Los Angeles, CA – While UCLA made a furious comeback against Colorado, trailing by as many as 28 and eventually cutting the lead to six, it was two costly turnovers early in the game that proved to be the difference maker in a 48-42 loss to the Buffaloes.
“I think we put our defense in very bad situations,” Bruins head coach Chip Kelly said. “We dug ourselves into a very big hole early in the first half. There was some good things we did in the game, but we cannot put ourselves in early deficits.”
Colorado forced four Bruin turnovers in the first half, but it was the first two that set the tone for UCLA to dig themselves into a hole the entire game. After a UCLA defensive stop to start the game, Colorado punts the ball and recovers a fumble by Kyle Phillips. Alec Pell recovers at the UCLA 25 yard line, setting up Jarek Broussard touchdown run into the end zone four plays later. On the ensuing drive for UCLA Carson Wells picks off a pass in the Colorado red zone, returning it one yard shy of the goal line. Broussard gets in one play later.
By then UCLA was playing catchup the rest of the game and eventually figured things out. Erasing all the mishaps, Dorian Thompson Robinson and Demetric Felton eventually found their rhythm. Down 35-7 at one point, Thompson Robinson used his arm and his legs to run his Bruins back to within two scores. After another Bruin stop, Thompson Robinson again strikes into the endzone, finding Keegan Jones on his first catch of the night. Cutting the lead to seven, both teams ended up trading scores, with the Bruins unable to match Colorado’s offense the rest of the way.
“I think this is one game, but we just cannot turn the ball over too many times like we did tonight,” Kelly said. “We need to do a better job coaching and protecting the football.”
Both Thompson-Robinson and Dimitric Felton had solid games after their first half jitters. Thompson Robinson finished 20-for-40 with 300 yards and five total touchdowns. Felton nearly had 100 all purpose yards with two total touchdowns. Four different receivers ended up with a touchdown, with tight end Greg Dulcich leading the way with 126 total yards. But it was the Colorado offense, even with the inexperience, that gave the Bruins plenty of headaches. Broussard on the ground had 31 total carries clocking with 187 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Sam Noyer, with very little college football experience, threw for 257 yards and one touchdown.
“It was the same offense and same defense they ran the entire game,” Kelly said. “Eventually when they were up the way they were, they ended up running the football a lot more, which is why they were able to pile up rushing yards. Because of that, it put our defense in a bad position when the score came out of hand because of mishandling the football.”
With already a short season, UCLA’s football schedule can go either way. The Bruins’s home opener against Utah is currently up in the air with a potential COVID-19 outbreak with the Utes program. This could mean an unexpected bye is in order. However, in two weeks they take off for Eugene to face Oregon.