I was more excited for this game than I thought I would be. Believe it or not, this is my first CU road game AND my first visit to the Rose Bowl.
The game itself was a letdown, but the experience was fun! I saw a lot of Yale football games when I lived in New Haven in the old Yale Bowl, another one of the oldest stadiums in the nation. While the Rose Bowl is definitely historic, I feel like it has lost some of it's character along the way. It is awesome and in a pretty great setting, but it's somewhere in between 'well-maintained' and historic. The effect is a Stadium that isn't really either.
The product that the Buffs put on the field was less-than-stellar (see how positive I can be sometimes!), but the press-box experience was pretty sweet! Dave Plati was shouting out random facts and stats throughout the game for us, while having the internet at hand was a pretty good deal. Free food and soda and having a convenient bathroom was nice.
Oh yeah, the game recap. It wasn't easy to watch, but I took some pretty good notes!
Follow the jump to see me detail a strangers car in my spare time!
So, that's not the way you want to start the game. Less than five minutes in finding yourself down 14 points. And then 21 points down after 11.
CU spent the beginning of the game making the UCLA defensive line look really good. Stewart had no room to operate and Hansen didn't have much room when they didn't move the pocket around. They got pressure with just the 4 guys (and they don't often send more than that).
Our most effective offensive weapon was Evan Harrington. Stewart made things happen when he got blocking, but he didn't get much.
And on defense, the Buffs couldn't come close to stopping the Bruins. We held pretty well right up the middle, but everywhere else was wide open for runs or for passes.
But the Buffs did finally do something with the ball (thanks to a timely defensive PI call) and managed get down to the 20 yardline, where Hansen found Toney Clemons for a great TD. It was initiially ruled caught out of bounds, but replays showed that Clemons was able to drag his toes just inside the endzone. How do we follow that up? Will Oliver misses his second extra point of the season.
All CU needs to do to get back into the game is get a stop on the next drive. But instead, UCLA drives all the way down the field, until they have a 3rd and 7 on the 10. We force the 4th down and a FG attempt, which they missed! Terrel Smith saved a TD on a big 40 yard run by Jonathan Franklin in the middle of the drive.
Then some more stuff happened. Our defense figured some things out and didn't allow UCLA into the endzone again (they held them scoreless for the last 19 minutes of the first half), but the offense also couldn't make things happen, even with some penalties against UCLA's defense and special teams.
On the bright side: Rodney Stewart set another CU record, catching his 87th pass as a running back. Good for you, Speedy!
CU had a chance at the end of the half to put some points on the board, but they couldn't make anything happen, even while taking over at the UCLA 45 yardline. They were completely unable to execute a 2-minute offense.
The record that Speedy set.
After giving up 21 points in 11 minutes, we held them scoreless the rest of the way.
UCLA commmitted 8 penalties for 97 yards (they were doing their best to keep us in the game)
The second to last series, the Buffs tried something different on offense: The brought in Kawi Crabb at center, put Daniel Munyer in at RG and moved Ryan Miller out to right tackle. His first snap there was a false start, and the results of this lineup weren't great, but it was something different. They switched back for that quick drive to end the half.
Again, the Buffs don't start well. They let UCLA move the ball with ease and there was a turnover in there, but somehow keep UCLA from scoring more than 3 points for the entire third quarter. I'm still not sure how that happened, but CU was going into the 4th quarter down only 18 points.
But then, the 4th quarter happened: UCLA continued a drive they began the previous quarter by tossing an easy TD to Fauria, who was covered by Terrel Smith (who gives up a foot in height to the TE). They drove 82 yards easily for that one.
And then the offense was completely ineffective, so we really had no chance, despite still technically being in the game.
Really, it only got worse from there. The offense seemed to regress as the second half wore on, and the defense looked tired and defeated. They were hustling, but it didn't matter. Hansen threw another pick, giving UCLA good field position again.
Before we knew it, yet another team had put up 40+ against us.
I know we talk a lot about CU being bad on the road, but I think we're just bad. We occasionally play better at home, but the team shows it's true colors on the road. This senior class has worked it's butt off for the Buffs, but they need to be the guys out there that make the big plays and will the team to victory. They're just too used to losing. And most importantly, guys never developed. Tyler Hansen doesn't look any better than when he got here. Rodney Stewart is good, but not really any better than his freshman year. Ryan Miller looks about the same, as do guys like Curtis Cunningham, Ryan Deehan, and others. If there's one thing that stands out to me (as the UCLA fans chant "beat SC") is the lack of player development during the Hawkins era. I know we can't keep blaming them for everything, but it's just painfully clear.
This senior class needs to graduate. They've fought for the Silver and the Gold, but they hit their ceilings a while ago.
There was no pocket for Tyler Hansen to operate in for much of the game. We were more effective when we rolled him out or got him moving, but we didn't do it much. And when he did have a pocket, coverage was solid downfield, Hansen left his protection early, or he was brought down. Tyler Hansen threw 3 picks. Two were poor decisions, throwing into coverage, and another was a miscommunication where Toney Clemons pulled up early and the DB kept going and caught the "pass". Really, The playcalling wasn't really the problem tonight. They were just totally unprepared for this game. The offensive line was very underwhelming, to say the least.
We went 2 straight quarters only allowing them to score 3 points! I don't know if that's good news, but it didn't matter. We allowed 21 points in the 1st and 4th quarters. UCLA moved the ball with ease. We played slightly better in the redzone than we did in the middle of the field, but again, it didn't matter. Honestly, this should have been an even more lopsided score. As scary as that sounds, UCLA let us off the hook. They could've put up sixty. We give receivers enormous cushions, and we don't close them down the field. Our DBs much be just incredibly slow, because I don't know why else we would play that kind of coverage. Too small, too slow, and add in some poor positioning and bad decision making on defense. Our linebackers and defensive backs were not prepared for the pistol offense.
Greg Brown will be under the microscope in this final game, and going into the offseason. His unit was decimated by injuries, yes, but they also have made mistakes and done things that have nothing to do with injuries. I don't know what to think going into the game with Utah, but this is hard for me to swallow: UCLA is playing next week to get into the Pac 12 championship game...
328 rushing yards for UCLA
87 for the Buffaloes
0 interceptions for UCLA
3 for Colorado