UCLA’s Postseason Hopes Fly Away

TEMPE – UCLA knew that winning its final two games over Arizona State and USC to become bowl eligible would be a tall order.

Stopping Brock Osweiler proved to be taller.

The Sun Devils’ 6-foot-8 backup quarterback torched the Bruins for 380 yards and four touchdowns and added a scoring run as ASU came back from an early 17-point deficit to end UCLA’s postseason hopes with a 55-34 win at Sun Devil Stadium.
Relieving starter Steven Threet on ASU’s third drive after Threet went down with a head injury, Osweiler completed 27-of-36 passes against a Bruin defense that offered zero pressure.

“It’s lovely,” said ASU wide receiver Mike Willie, whose lone catch, a 32-yard touchdown reception, cut the UCLA lead to 17-14. “He can see everything. If he can see everything, I can see everything, and we’re on the same page. Man, it’s lovely.”

The Bruins were even prettier early against the stunned Sun Devils.

UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut, who would set school records with 56 pass attempts and 33 completions, scored on a 12-yard touchdown run on the Bruins first drive.

After a punt on the second drive and a 40-yard Kai Forbath field goal on the third, UCLA recovered a fumble by ASU’s Deantre Lewis at the 46-yard line, and Brehaut hit a streaking Randall Carroll for a long touchdown.

Then the tide turned.

Maybe it was a tsunami.

The Sun Devils reeled off 21 straight points on three Osweiler touchdowns – for five yards to Aaron Pflugrad, 32 yards to Willie and seven yards to Gerell Robinson – to shift the momentum drastically.”

“We have to play a better leadership role to keep this team focused when we do get up 17-0,” said UCLA junior safety Tony Dye, who led the team with seven tackles and two tackles for loss. “We can’t become complacent. I’m putting it on us – me personally – I have to step up and be a better leader on this team. We have to close these games.”
Being able to score from a foot out might help.

After Arizona State’s Thomas Weber hit a 21-yard field goal on the team’s first drive of the third quarter, UCLA marched down the field to the Sun Devils’ 25-yard line.
On a Brehaut one-yard run, two personal foul penalties on Arizona State gave UCLA a 1st-and-goal from the Sun Devils’ six-yard line. Consecutive Malcolm Jones runs totaled two yards, and a Brehaut-to-Nelson Rosario pass completion was stopped just short of the goal line.

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel decided to go for it, and rather than go with a quarterback sneak under center, offensive coordinator Norm Chow called for a zone-read run up the middle. Neuheisel told running back Johnathan Franklin to jump over the line and into the end zone.

Franklin instead ran directly into the middle of the line, Arizona State’s stout interior defense plugged the hole, and UCLA came away with nothing.

Three plays later, after starting the drive at their own 1-yard line, Sun Devil running back Cameron Marshall broke off a 71-yard touchdown run, effectively ending the Bruins’ chances.

“Richard is not a good quarterback-sneak guy,” Chow said. “Everybody is expecting a QB sneak. We thought we’d try to motion some, and cause a little confusion. It didn’t work.”
Arizona State’s offense sure did, though.

In piling up 595 yards, a season-high allowed for the Bruins, the Sun Devils had 342 in the second half, and whenever UCLA looked like it could come up with a crucial stop, ASU plowed through.

“They see the Cover-4 every day at practice, they run the same exact defense as us, and it seemed like they knew what we were in,” cornerback Aaron Hester said. “They were hitting all the vulnerable spots in our offense. We made some adjustments, but they’d come down and do it still. Fifty-five points? Man, that’s unacceptable.”

Once again, the Bruins searched for answers after the game.

A 17-0 lead disappeared into the thin Tempe air, and so did UCLA’s shot at the postseason, ensuring the Bruins a bowl-less December for the second time in three years.

“I don’t know if they’re not gamers,” defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said. “As coaches, we have to figure out if we have too much installed, too much in there, is there confusion? During the week, they do a phenomenal job.

“It’s frustrating to the players and coaches by now; this is when we should be playing our best ball.”

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    ‘Bama crushing Auburn, ucla cruising past Arizona State, and Boise St creaming Nevada were something to behold. I turned all of those games off after the first quarter, not wanting to watch boring blow-outs.


  • Blue Bruin

    That goal-line call and explanation are typical Chow BS. Do you remember the game @ Oregon State last year where UCLA was also at the goal line. It as something like 3rd and 4th down and 5-6 yards to go and UCLA runs it. After the game Chow said something ridiculous like “The coverage dictates that you run. What’s the problem?” The problem is, bozo, it’s an obvious passing down, and if you let the defense dictate plays to you like that, then you’ve got no chance.

    And this series against ASU seems equally ridiculous. We’ve tried the whole “run up the middle” thing already this year with no apparent results. How about some play action? Isn’t one of the receivers a competitive high jumper? Can’t he jump up and catch a ball?


  • doug4ucla

    “It is what it is” Can only dream what could of been with out all the injuries…..But to harp on the coaches for all this is wrong……I coached High School Football for years….get one person hurt it a HUGE setback….but as many as UCLA has had…..is just way to hard to over come……enough said….

  • The Truth

    Forget getting rid of Chow. How about we get rid of the DC? He is way over his head and that is inexcusable.Yesterdays game just made it even more clear

  • ucla34

    Up 17-0 and we get outscored 55-14 the ret of the way with a backup QB??? Neu should try and bring back Dewayne Walker. If he can’t get him back then go after Rocky Long again. Bre looks like the future QB. Another tuff, frustrating, offseason. Hopefully our conditioning coach doesn’t spread a zombie virus and keep all our players out for next year! Then again, they already look like zombies on the field. Don’t they?

  • fumi346

    Well, another bumble,stumble and crumble. We made Arizona State look like Air Coryell. As much as I really believed in Rick, it really is time for a change. The recruiting cabinet is pretty bare, not even in the top 25. Let’s try and give Al Golden or anyone a chance. If we let Rick stay on another year, expect more of the same.Better to cut our losses and start over again. We have too many deficiencies and the discipline is lacking as well as the passion. Watch Alabama play, at least they play hard, a reflection of their demanding coach.

  • Bruinfanjb

    Truth…Totally agree that the DC is in way over his head, but I thought that when they hired him after Walker left. It seemed like they were looking for someone on the cheap and went with a guy that was already on staff instead of going out and finding the best guy for the job. To put up 34 points indicates to me that the offense is at least getting something done, but to give up 55 against a mediocre ASU team with a backup QB is atrocious.

    I know the injuries have played a huge part in the downfall this season but it seems like the defense has gotten worse, not better. I’m sure there will be a fall guy once the season is over…I would give Chow one more year, especially with Hundley coming in (if he is still coming). Bullough needs to go!

  • BruinInSeattle

    No improvement in three years except for recruiting. I don’t blame Chow, I blame Neuheisel. Maybe its time to dump him. Hire that Ault guy from Nevada…somehow get Harbough away from Stanford…I don’t care…but someone…someone who can teach. Someone who can inspire the talent we have to rise above and win some winnable games and start building a program. All Neuheisel has done the past three seasons is talk. Hire someone who can teach.

  • 87BRUIN

    IS DeWayne Walker available next season for our DC spot?

  • JoJoBruin

    Ucla sucks, I am not going to the SC game and waste my entire Saturday. You Bruin diehards are lame. It has been 13 years since the Miami debacle and we’re ninth in the Pac-10. You are accepting mediocrity.

    RB sucks
    NC sucks
    Rahim sucks.
    Akeem sucks.

    The entire team stinks!

  • Slicky Ricky

    I’m bringing back Dorell as DC

  • Anonymous

    It looks like too many soft zone coverage calls more often than assignment confusion, at least where the DBs are concerned.

    Let’s hope home field helps next week. Go Bruins beat SC!