations to Jim Mora, Brett Hundley, and the whole Program.  Handley is leaving (early), but he’s earned that right. Hopefully, Mora won’t do the same.  His goal of beating Oregon and Stanford still lingers, so he still has challenges to overcome here in Westwood/Pasadena before he leaves for another crack at the NFL.  I don’t think 10-win Mora could be easily replaced.


Meanwhile, the Basketball team may not get to 10 wins for a while, as a Colorado team missing one of their star players beat UCLA on Friday night 62-56.  The Bruins actually gave Colorado a very competitive game in the Buffaloes’ arena, but poor shooting finally did them in.  Bryce Alford had another poor Road performance, shooting TWO-FOR-SIXTEEN, and 0-for-9 from Three-point land.  You would think when he’s that cold, he would concentrate more on dishing the ball to his teammates, but Alford has a shooter’s mentality, even as a Point Guard, so he wasn’t able to lead his team to victory.  Next up is Utah, which will be a tall order.  At this point, I just want to BEAT SC, and anything else is gravy.


Now, in honor of the 40 points UCLA hung on K-State to become Alamo Bowl Champions, here are the rest of 40 new UCLA Cheerleader photos.



4 responses to “HOLY ALAMO-LY!”

  1. JC Avatar

    Your summary is incomplete without commentary on the last play of the game and the coaches meetings on the field after the game.

    [T-H’s Note: I ignored this aspect of the night, because too much is being made out of it, and because it did not affect the outcome of the game, and because there is too much misinformation circulating about it. First of all, KSU fans are blasting Mora’s lack of class for not shaking Snyder’s hand after the game, but in fact, Mora DID shake his hand, albeit QUICKLY. Actually, they shook hands TWICE after the game, the second one mitigating the briefness of the initial one. Secondly, I have no problem with Snyder calling the last time out, although he should have called it after the FIRST kneel-down. Thirdly, I have no problem with a crazy attempt to cause a fumble on a kneel-down. The issue is that some people think the player wasn’t trying to dislodge the ball — They think he was trying to spear Hundley with his helmet. I didn’t see it that way. It appears to me like just an awkward, ill-advised attempt to get to the ball. Finally, some people are saying that Snyder was classless to set this up, while others claim he had nothing to do with it. Well, the player Tweeted that he didn’t want to make this attempt, but was Coached to do it. But like I said, you should keep trying to win until the final gun goes off, in a one-possession game. A fumble during a victory formation IS possible, so you want to disrupt the play any legal way you can. I’m okay with Mora being upset, since it appeared to be a play that could have injured one of his players. But I’m especially glad that Mora didn’t let his anger stop him from shaking hands with Snyder. Half of the Florida State players didn’t shake hands with Oregon, even though that game’s outcome/ending was not controversial at all. That shows a severe lack of class and sportsmanship, and I wouldn’t want Mora to act that way.]

  2. Rick Avatar

    This game encapsulated everthing that is right–and wrong–with Bruin football: the talent and ability to dominate a ranked opponent, but the foolishness (15 penalties) and inability to close teams out with a vengeance.
    You’re right that the 10 wins are less worthy of focus than the 3 losses. The fact that Mora has improved from 5 losses to 3 is very promising, especially if (when) that trend continues.
    But if that trend is to continue on to a championship, Mora needs to own, and fix, the flaws that stand in the way, instead of “killiing the messenger” as he did in the postgame news conference. The reason you need to “close teams out” in college (in a way that is unnecessary in the pros) is that in college you not only have to impress a committee, but you also only get one loss if you want to be champion–and letting inferior teams stick around is not only unimpressive, but is practically begging for another loss. Yes, we all see the scoreboard, Coach, but we–and YOU–will not be truly satisfied until the Bruins achieve the ultimate goal; and in college that requires a “killer instinct” that has yet to be instilled.

  3. JC Avatar

    Your site is at its finest when thoughtful, on-point posts are given, such as those above. Oh, and the song leaders don’t hurt, either.

  4. Bruin86 Avatar

    Very nice football season for UCLA.

    First, the dominating victory versus $UC.
    Second, some great Bruin players
    Third, 10 wins

    I had the opportunity to see the UW game in person. UW, $UC, and ASU were the shining moments. But many games were closer than necessary. The next level will require the ability to eliminate mistakes (penalties) and close out wins.

    UCLA is still vulnerable to the Stanford style of control and needs to learn how to defeat it. Kansas State was able to use this approach in Q3 and wore out our defense making the game close when it could have been a blow out.

    Coach Mora and team deserve credit and the coaching staff is the key to the next level. With so many great young players and the expectation to put in the work to get to the next level it is in sight.

    Pac12 has established itself as the #1 conference and I expect Oregon to win a very tough championship game versus OSU.

    Next season Pac12 will be stronger as UW and $UC both improve.

    go Bruins! Fight, fight, fight!