About last night: A review of UCLA’s 47-30 loss to Arizona

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate (14) runs for a first down in front of UCLA linebacker Krys Barnes (14) during the first half during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

UCLA knew what it was facing in Khalil Tate. Yet the Bruins didn’t have any answers for the Wildcat quarterback as he piled up 230 rushing yards while leading Arizona to a 47-30 win over UCLA at Arizona Stadium on Saturday.

Jim Mora suffered his first loss to the Wildcats in his UCLA tenure. The defense gave up 605 total yards, the most in a single game since 2014 against Arizona State, and UCLA dropped to 3-3, 1-2 Pac-12 at the halfway point of the season.

Links to recap the loss:

A more in-depth review of the game:

GOODS

  • Running game: With the passing game plagued by drops and interceptions, it was the running game that gave the Bruins even the slightly bit of hope. Of UCLA’s four-running-back rotation, Bolu Olorunfunmi and Jalen Starks were the biggest stars. Starks, who entered the game after Soso Jamabo fumbled in the first quarter, rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown before injuring his ankle. The X-rays were negative, Jim Mora said, so it’s a sprain. Starks was already known as a force in short-yardage situations, but showed some elusiveness in the open field — he jumped over a defender in the second quarter –while getting the most playing time of his career. After Starks got hurt, Olorunfunmi kept things going with a career-high 102 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. The junior had every yard of a three-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter that brought UCLA within 11 after a successful two-point conversion. Olorunfunmi is typically not an improviser when he’s running, but he showed some vision on cut-back moves to find running lanes. It’s a good step forward for his game.
    • One of the most impressive points about the running backs as a whole was the power with which they ran. Starks was bulldozing defenders on the regular before getting hurt. Olorunfunmi used a second and third effort to convert on fourth-and-inches after he was initially stopped behind the line of scrimmage. Even Jamabo, not typically known for his power, plowed through two Arizona defenders to finish off a 9-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
  • DeChaun Holiday’s return: There were very few good things for UCLA, so I thought I might just throw this in here. Holiday was sidelined for nearly six months since his shoulder surgery during spring practice. He didn’t play well Saturday, picking up a face mask penalty on his first defensive drive, but just the fact that he is back is good for the Bruins because it gives them another body at linebacker. He was forced into action after Krys Barnes left the game with what Mora reported was pneumonia.
  • Nothing else: That performance doesn’t deserve a third “good.” It barely deserved the second.

BADS

  • Cut up: UCLA wanted to squeeze the pocket on Tate. That wasn’t enough. Even when the Bruins were able to set the edge and force Tate back inside, that’s when it seemed that he was at his most dangerous. His ability to cut back and reverse the defense was stellar. The Bruins were helpless. They sent extra men into the box and still came up with nothing. J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson were also able to find cut-back lanes regularly as Wilson eclipsed 100 rushing yards (135 yards on 22 carries). It’s the second time this year that the Bruins have allowed two 100-yard rushers in one game (Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford did so in the season opener.)
    • Through six games, UCLA has given up 1,878 rushing yards. The team is on pace for a 12-game total of 3,756 rushing yards allowed, which would not only be a school-record* for futility, but it would set the mark by nearly 1,000 yards. The current worst is 2,793 rushing yards allowed in 2005.
      • *School records only available since 1945
  • Turnovers: It’s been the offense’s Achilles Heel for more than a month now. Three interceptions by Josh Rosen and a fumble from Jamabo led to 10 Arizona points (a 42-yard pick-6 and a field goal), but also robbed the Bruins from a chance at as many as 14 points. Two of Rosen’s interceptions occurred in the red zone (at the Arizona 14- and 11-yard lines). Like it has been in the past, it’s not just the turnovers, but it’s also where they occur and the Bruins seem to be shooting themselves in the foot twice by committing turnovers in especially bad places.
    • Rosen was targeting Jordan Lasley on his first two interceptions, which seems to be a trend. He also threw two interceptions in Lasley’s direction on broken scramble drills this season. Rosen got hit on the first one Saturday, which occurred in the end zone, when Najee Toran got walked straight back into the quarterback. He underthrew the route, but was also late on the delivery, Jedd Fisch said. On the second one, the pick-6, Rosen stared Lasley down the entire way and Jace Whittaker, who was playing zone, read Rosen’s eyes to jump the route.
    • Rosen forced the throw to Darren Andrews on the third interception. With his arm strength, Rosen can sometimes get away with those throws. Saturday was not his day for heroic plays.
  • Drops, drops, drops: Rosen played his worst game of the year. Besides his three interceptions, he also overthrew receivers down field and missed reads. When he did make a good throw, he was also the victim of several drops. Lasley was the main culprit as he continued to show his hot-and-cold tendencies. The junior had at least two drops in the first quarter alone, but also mixed in a 32-yard catch and a 9-yarder that brought the Bruins inside the red zone. The coaching staff values consistency over anything and Lasley has been anything but.
    • Andrews, typically UCLA’s most sure-handed receiver not named Caleb Wilson, also dropped a pass. When that happens, you know it’s not going to be a good day for the Bruins.

GO FIGURE

  • 605 total yards by Arizona, most given up by UCLA since 2014 (Arizona State, 626)
  • 27 yards short of the modern record for rushing yards in a single game against UCLA.
    • Modern record is 484 by Nebraska in 1994. Arizona had 457.
  • 2nd time that Rosen hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in a game (first was Washington State, 2015)
    • 1st game this year that Rosen didn’t throw for 300 yards. He had the nation’s longest active streak for 300-yard passing games at seven.
  • 146 career catches for Andrews, which ties him for sixth in UCLA history with Devin Fuller and Nelson Rosario. J.J. Stokes is fifth with 154 catches.
  • 8.6 yards per carry for UCLA on first down.
  • 5 sacks allowed by UCLA after the Bruins gave up only three in the past three games combined.
  • Minus-10 turnover margin (15 turnovers lost, 5 gained), which is tied with Missouri for 126th in the country. Rice (minus-12) and San Jose State (minus-16) are the only teams with worse turnover margins.

QUOTABLE

“There’s no division on this team. We’ll ride for each till the end of time, so keeping it together is, that’s not even in the question. (We’ll keep) moving forward until the end of our days.”

~Center Scott Quessenberry on keeping the team together after another disappointing loss

PERSONNEL NOTES

  • Jaelan Phillips missed his third straight game with an ankle injury. Breland Brandt (concussion) and Brandon Burton did not make the trip either.
  • Rick Wade and Nate Meadors left the game with undisclosed injuries.
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  • EncinitasBruin

    I am glad to see Kenny Young stepping up and getting vocal as a senior leader on this team. There’s no excuse for how poorly our D played against AZ, and I like the way he is challenging his teammates on both sides of the ball to step it up.

    • jameskatt

      Every UCLA player needs to drink 24 ounces of black ICED coffee before every game to improve their ability to function. UCLA is too often asleep on the wheel before starting games.

      • Coach Thom

        As far as Kenny’s performance goes, he should be the last player to point a finger at his teammates. On several instances he was snail-like in reacting to Husky runners blowing past him. His pursuit was nonexistent. All in all, I’ve never seen a D1 defense play so appallingly as our D did in this game. And that was just the highlights.

  • jameskatt

    Myles Jack or Takkarist McKinley would have tackled Tate on every play – many for a loss. We just don’t have the talent like we use to have on Defense.
    Tackling and knowing the angles to catch runners were atrocious by current UCLA players.

    • Coach Thom

      By the time a ‘gifted’ player reaches D1, he should know about pursuit angles, wrapping up, leverage, avoiding penalties, tackling mechanics, etc. That allows the coaches to concentrate on schemes, rather than being forced to teach fundamentals. That goes for offence and special teams as well. Our problem seems to be in recruitment, not in coaching.

  • Daniel flores

    This team is not being coached up. There needs to be a change asap

    • Paul

      It’s painfully obvious that Mora has been checked out for a while.

  • keptycho

    Clearly, AZ players wanted the game more than ours. Khalil was successful not only because of his talents but his intensity. That is contagious to the rest of their team. Our team was not as committed to playing their best and that is mostly on the coaches. It is their job to motivate the players up to their best. They have failed in that regard. It seems there is a disconnect between players and coaches. That points directly to Mora. He has had more than enough time at the helm. It is time for a change.

  • Michael Morgan

    The defense wasn’t very good last season (check the stats), mediocre, at best. They didn’t really stop the run then with 2 NFL defensive linemen. Leadership isn’t, “Come on guys! I’m doing my 1/11 th. Y’all need to do yours.” Leadership is keeping those type comments out of the newspaper and working for change in house.

    Turnovers and the lack of turnover production has been very detrimental to the cause this fall. That should be a major area of emphasis going forward.

    Mora isn’t acting like the same guy who took over the program. That’s both a positive and a negative. A positive in that, the fake tough guy who is always in a bad mood, is gone. A negative in that he shows very little passion. He now seems at peace in the middle of the storm. The only problem with that scenario is that the boat is taking water.

    • Sean Zavala

      Your Wright,
      In interviews he’s acting easy,smiling.
      Do you think Mora should give that extention back like the oregon State coach did.
      Do you think Mora would change his attitude giving the extention Back….
      Of course he would
      Dan Guerrero messed up just like the Nebraska AD DID ….

  • Richard

    Is this D really as slow as it looked on Sat ? !!!!

    We set the edge for the most part but they ran up the middle w/ multiple guys missing tackles and/or being out run by the ball carrier, every time.

    What to do, for Rosen ? Seems every time he gets the ball we are playing from behind and he has to score a TD….just to keep pace.
    A recipe for TOs.

    Used to worry about a bad OL, passive RBs & more drops than receptions by receivers. All that pales compared to having the WOAT (Worst of all Time) D in the history of CFB.
    IM (always humble) O, it’s more about the lack of talent on D than the coaches. “Ain’t about the Xs and Os, it’s all about the Johnnies and Joe’s ? !!!!

  • Sean Zavala

    Gene block can’t hire athletic director’s
    Dan guerrero can’t hire Head football coaches
    Jim mora can’t hire assistant coaches
    What’s next