Pasadena, CA – The season-long process for UCLA football is over, and despite the less-than-dazzling 3-9 record, the Bruins have made much progress under first-year head coach Chip Kelly.
A team that was getting blown out left and right to open the season 1-5; finished 2-4 (with the final three games being decided by one score).
Today’s season-finale was a long-winding up-and-down game for the Bruins.
In the four quarters of play they scored six, 14, 16 and six in a 49-42 loss to Stanford (7-4).
K.J. Costello threw five touchdowns and an interception on 23/37 with 344 yards, Bryce Love took 23 carries for 90 yards and a score; and JJ Arcega-Whiteside balled out for seven receptions, 106 yards and three TDs.
Arcega-Whiteside was a nightmare all game for the Bruins and Kelly credits that to more than just him being a “precise route-runner.”
“He’s obviously one of the more talented receivers in this league,” Kelly added. “I think his size is what separates him from some of the other receivers.”
UCLA tried to find answers and was able to do so in limited fashion; including a 93-yard kick return touchdown for Darnay Holmes following a Stanford safety.
But it all came down to two drives for senior quarterback Wilton Speight.
Speight threw for 466 yards, no TDs and an INT on 29/47 (he added a rushing touchdown but had 10 carries for -37 yards).
The 466 yards was a career high, although it didn’t feel too good for him following the loss and the unfortunate finale.
“It wasn’t a heads up play by me,” Speight said on taking a sack on fourth down. “I thought I crossed the line and I was like ‘now I can’t throw it.’ It wasn’t a heads up play by me.”
UCLA finally had some things to look forward to from the young skill players, but going into next season is something that comes later.
The Bruins finish 3-9 and will not be in a bowl game and are in need of talent in certain positions, although Kelly has no input for that other than “we’ll get together and look at what we need.”