After a disappointing showing at home against Oregon State, the Bruins got back to work on Saturday. And they proved they were better than that in Colorado with an absolute pounding of the Buffs.
Factoring out sacks, the UCLA offense averaged about seven yards per rush and seven yards per pass.The Bruins offense converted nearly half their third downs after being so bad at converting them in their first four games.
Brett Hundley bounced back from a fumble on his first drive with three completions on three attempts for 22 yards and two rushes for 21 yards and a score to give UCLA a 7-0 lead. Two drives later, it was Hundley going five for six for 63 yards, finishing up with a connection to tight end Darius Bell. Hundley would direct another quick drive that gave UCLA a 21-7 lead at halftime.
The Bruins defense took over from there. Colorado managed 41 total yards over eight of the nine first drives. They went three-and-out on seven of those first drives. Then they forced a few turnovers at the end of the third that sealed the game.
UCLA did exactly what they needed to do in Boulder: Take care of a Buffs squad they're clearly better than at almost every position. Now comes the Pac-12 grind, where they'll learn if they're able to handle the relative ease of their schedule compared to other conference foes.
Will they step up?
SB Nation snippets
IE Angel of Bruins Nation talks about the "eye test", and whether UCLA has leaders.
Brett Hundley has been better than even the most optimistic Bruin fan could have imagined so far this season. He's 18th in the nation in passing yards per game with 294 yards per game. He's thrown 11 TDs to just 3 interceptions and has scored 4 more times on the ground. The numbers speak for themselves and he is contending for an All Pac-12 first team spot at the point in the year.
Anthony Barr and Damien Holmes need to be shouted out on the defensive side of the ball. Barr was a constant presence in the backfield and in the running game. He is developing into one of the best defenders in the conference. Has unreal closing speed on the edge and is making strides in run defense. Bright future if he keeps working as hard as he has been.
Penalties: Man, when is this going to stop? Early, in the game we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with one bad mistake after another. Heading into the game UCLA was one of the worst teams in the NCAA in terms of most penalties per game (averaging 8.5 penalties per game for 87.75 yards). Things didn't get any better against Colorado as the Bruins committed 7 penalties for 69 yards. They were not just being committed by freshman in the OL, they were also coming from seniors like Jeff Baca. Really frustrating. Coach Mora once again in his immediate post game comment talked about the need for things to be "cleaned" up a phrase he has been using a lot seemingly after every game this season. He is running out of time because sooner or later this issue is going to cost us in a big way. This is kind of a surprise because heading into this year we heard a lot of about being disciplined and playing smart football were supposed to be big parts of culture change. That hasn't happened yet