PASADENA, Calif. — Christopher Brown Jr. showed UCLA that he could run it, as he carried the ball for 111 yards and two touchdowns for the California Golden Bears in a 28-18 victory over the UCLA Bruins Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
If it was Chip Kelly’s last game as head coach at UCLA, he was going to call plays his way. Do not think for a second that he would really go out in an ordinary fashion. His Bruins would run tempo on offense and go for it on fourth downs.
At the end of the night, the result was the same as it has been for the majority of Kelly’s tenure in Westwood, which showed the Bruins with fewer points on the scoreboard than their opponents. The Bruins finish the season with a four wins to eight losses, which is actually an improvement Kelly’s Bruins’ three wins last season.
“I think this team is growing,” said Kelly. “I’ve watched how these guys have responded to everything that they have faced during the season. We knew going in, the challenges that we had, we were a young team and guys were going to have to get experience on the run… There are some young guys here where we are really excited about what their future is.”
Rumors have been circulating about Kelly leaving the program in recent weeks.
“I don’t know where they came from and I have not had any discussions with anybody,” said Kelly. “My commitment level is the same since I’ve been here, it’s been 100 percent. We go to work every day and give everything we have to this program.”
The Bruins had a chance to end the season with a win but the defensive unit could not get stops when it needed to. The Bears averaged 80 yards on their four scoring drives.
The 10-yard touchdown run by Brown on the first play of the final stanza for the Bears to put them up 28-18 for the final score and made it the twelfth consecutive fourth quarter in which the Bruins have given up a touchdown – every game this season. From an X’s and O’s standpoint it would seem that defense would be what the Bruins need to prioritize.
“You’ve got to look at everything that goes on,” said Kelly. “We’ll always assess everything after the season, scheme and personnel and everything. We will look at everything and we’re always trying to improve and try to make ourselves better.”
An announced attendance of 38,102 in the Rose Bowl saw UCLA quarterback find tight end Devin Asiasi, who had game highs of 8 receptions and 99 yards, on first play of the game for 22 yards. That opening drive would stall but the Bruin’s defense would hold Cal to a three and out on its first possession.
A 19-yard catch by Jaylen Erwin to close the Bruins next drive saw the home team on the scoreboard first with a 7-0 lead. It was Erwin’s second touchdown of the season. Things certainly looked promising in the beginning for the Bruins.
Another highlight for the Bruins was senior running back Joshua Kelley eclipsing the 1000-yard rushing mark back-to-back seasons. He is just the eighth Bruin all-time to accomplish that feat.
“It feels pretty cool because there have been so many incredible running backs here – Coach [Deshaun] Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew, just so many incredible backs here,” said Kelley. “I know I didn’t win as much as those guys, and that’s something I really wish I could do. I think it’s pretty cool that someday I’ll see my name listed with some of those guys.”
Kelley feels the Bruins have many playmakers and it is going to be special for the young players in the upcoming seasons. Only time will tell.