UCLA’s 56-35 loss at Stanford last night exposed even more of the Bruins’ flaws. The game story is here, and below are some more thoughts on what happened at Stanford Stadium.
1. Was this UCLA’s worst loss under Jim Mora? The game ended less than 24 hours ago, so there’s certainly some temporal bias to account for here. Still, I don’t remember seeing an uglier outing by these Bruins.
The 49-26 loss to Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl would be at the top of the conversation, but that — like losses to then-unranked Oregon State and Cal the same year — can be chalked up in part to first-season growing pains. Back-to-back losses to Stanford and Oregon in 2013 were thought of as part of UCLA’s developmental process.
But Thursday night? That felt more damning, another brick in the wall keeping the Bruins on the side of “good” rather than “great” — the side of nine-win seasons rather than playoff berths. UCLA’s eight-game losing streak to the Cardinal is now its longest to any opponent, surpassing the Bruins’ seven straight losses to USC from
1997 1999-2005. Losing 31-10 at the Rose Bowl last year, when Stanford had a down season, stands as a major missed opportunity to get over the hump.
2. Can the defense be repaired? Errors by the offense (Josh Rosen’s pick six) and special teams (Christian McCaffrey’s 96-yard return) dug UCLA into an early hole, but what truly did the Bruins in was their porous defense. Continue reading