With Honorary Captain and trojan-killer J.J. Stokes on hand, UCLA snaps out of a lull to come back and beat WSU, and afterwards watch usc lose to UW on a last-second, Erik Folk Field Goal (for the second year in a row)

Not one single Bruin game this year has gone the way it was expected to.  The Oddsmakers haven’t even been close.  A week after upsetting heavily-favored Texas IN Austin, UCLA was supposed to trounce the Washington State Cougars in the Rose Bowl.  Even with 2nd-String QB Richard Brehaut starting for injured Kevin Prince, the Bruins were still at least 3 Touchdowns better than the Cougs… on paper.

But the Bruins have a long history of choking to bad teams immediately after upsetting a Ranked team, so they should have been anything but complacent on Saturday.  And they started out just fine, storming out to a 14-0 lead.  But THAT’S when they got complacent, and started mailing it in.  The Defense especially went soft, allowing a weak Cougar team to Pass the ball at will.  WSU cut the lead in half, and then the Bruins could muster only two Field Goals before the Half.  They did score one TD, but it was called back on a Holding penalty, and they then had to settle for a Field Goal.  The pair of Kai Forbath kicks put the Bruins up 20-7, but the Cougars once again drove down the field, scoring another TD before the Break, to make the Halftime score 20-14.

Rick Neuheisel was not pleased, because the Bruins were running all over WSU, but they couldn’t capitalize because of Offensive mistakes and Defensive malaise.  The Bruin Secondary was not flying around the way they had been, and a lack of a pass rush allowed the WSU QB to look more like the Stanford QB.  And whatever Neuheisel said in the locker room didn’t work… at least not right away.  The Cougars scored the first points of the 2nd Half, with a TD that gave them the lead, 21-20.  Then Jonathan Franklin fumbled on a less than brutal hit, and WSU scored again, making it 28-20.

That’s when UCLA got stoked, and got serious.  The heat and humidity — and scoreboard shock  — had fans stroking out all over the stadium, but Brehaut led the Bruins back.  His throws were erratic for most of the game, but he threw a few nice ones that complemented the dominant Running Game, and UCLA was able to score.  Franklin, who gained 216 yards, and Derrick Coleman, who gained 185 on only 15 carries, carried the Bruins on their backs, and got them into the end zone.  Brehaut went to Taylor Embree on the 2-point conversion, and Embree outleaped the defender to haul it in and tie the score.

Then the Cougars drove into Bruin  territory, but couldn’t get the lead.  Their QB scored a TD, but it was CORRECTLY reversed on review.  That led to a 3rd down incompletion, and a 4th and 1 run that was stuffed, partially by Aaron Hester (who had an otherwise lackluster game) and mostly by Rahim Moore.

That huge momentum shift allowed UCLA to go on a 99-yard drive, including a 70+ yard run by Coleman, and topped off by a 1-yard TD run by Brehaut.  Later, Coleman added his 3rd TD of the game to make the final score 42-28.

Any win is good for UCLA, but the Cougars exposed a few Bruin weaknesses that didn’t appear to be weaknesses before.  The Bruin Pass Defense was really pathetic, committing Pass Interference penalties, missing assignments, and (Moore) even allowing a wide open TD reception.  After the game, Neuheisel said that they just weren’t fired up until “after they tasted their own blood.”  Sure, it’s hard to get up for a lousy team after beating a good one, but the Bruins just aren’t good enough to skate by, just by phoning it in.  Not even against Wazzu.

While Brehaut showed some skill, he did not create a Quarterback Controversy.  After going 5-for-6 on the game’s opening drive (thanks to the element of surprise), he then went 4-for-13, lost a fumble, overthrew several receivers, and never hit anyone deep.  Also, his running ability did not appear to be on par with Prince.  The Offensive gameplan was changed to accomodate him, so the misdirection and the options were not as apparent.  It was more starightforward running by the Tailbacks.  Several times, Brehaut would have had clear sailing if he FAKED the hand-off, but PERHAPS the Staff didn’t want him risking injury by running too much.  The bottom line is that the Bruins CAN compete with Brehaut at the helm, but they are much more dangerous with Prince, especially because of Prince’s legs, and his knowledge of when to keep the ball and run.

Speaking of dangerous, Jake Locker and the Washington Huskies proved deadly to usc, despite 6 DROPPED passes, including several with the game on the line.  Despite Allen Bradford’s 223-yard career day, and despite starting the game with a overwhelmingly easy Touchdown drive, and despite committing only 5 penalties, the trojans were still able to choke away their perfect record, and ANY hope they had of winning the braindead (for letting them be eligible) AP’s poll.

The trojans had a 2-point lead and the ball in Husky territory with just a few minutes left, but Matt Barkley threw a 3rd-down pass over his receiver’s head, and then high school-caliber Kicker Joe Houston hit the upright on a chip-shot Field Goal, allowing Locker one more chance.  And after a few more drops, he converted a 4th Down pass, then scrambled into Field Goal range with about a minute to go.  And THAT’S when Lane Kiffin totally CHOKED.  The trojan Head Coach failed to call a time out, allowing UW to run the clock all the way down to 3 seconds.  Apparently, Kiffin was relying on Erik Folk to miss a chip shot, like Houston did.  But Folk is a GOOD kicker, and he nailed it, just like he did last year when they beat the trojans in Seattle.  With the way Bradford (along with Ronald Johnson) was shredding the Husky Defense, 30 seconds would have been plenty to get Houston another shot.  Instead, Kiffin gets his first (of many) losses at troy (if he lasts that long).  Kiffin and Houston weren’t the only goats:  Marc Tyler pulled a Wendell, with a huge fumble lost, and Shareece Wright lost sight of a Receiver, actually taking blame for a big 4th quarter play for the Huskies.

The best part of the broadcast, besides the final score, was the close-ups they got of Barkley and the trojan fans after the stunning heartbreaker.  Now they really do have NOTHING left to play for this year.

Here are FORTY-FOUR click-to-enlarge photos from the UCLA-Washington State game:  Starting with game shots, and finishing with Cheerleader photos.  PLEASE NOTE:  There are A LOT MORE coming soon!




  1. JP Avatar

    Sundays always feel good with a W. But I did get nervous during the middle part of the game. Ever since the Dorrell years, we’ve followed a few good wins with horrible losses and I was getting that same feeling. Next week should be a good test to see how good we really are and to see what our chances are of beating Oregon (good job to them).

    And it’s always nice when our W comes with an L for SUC.

    The Dance Team was superb as always.

  2. K. P________ Avatar
    K. P________

    Your photos are great. I am a mother of one of the cheerleaders and have been activated to El Paso, TX for the Army since Labor Day. Needless to say, because of my deployment, I have not seen one game for which she has cheered. I cherish your photos because it has been the next best thing to being there for me. I have caught the occasional 1-2 second blips of her during the few broadcasts that have featured an occasional UCLA game. Keep up the good work and keep on shooting.