Picks Elated – A first half Pick 6 by Ishmael Adams and a game-clinching Interception by Nate Meadors  picks up the Bruins (and their fans) from the depths of near-catastrophe (and depressed silence), and lifts them to an improbable 35-31 Pick-tory (and wild celebration cheering), over lowly Colorado

Despite being decimated by injuries, and being exhausted from defending against 113 prior Offensive plays, UCLA’s Defense came up with the huge, game-saving play to avert the disaster of losing to (now 1-4 in Conference) Colorado.  It was unknown Cornerback Nate Meadors who stepped in front of a Buffalo pass with 51 seconds left to end the threat and allow UCLA to escape with a 35-31 triumph.

The Bruins came in as a 21-point favorite, but were a little flat at the start.  About halfway through the 1st quarter, Josh Rosen passed to Paul Perkins on a play that looked like it was going nowhere, but Perkins magically escaped a crowd and found the end zone.  The Bruins were quiet after that on Offense, and in the second quarter the Buffs were driving to tie the score.  But Ishmael Adams came up with a nifty Interception on the Bruins’ 4-yard line, and returned it 96 yards for the Pick 6.

Down 14-0, Colorado kept pounding away, moving the chains repeatedly via the run and the pass.  UCLA’s defense was playing a little soft, allowing Colorado to drive, but stiffening when it counted.  Colorado broke through with a Field Goal, but Perkins responded with an 82-yard TD run to make it 21-3, and it looked like the expected rout was on.  Colorado tacked on another Field Goal at the end of the first half, so it was 21-6 at Halftime.

In the third quarter, Colorado’s ball control was wearing down the battered Bruin Defense.  Colorado scored a TD, but the Bruins answered with one of their own.  Then Colorado scored 18 straight, on a Field Goal, a return for a TD of a Rosen fumble, and then an Offensive TD (and 2-point conversion), taking the lead 31-28.  After a failed drive, the Bruins got the ball back, and drove down the field, getting a Touchdown by Soso Jamabo to take the lead.

Colorado drove right back down into Bruin territory, but then the Defense stiffened again, forcing a 4th down.  Under heavy duress, the Buff QB dumped off a pass that was way too short to get a first down.  The Bruins then tried to run the ball, to force Colorado to use up their time outs.  Unfortunately, the runs didn’t lead to a Bruin first down, so they had to punt the ball back to the Buffaloes.  The Buffs had one last chance to score, but Meadors cut off a pass for the game-saving INT.

Speaking of punting, Matt Mengel returned to his position as Punter, and he was much improved, averaging over 46 yards for his 7 punts.  His only mistake was not dropping his last one, in the final minutes, inside the twenty — Instead it went in the end zone for a touchback.  Fortunately for Mengel, the Bruin Defense made it a “moot punt,” by ending the drive with the Pick.

Many Bruin fans are just happy to avoid a humiliating loss.  Me too.  But for the next week, you will hear a lot of negativity, because the Bruins certainly underperformed.  They allowed over 500 yards of Offense, and barely beat one of the weakest teams in the Conference.  And with the exception of the 82-yard run, they had trouble running the ball… but they kept trying, to the detriment of several drives.  Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone was getting some boos, for his run-heavy play-calling.

I wouldn’t worry too much about that, as it is possible that the staff wanted to keep it simple against Colorado, saving a more elaborate scheme for upcoming opponents next month who are expected to be tougher to beat.  What might be more worrisome is the softness of the Defense.  They were tired out on Saturday, and they were playing a lot of guys who were not starters when the season began.  Linebacker Jayon Brown was the stud of the day, collecting 18 tackles (12 solo), despite the attrition all around him.  Several players went to the sideline with injuries during the game — We will have to wait and see how serious they are, as the week progresses.  Next week the Bruins are in Corvallis, to take on Oregon State.  The Beavers are supposed to be pushovers… but so were the Buffaloes.  And Oregon State played Utah yesterday, and did not get blown out, so watch out, Bruins — Anything can happen, especially on the road, and especially if shorthanded.

Speaking of being shorthanded, even the Spirit Squad had to deal with some issues this week, but that didn’t stop them from shining through as always.  Below are NINETY-THREE more photos of the game itself, as well as all the active members of the Dance Team and Cheer Squad.  Please enjoy, and click on the pics to zoom in.  The horizontal pictures especially will enlarge to fill your whole widescreen.  But first, special thanks to Lona.  She did something super-nice yesterday, and it is greatly appreciated.  Kate, too.  Good luck on midterms!  And to Kelly — I love your hair like this!  Also — It was awesome to see some Spirit Alumni:  Danielle, Courtney Cam, Paula, Erica, and Kayley.  You are all so sweet.  I love you all, and I will be a fan and supporter of you all, in any endeavors you undertake, forever. <3  Finally — Sincere thanks to Nikki T’s parents.  What an awesome game to spend with such wonderful people.



2 responses to “PICKING AND SCREAMING”

  1. UCLADal Avatar

    Thank you T-H! It was a crazy game yesterday and you captured it all with IMO, some of your best pictures ever on all accounts. Only two things to say: keep ’em coming and GO BRUINS!

  2. JC Avatar

    CJM seemed quite satisfied with the win, given the circumstances. However, that game would not seem to provide encouragement that the Bruins will win more than 7 games in the regular season.