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Great Again –Bruins cross the borders into Utah and torture BYU 17-14, as their surprisingly stifling Defense led by Jayon Brown and Adarius Pickett comes up yuuuge and trumps Hill and the Cougars’ Offense in a landslide

September Surprise:  The Bruins have a Defense.  With many key components back from injury, and with a solid scheme, the UCLA Defense contained BYU’s Offense for most of the night, and earned a 17-14 victory for the Bruins.  Despite missing standout Defensive Back Randall Goforth for an unspecified reason, Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley’s unit finally clicked, after two subpar performances this season.  Goforth may have been missing, but it was “next man up,” as Adarius Pickett stepped into the starting role, and made a huge impact.

Early in the game, Pickett delivered a jarring hit that broke up a pass play on a crucial 3rd and 8, and later, he snatched an Interception.  He tallied 5 Tackles for the night, and was part of a Defensive Secondary that never got beat deep, and blanketed the Cougar Receivers all night.  Linebacker Kenny Young had 7 Tackles and a Sack, and Jayon Brown led the team with NINE Tackles and a Sack.  Brown was all over the field, making play after play, reminding Bruin fans of his stellar predecessors Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks, and Anthony Barr.  The Bruins had 4 Sacks, after having just 1 total Sack after the first two games.  Why were the Bruins finally able to pressure the Quarterback?  It was probably due to having the healthy starting Defenive Ends back in the line-up, but it may have also been a different strategy employed.  There was definitely a focus on the pass rush, as BYU QB Taysom Hill was hurried and getting hit all night.  Not only that, but the Bruins CONTAINED him in the pocket, not allowing the usually-mobile QB to do any damage scrambling.  Hill amassed a total of NEGATIVE-SEVEN yards Rushing.  Never before in his long college career has he ever been held to less than zero yards.  Quite an accomplishment for a team that has always been vulnerable to a (dual-threat) Quarterback who can hurt you with his legs.

With the Bruins controlling the line of scrimmage, BYU was able to gain only TWENTY-THREE yards (net) Rushing!  That’s a miracle, considering how porous the Bruins were in the first two games.  Also, by pushing the BYU OL back and harassing the QB, they helped the DB’s maintain their great coverage, getting beat on a missed assignment really only once until the game’s final drive, where the Bruins fell back into more of a Prevent Defense.

On Offense, the Bruins struggled.  They were missing their Starting Running Back Soso Jamabo (again, for undisclosed reasons).  Nate Starks started instead, and didn’t gain a lot of yards.  But neither did the other two guys, and I doubt if Soso would have fared much better.  The BYU Defense plugged all the holes, and controlled that trench.  Despite the futility of the Ground Game, Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu kept trying to ram it into the middle.  It never worked.  This is the third game in a row where the playcalling and Offensive Scheme sucked, and did not adjust to the game situation.

Luckily for the inexpeienced, in-over-his-head, first-time O.C., he has Josh Rosen to bail him out.  In the first half, the Bruins didn’t convert a single 3rd down, but in the 3rd quarter, Rosen got hot.  Despite Polamalu putting him in bad situations, Rosen kept digging himself out of the holes, with sharp passes to move the chains. Rosen hit Fullback Cameron Griffin for a short TD in the 2nd quarter, and in the 3rd, found Darren Andrews for a 33-yard TD that put the Bruins up 17-0.  But the game was far from over.

BYU finally got some Offense going, scoring in the 3rd to make in 17-7.  The Bruins, behind Rosen’s 307 yards passing (26 completions to 12 different Receivers), were able to eat up most of the clock.  BYU finally scored again with 37 seconds left, but the Onside Kick went out of bounds and the Bruins were able to take two knees and claim the road victory in a very hard place to win.

Rosen was far from perfect.  Good enough to win, but still not living up to his own expectations.  He was limping for part of this game, after having his ankle stepped on by a 270-pound guy in cleats, but he won’t use that as an excuse.  He toughed it out, and never came out of the game, but he would be the first to admit that he missed Eldridge Massington on a would-be Touchdown, and overthrew a few other targets during the night.  He had one Interception, but that one was in the hands of his Receiver Nate Iese but got ripped away on a great Defensive play.  And that wasn’t the only low point for the Bruins:  J.J. Molson missed a chip shot Field Goal, and on the Cougs’ first TD drive, the Bruin D committed THREE penalties in the Red Zone.

All that being said, this game was still a step forward for UCLA.  They beat a decent team in a hostile environment, taking away their best weapons with an intelligently-designed Defensive gameplan.  And I think the Bruin Recievers dropped only a couple of passes.  So maybe the Bruins are starting to see the light and turn the corner.

Unfortunately, around the corner is #7 Stanford, whom the Bruins haven’t beat in the last 8 tries, and, who annihilated the trojans on Saturday 27-10.  They made u$c look like garbage, shutting down their Offense completely, taking Juju out of the game with good Defense, and pounding the ball down their their throats, with a steady diet of Christian McCaffrey.  SC was completely outclassed, and never had a chance.  And Clay Helton and his staff didn’t help.  About three times, the cowardly coaches called simple running plays on 3rd and long, basically showing no faith whatsoever in their Offense or in their Quarterback Max Browne, whom they eventually benched.  Not only that, but with less than 10 minutes left, down by 17, Helton chose to punt the ball from around midfield on a 4th and 6 or 8.  He did everything but wave a white flag.  Trojan fans are complaining online as we speak, about their unqualified and overmatched coaching staff.  Hey — maybe they will take ex-trojan Polamalu off our hands.  They can have Klemm too — He would fit right in over there, apparently.  🙁

Speaking of disgruntled complaints, here is something that no one EVER complains about:  The UCLA Spirit Squad.  Please enjoy these 66 shots from last Saturday, and keep in mind I still have another 100 or so AFTER these that I will post during this week, so be sure to come back for more.


"UCLA BUILDS DE-FENSE AND MAKES BYU PAY FOR IT" was published on September 18th, 2016 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, News from the Dark Side, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

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