Pasadena, CA – How much does finishing a season 8-4 mean to a college football team?
UCLA may not be going to a fancy bowl game. But with how frustrating their last three seasons have been, 8-4 means so much for this program.
They had that chance to finish with that record needing to take care of Cal. Not only did they control every aspect of the game, but they had fun doing so in their 42-14 win that sealed their regular season on a tremendous high note.
“I think our kids have done a really nice job,” Bruins head coach Chip Kelly said. “We talked about it in November – you have to practice well and these guys have really practiced well. You have to pay attention to detail. Proud of the effort they’ve put in all season long. Navigated a few injuries early, but
came out of it and affirmed – what they did today against that team, that team had over 600 yards of offense last week against Stanford. It was a challenge for our defense all week long, I thought our defense played outstanding today.”
Things were a bit sour for UCLA to start their game off. Cal took advantage of a kickoff return blunder in the second quarter as Kazmier Allen muffs the catch and had Cal recover. The Bears end up scoring six plays later, knocking down a quick 14 unanswered points.
Since that score, the Bruins end up with unanswered on their own. In the process, UCLA’s defense were hungry for as many stops as they could collect, allowing just 66 yards in the second half. The offense wanted to return the favor, and they had done so with the passing and rushing game taking off at will.
“On the defensive side, we’ve had a lot of momentum in the month of November,” UCLA cornerback Quentin Lake said. “We had a big shutout in the second half against Colorado, came out and had multiple turnovers and successful drives against USC, and then tonight held Cal, who [had] 600 total
yards of offense last week against Stanford. We just kept the ball rolling, just locking in on every play, running to the ball, all the fundamentals. I think when you lock in on the defensive fundamentals on the defensive side, you can do your job, you’ll have shutout games or low-scoring games.”
In the end, Dorian Thompson Robinson finished 19 for 28 with three total touchdowns in the air. Zach Charbonnet and Kazmir Allen added for the bulk of rushing game with a touchdown each on the ground. Thomspon Robinson also managed over 100 yards rushing for the night.
“I think focus, playing each play as its own individual play and not trying to focus on the end result which is obviously scoring or getting a 3-and-out on defense,” Thompson Robinson said. “When you focus on each individual play, you can consistently be locked in.”
Over the first three seasons under Chip Kelly, the Bruins were always on the short end in many contests. Last season had some hope an in each loss they ended up in the losing side of tight games. While most of the Bruins team returned for some unfinished business, experience was practically all what UCLA to flip the season to their liking.
Their offensive dominance was in full force all season. Thompson Robinson became the sixth bruin to finish a season with over 3000 total offensive yards. Charbonnet also leads the Pac-12 with seven 100 yard rushing games, including tonight. The Michigan transfer wanted more touches to prove its
dominance, and the response was welcomed with open arms.
Their season at the end means so much for this Bruins program. Their last game, unlike the last three seasons, will extend through December and will await the decision from the bowl committee where they will end up.