UCLA wallops Arizona, seizes Pac-12 South

Here’s the game story from UCLA’s 66-10 trouncing of Arizona. With USC and Arizona State both losing on Saturday night, the Bruins claimed sole possession of the Pac-12 South lead.

Some thoughts.

Balance of power: USC lost to Arizona by three. Arizona lost to UCLA by 56. The transitive property doesn’t apply well to sports, but it’s clear that the Trojans’ claim on Los Angeles supremacy is eroding. You can argue about which team is better; there’s no doubt which one is more exciting. (Some of that is tied to preseason expectations, but still.) UCLA hasn’t been ranked above USC in the AP poll since 2001. That should change.

UCLA has a defense: Everyone knew the Bruins’ offense was in good hands with Brett Hundley. Now the defense has added a big bullet point to its resume too. The Bruins have shown promise on that side of the ball, but have turned in mixed results for the most part. Prior to Saturday, they surrendered an average of 5.61 yards per play, allowing over 6.00 yards three times (Nebraska, Oregon State, Cal). Against Arizona, supposedly the nation’s No. 4 offense, UCLA gave up just 3.7 — the first sub-4.59 game this fall. Kudos, in particular to linebacker Eric Kendricks and his 13 tackles, two TFL, two sacks and one forced fumble.

Franklin deserves a party: He won’t want one, but someone needs to force Johnathan Franklin into a room full of party hats and jetski-shaped cakes. Franklin has been a workhorse this year, and now sits atop the UCLA’s statistical pantheon with 3,873 career rushing yards. With 1,204 this season, he’s also sneaking up on Karim Abdul-Jabbar’s mark for single-season yards (1,571, 1995).

Not only that, he is also one of the nicest people on campus. Jim Mora said his favorite moment from the game was when Franklin ran from the bench to tackle/hug Melvin Emesibe in the end zone after the game’s final touchdown — even though it cost the team 15 yards. Emesibe, by the way, is a walk-on who might have quit the team if it weren’t for The Mayor.

Protect the head: Arizona’s decision to throw Matt Scott into back into the game despite his vomiting looks even more terrible now. The quarterback was hit on the head again tonight in the third quarter; this time, the support staff appeared to put him through a concussion test and held him out. Scott said he vomited last week due to heat and fatigue, but repeated blows to the head — even without immediate symptoms — are no joke. Lip service and PR campaigns aren’t enough.

On Saturday night, the Wildcats also lost linebacker Hank Hobson, who exited the field in much more frightening fashion — completely immobilized against a cart and headed to the hospital. He fell to the ground a little after taking the initial hit, which makes it all the scarier. Rich Rodriguez said Hobson showed movement in his hands and feet, but will be examined further. Best wishes to him.

Style points: The L.A. Nights jerseys were nice. The assistant coaches’ face paint — well, whatever works. Asked about the eye black overdose after the game, Mora — who opted out — said: “Y’know, lights. So the guys just wear eye black.”

Money quote: Rich Rodriguez. “We didn’t block them. We didn’t get off of press coverage. We didn’t get open. We didn’t throw right. We didn’t run it right. We didn’t call the plays right. There was not anything we did well.”

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  • http://twitter.com/mcdecoste Matthew DeCoste

    Well-written post. I kinda wish we had some videos of the post-game press conferences, but thanks for the analysis.

    • Gary Greenacre

      Where do I find the post-game press conference (and post-practice updates)?

      • http://twitter.com/mcdecoste Matthew DeCoste

        Depends game to game. For this one it appears to be on paid sites only.

  • Daniel

    The Rose Bowl actually looked pretty full. Do you know what the attendance was, Jack?

    • kiriba08

      Daniel— I saw somewhere that the attendance last nite was 81,673

      • http://twitter.com/thejackwang Jack Wang

        Correct. Some people started filtering out late in the game, but it was definitely packed.

      • Dean

        I was there and the total was DEFINITELY more than 81. The capacity is 92, and I would venture to say there were 90,000 there. You were hard-pressed to find empty seats so I’ll just assume 2,500 were empty.

  • drakejr

    Rich Rod has no excuse for keeping his QB in that game for as long as he did. Once the thing got out of hand, he should have been protecting his players. Clearly player safety isn’t a priority for RR.

  • jameskatt

    I like the new Bruins uniforms and the face paint. I believe this allows the Bruins to be psychologically much more aggressive.

    One of the problems for the Bruins is that they live in an oasis called Westwood. It is near the beach, clean, safe, with lots of pretty girls, a party-athmosphere, with lots of theaters and restaurants and other attractions nearby. This atmosphere and the baby-powder-blue uniforms can make you complacent as a football player.

    USC, on the other hand, is right in the center of a slum and gang-area, where walking the streets can get you killed and often does. This is why the USC players often have a lot of anger that they take out on the field in their red uniforms.

    The darker blue uniforms and warrior face paint puts the Bruins in a more aggressive mood. It showed on the field.

    For the first time, in a long time, the Bruins on offense and defense clicked and won a game in dominant fashion. They did not have to rely on mistakes by the opponent to score a lot of points. They took the game.

  • jameskatt

    Speaking of uniform colors: the background color of this blog needs to be turned back to the previous dark blue. Baby Blue for years meant wimps. Dark Blue is for men.

  • 9UCLA7

    UCLA #17 in the AP Poll

  • Jay

    Incredibly poor coverage of the game by the LANG. Both SC and UCLA below the fold on the sports section in the Daily Breeze. USC gets 80% of the spread on the Sports section front page and twice as many features as UCLA. And it’s not as if they were expected to win against Oregon. The unexpected outcome was UCLA thrashing UA. Why not better coverage? Three experienced sports writers cover USC. The rookie UCLA coverage was pitiful.

  • psifi

    nice post jack. seriously. keep working, your coming along…

  • EncinitasBruin

    Irrelevant but interesting fact: Oregon’s 54.3 points a game beats the USC 2011-12 basketball team’s 53.3 PPG.

  • Jack Wangs

    I’ll say it again in regards to poor coverage by this blog and this newspaper. I guarantee the blog views have gone down now that Jack has taken over. Keep censoring these comments buddy. Only proves my point

    • EncinitasBruin

      Real Jack: Nice job. We like your work.

      • http://twitter.com/mcdecoste Matthew DeCoste

        He’s been pretty professional so far. Here’s hoping he gets some videos of the press conferences up next time.

  • 9UCLA7

    Does anyone know if the game will be rebroadcasted and on what network?

    • http://twitter.com/mcdecoste Matthew DeCoste

      Pac-12 network replays football games incessantly over the course of the week. Usually in the 60 minute format. Someone out there posted the full game at lower quality.

      • 9UCLA7

        Thanks for the reply, I was hoping it would be rebroadcasted on another network besides the P-12. I’ve also been searching for it online, but no luck yet.