HOME RUN — Jordon James finds a new home as the Bruins’ Starting Running Back, rushing for 156 yards and a Touchdown while leading UCLA in their home opener to a 58-20 victory over Nevada, who trailed only 17-13 at Halftime before getting overpowered

Expectations for UCLA’s 2013 Football Team were as high as they have been in decades, and the Bruins did NOT disappoint.  Heisman Trophy Candidate Brett Hundley capped off the Bruins’ opening drive with a 37-yard Touchdown run, and it looked like everything was in place for another great season.  But after that first Touchdown, the Bruins failed to keep it going.  They were 21-point Favorites in this home game versus Nevada, but the Wolfpack played the Bruins tough for a while, scoring at the end of the first half to cut the lead to 17-13 at the break.

Suddenly, UCLA fans were not as confident as they were an hour earlier.  But whatever Coach Mora said at Halftime must have worked, because the Bruins exploded in the second half, outscoring Nevada 41-7 to make the game a laugher.  They scored on a long drive immediately after the Intermission, then blocked a punt for another quick 7 points.  Then new Bruin Superstar RB Jordon James broke a 26-yard TD run, giving the Bruins a 24-point lead, putting the game basically out of reach.  Nevada did cut it back to 17, but then the Bruins’ (mostly) second-stringers scored 3 straight TD’s to make the final margin 38.

All in all, the Bruins played a great game.  They generally dominated both lines of scrimmage, they amassed 647 yards of Total Offense, they never punted, Hundley was on target all over the field, and he also used his legs to devastate the Wolfpack.  But I don’t want you to get cocky…  Nevada was NOT a very good team, and their porous Defense may have given Bruin fans a false sense of confidence when it comes to the Running Game.  Nevada has a notoriously bad Rushing Defense, so James’ anointment as the heir apparent to Jonathan Franklin may be premature.  If he can produce similar number at Nebraska in two weeks, then the torch will have been passed successfully.

James may have some competition.  Although Steven Manfro is #2 on the Depth Chart, and he did deliver one great run, the two guys behind Manfro were also impressive.  Paul Perkins had a 45-yard run and a TD, and Malcolm Jones scored on a Reception and on a run.  Of course, this all may be deceptively promising, based on Nevada’s lack of Defense.  Or… maybe UCLA’s markedly improved Offensive Line is the reason for Saturday night’s success.  The OL opened big holes, AND protected Hundley well all night.

Some other problems for Mora to work on:  The Bruins did not get a lot of pressure on the Nevada QB.  It took a long, long time before they got a Sack, and they only got two on the whole night, both by Keenan Graham.  That means that Anthony Barr failed to get one, after getting 13.5 last season.  The Bruins also allowed 171 yards Rushing.  That’s not good, but they allowed only 3.4 yards a carry, so it’s not a horrible problem either.  A bigger issue might be penalties.  UCLA led the Nation in flags last year, and they got caught twice for late hits, and Center Jake Brendel got nailed twice himself for illegal man downfield infractions.  There were other mental errors, like a punt being fair caught at the 5-yard line.  But it’s the first game of the season, so hopefully these problems can be corrected.  There is a bye week now before the Nebraska game, and the Cornhuskers might not be as good as advertised, beating Wyoming on Saturday by only 3 points, so a victory in Lincoln is definitely NOT out of the question.

One thing is for sure:  UCLA’s opening effort was MUCH, MUCH better than u$c’s, who looked horrible in Hawaii.  They fell behind 5-3 before the Warriors’ QB handed them the game with a slew of pathetic Interceptions.  Both of the trojan wannabe QB’s looked shaky, and neither one looks like they can lead a team to a successful season.  Expect Kiffin to start changing jersey numbers and deflating footballs, if not calling Dr. Ting to re-start injections.

There is one SQUAD who does not need performance-enhancing drugs, and that is the UCLA Spirit Squad.  After all, how can you enhance perfection?  The 2013 version of the Spirit Squad made their debut on Saturday, and I was totally blown away, even more than Nevada’s Football team was.  Oh, my, God, this year’s squad is SO HOT!!!  And you’d think I would have been prepared for that, since I was one of the Judges that helped to select their new roster.  But even though I was on that panel, and was aware of who made the cut, I was still awestruck on Saturday.  Their beauty is even more striking than it was at the try-outs, and the talent did not disappoint either.  Some people say that 2007 or 2009 was the pinnacle of the Squad’s dynasty, but 2013 just may rival those glory years.  Both Dance and Cheer will knock your socks off.  I like the Yell Crew too this year.  Below are FIFTY-EIGHT photos of the game and the Cheerleaders, in honor of the 58 points the Bruins scored.  I couldn’t pare it down to less because there are so many stunning shots of the amazing Spirit Squad.  Not only that, but I have over 200 more (mostly Dance & Cheer) that I am dying to share, and I will be posting them all before the next home game, so check back frequently for more pictorials coming soon.


3 responses to “HOME, JAMES!”

  1. UCLADal Avatar

    Right On T-H! Way to hit the start of the season running! Just like Jordan James! GO BRUINS!

  2. JP Avatar

    Awesome night! Thanks for the pics. Our freshman were studs.

    And the Dance Team looks to still be in top shape. I was really worried about the departure of hall of famers Kate and Lizzie, but the new girls are beautiful. Kelly and the other newbies follow a very long line of blonde bombshells in the squad.

  3. BirminghamBrave Avatar

    McKenna’s gold….

    Hopefully that ain’t nearly all for MaCall.