CaliCORNication — The Cornhuskers pound the Bruins for 326 yards on the ground, scoring 30 straight points to win the Foster Farms Bowl 37-29
Did UCLA think they were playing Stanford again? They were in Northern California, and the opponents — and the majority of fans — were wearing Red and White, and those red and white-clad players rammed the ball down the Bruins’ throats all night long via the ground game, exactly the way Stanford has beaten the Bruins 8 times in a row.
The Bruins built an early 21-7 lead, via sharp play by QB Josh Rosen, but then UCLA went soft, allowing the Cornhuskers to control the trenches, the clock, and the game. Nebraska scored 30 straight points, by mostly running the ball right at the Bruins, and by forcing Rosen to leave his comfort zone. Nebraska took a 37-21 lead, pressuring Rosen into multiple off-target throws and two Interceptions. But the damage was really being done on the other side of the ball, where UCLA could just not stop Nebraska’s smash mouth attack.
UCLA’s defense finally stiffened in the last 10 minutes, allowing UCLA to cut the lead in half, making it a one-possession game. UCLA got the ball back twice with a chance to tie, but Rosen could not engineer the game-tying drive.
This loss to (formerly) 5-and-7 Nebraska drops the Bruins to a disappointing 8-5 record for the 2015 season. That has to be deemed a dramatic failure, by any standard, especially considering that one of those 5 losses was to the crosstown rival. That being said, the Freshman year of Rosen was still stunningly good, and seriously PROMISING for the upcoming season. Also, the 8-5 record can be directly traced to the three devastating injuries suffered by three defensive stars who all proved to be irreplaceable. So no, I am not ready to give up on Coach Mora or his staff. The Bruin fanbase is ripping Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone a new one all over the internet. I am not a member of this faction. A Mazzone/Rosen-led Offense will put up plenty of points next year — enough to win almost every game. The question TO ME, is more about what Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley can do with a unit NOT decimated by key injuries. I admit that rooting for a Mazzone Offense can be frustrating, with more up-the-middle runs than seem to be appropriate, and with more bubble screens than seem to work, but I think that his Offense, and his tutelage of Rosen, can still lead to a very productive O. In the next few days or weeks, we will find out if Mora agrees.