Nothing says Pac-12 After Darkish like dueling back-up quarterbacks, 980 mixed yards and a 40-yard chase-down fumble.
After a chaotic Saturday within the Pac-12 South, UCLA emerged with a 31-30 win over Arizona, which, when mixed with losses to Colorado and USC, places the Bruins again within the division race. 4 of the six Pac-12 South groups have two convention losses
Regardless of securing their second straight win, the Bruins have so much of points to iron out earlier than dealing with first-place Utah (5-2, Three-2 Pac-12) on Friday.
“It’s good that we won, but the problems in victory are no less in the problems in defeat,” head coach Chip Kelly stated.
UCLA isn’t losing any time on the brief week. The staff is scheduled to apply Sunday night.
Hyperlinks to recap the sport protection
A extra in-depth review of the sport
After 5 takeaways towards Cal final week, the Bruins continued their ball-hawking methods with three extra towards Arizona. Every takeaway towards the Wildcats was important. Quentin Lake’s interception occurred within the pink zone, thus maintaining between three to seven factors off the board for Arizona. Darnay Holmes’ Sportscenter-worthy chase-down wiped away a sure-fire landing as J.J. Taylor was approaching the aim line. Elijah Gates had a bit of a tough day in protection, however he did properly to tip the ball to himself and are available down with an interception close to midfield within the third quarter when Arizona was trying to take the lead again. They have been three actually robust performs from what many believed can be the strongest unit on this staff.
The Bruins at the moment are tied for first within the Pac-12 in turnover margin at plus-6. They’re plus-seven prior to now two video games. No coincidence that these video games have been wins.
Kelly referred to as his protection’s potential to carry Arizona to area objectives on three of seven red-zone journeys “a good part of the difference in that game.” Clearly with the sport being a one-point distinction in the long run, each scoring alternative mattered.
Arizona outgained the Bruins 520-460 and received into the purple zone twice as many occasions as UCLA. One of UCLA’s red-zone appearances was on the final drive of the sport when the Bruins have been simply making an attempt to expire the clock. That’s the one time this season that they haven’t scored (both a area objective or landing) within the purple zone.
Excluding that drive, the Bruins averaged 5 factors per red-zone look on Saturday. Arizona, in its seven tries, averaged four.Three factors (three touchdowns, three subject objectives).
The protection struggled in some ways Saturday, however displaying up within the purple zone to restrict Arizona to area objectives and hold the sport shut exhibits the unit’s psychological fortitude.
That final clock-killing drive
Kelly stated he wasn’t stunned that Arizona went for the sector objective on its final offensive drive to chop the deficit to at least one at 31-30 as an alternative of making an attempt to take the lead. There was nonetheless 6:28 to go and the Wildcats had three timeouts.
“That’s plenty of time,” Kelly stated.
The Bruins made that hope disappear with their longest drive (in phrases of time) of the season, bleeding the clock with runs from Joshua Kelley and significant third-down performs from Wilton Speight. It exhibits the development of the offense that was as soon as the worst within the Pac-12.
UCLA couldn’t do something on the bottom within the first three video games. Now it’s counting on its operating recreation to win tight video games, and it labored.
Simply three weeks in the past, UCLA was the worst third-down offense within the Pac-12. The Bruins at the moment are ninth, though they have been a middling eight for 18 on third down towards Arizona. They transformed on Three of 6 third-down tries within the second half and have been 2 of 2 on that last drive. Speight expertly stored the ball on a zone learn on third-and-Three and rushed for five yards earlier than sliding down. And he stayed in bounds to maintain the clock operating. Veteran transfer. On third-and-6, Speight accomplished a 17-yard move to Caleb Wilson over the center for an additional huge conversion. The Bruins have been additionally aided on that drive by a third-down holding name on Arizona.
It wasn’t a reasonably effort for the Bruins, however they have been clutch once they wanted to be.
Previous defensive habits die onerous
This protection is undoubtedly higher than final yr’s debacle, however there have been some moments Saturday that bared robust resemblance to final yr’s effort that resulted within the worst dashing protection in class historical past.
The Bruins allowed eight performs of 20 yards or longer from scrimmage. That was probably the most for a recreation this season. Arizona ripped off runs of 55 and 72 yards, huge chunk performs that have been the dying of final yr’s UCLA protection.
UCLA snapped its 16-game streak of permitting 100-yard rushers with a powerful effort towards Oklahoma, however allowed two 100-yard rushers to Arizona with J.J. Taylor (154 yards) and Gary Brightwell (121 yards). The Bruins hadn’t executed that this yr, however did it 3 times final yr.
Arizona averaged 7.6 yards per carry, which is a season-high for a UCLA opponent this yr, eclipsing Oklahoma’s 5.1-yard common. UCLA had been averaged Three.9 yards allowed per carry getting into the sport.
Simply when it seemed just like the Bruins had kicked their penalty behavior, the flags got here again in full pressure.
UCLA had 12 accepted penalties for 103 yards. Each marks are season-highs. There have been three declined penalties. The Bruins had a false begin on its first offensive play of the sport and had two extra on particular groups performs. Three of the 4 accepted defensive penalties have been of the 15-yard selection. The opposite was a 10-yard holding name.
The Bruins got here off the sector bloodied from all their self-inflicted wounds however acquired the win towards a workforce that can also be within the first yr of a brand new teaching employees and began its backup quarterback. They possible gained’t get as fortunate in future video games in the event that they sustain the penalties.
Changing on takeaways
The Bruins have pressured 13 takeaways this yr however have scored on simply six of them. Not solely did they fail to attain off three Arizona turnovers Saturday, however they did not even get a single first down after. Every ensuing offensive drive after a UCLA takeaway resulted in a three-and-out.
The quarterback query simply gained’t go away this season.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson was beginning to assert himself because the starter, having accomplished 75 % of his passes towards Washington and Cal, however he suffered an undisclosed damage within the second quarter and didn’t return. He landed arduous on his proper, throwing shoulder when he acquired sacked by Colin Schooler and was seen stretching out his shoulder within the sideline, mimicking his throwing movement with a ball in his hand however not truly releasing a cross.
Speight got here in and was rusty to start out, having performed simply 1.5 quarters of soccer prior to now 13 months, however settled in and helped UCLA to the win. He was capable of exhibit his operating potential in needed conditions (i.e. the third down on the ultimate drive talked about above) and he threw his first two touchdowns as a Bruin.
If Thompson-Robinson is wholesome, I might guess that he’ll get the beginning job again. However we’ll need to see how quickly he can return. The truth that he was capable of return to the sideline and keep in uniform might be signal that it’s not too critical. But when Speight has the reins for some time, then some of the problems with timing that plagued the Bruins when Thompson-Robinson first took over might reappear. The receivers should discover ways to develop that chemistry with a special passer. You can see that there have been some timing points on deep passes from Speight to Demetric Felton and Kazmeir Allen.
16 punts of 50 yards or longer for Stefan Flintoft this season. The mark leads the Pac-12 as Flintoft can also be the Pac-12’s main punter with a 47-yard common per kick.
12 tackles for loss for Arizona
1 deal with for loss for UCLA