The Bruin celebration continues, while trojan fans melt down, and call for their Coach’s head
The Bruin Basketball team won a Nationally-televised game against the University of Georgia on Tuesday evening. They were led by the Nation’s #1 recruit, Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 21 points in only his second collegiate game. That being said, let’s talk about Football some more instead.
The Football Bruins are still basking in the afterglow of knocking off the much-hated and formerly over-rated trojans 38-28. u$c was favored by about 4 points in that game, so officially, the Bruin victory can be classified as an upset, despite the fact that the Bruins came into the game with a superior record and a higher National Ranking. The recent history of the Rivalry caused the betting line to favor troy — The majority of bettors finding it hard to believe that Jim Mora’s collection of 2 and 3-star players could beat Lane Kiffin’s amalgam of High School All-Americans. Few trusted that a Redshirt-Freshman QB could outplay the preseason Heisman favorite.
But Brett Hundley bucked the odds, and didn’t even show any gametime jitters. Hundley started the game going 10-for-10. That’s right, Hundley completed his first ten passes in a row… and the heralded Matt Barkley failed to complete any of his first 4 attempts, and had his first one Intercepted by Aaron Hester.
The Bruins rode this discrepancy to a 24-0 lead, before the trojans finally woke up. From then on, u$c started piling up yardage, but never could get over the hump. u$c NEVER LED, despite outgaining the Bruins 513-406. $C had more 1st Downs, more yards passing, more yards per rush, more yards per pass, and five times as many QB Sacks as UCLA was able to achieve. Of course, the ONE Bruin Sack was Anthony Barr’s creaming of Barkley that knocked him out of the game. The trojans were already in desperation time when that happened, but it killed any chance of a miracle comeback.
But looking at all those stats, how could UCLA have possibly won? SC’s leading rusher gained 7.7 yards per carry, versus 5.9 for UCLA’s. SC’s leading Receiver gained 54 more yards than UCLA’s top guy, and scored a TD, unlike UCLA’s. And SC had 8 Tackles for Loss, compared to only 3 for the Bruins. And did the REFS help UCLA? Not at all — Troy drew 6 flags for 51 yards, while UCLA got called for TWELVE penalties, for 115 yards. Again, I ask, how did UCLA win this game? The two Interceptions thrown by Barkley were crucial, and the Bruins blocked a Punt and a Field Goal, but it was really the WILL TO WIN displayed by Hundley, Jonathan Franklin, and the rest of the Bruins, that allowed them to overcome the trojan comeback. SC’s lack of FIRE is just one reason why most of their fans want Kiffin canned immediately. Bad playcalling is another reason. AD Pat Haden says Kiffin is returning next year, but I say that the rich and powerful u$c alumni will force a change anyway.
But back to the game, and how the Bruins managed to win despite getting out-statted… On Defense for UCLA, Eric Kendricks was a monster, accounting for 8 tackles, an Interception, a Forced Fumble, and the blocked Punt. Andrew Abbott came up big as well, with 6 tackles and a pass break-up. Even Hester and the even more-maligned Cornerback Sheldon Price performed at a higher level than expected. Hester got the game-opening Interception, as well as an acrobatic deflection of a late and critical Barkley bomb. Price became a hero when he blocked a FG in the 4th Quarter that would have made it a one-possession game. Even though Marquise Lee gained 158 yards Receiving, Robert Woods was held to 68 with no scores, and no trojan reception exceeded 40 yards all game long.
Speaking of Lee, his Kickoff Return prowess was neutralized by Jeff Locke, who kicked all but one of his Kickoffs out of the end zone. The Bruins were able to make the big plays when they had to, on both sides of the ball. And the ENABLER was Mora and the Coaching Staff, who made all the right moves, including going for it on 4th and 14 early in the game, and throwing downfield on 1st Down to start off what was essentially the game-clinching drive. The Bruins had 6 3rd Down conversions plus the 4th Down conversion, which allowed them to keep Barkley off the field and give the Blue and Gold Defense more rest.
Speaking of rest, I’m not getting much these days, working about 70 hours a week on Deadtime Stories, so that’s why you aren’t seeing more articles, more pictures, and more coverage of the basketball season. I’ll do the best I can, but it might be like this for a few months, and maybe longer if we get “picked up.” In fact, if the Bruins host the Pac-12 Championship game a week from Friday, I will miss one of my first Bruin “home” games in 44 years. So I guess I’m rooting for Oregon (and UCLA of course) to win on Saturday, so that the Championship game will be in Eugene. The Ducks will be tough to beat, but it’s also tough to beat a good team (like Stanford) twice in 7 days.
Below are 22 more game and Cheer photos from the “de-throning” of Troy as City Champs. Enjoy, and share them with your (trojan) friends!