How can you top a 34-point comeback? You really can’t but for my heart’s sake, the Bruins will have learned a lesson from last week’s miraculous comeback.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-0) travel to the Rose Bowl on Saturday to face the UCLA Bruins (1-0). All rational UCLA fans will see that we saw two different UCLA teams on Sunday night.
The Bruins were simply manhandled and abused the entire first half. UCLA was out gained 342 to 151 yards in the first half. They lost four fumbles, rushed for 37 yards compared to A&M’s 286 and found themselves down 38-10. Then both sides of the ball woke up and Josh Rosen threw for 377 yards, four touchdowns and somehow UCLA won.
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch found the sweet spot in the offense, unleashed Rosen’s full potential and abandoned the running game. In the second half UCLA only rushed the ball ten times. This is partially due to score but should UCLA just turn into an air raid offense? The Bruins rushed for 37 yards on 15 attempts. Every third and short felt like a third and long because it was a struggle to rush for positive yards.
Hawaii’s defense has been less than stellar in both of their games thus far. In week one, UMass scored 35 points against the Warriors. I will be shocked if the Bruins can’t rush for 100 yards in the game. If they can’t then it’s time to keep the ball in the Rosen’s hands. I would much rather throw the ball 30 to 40 times with Rosen then risk losing yards to a couple rushes. They can’t completely abandon the running game but it is time to face the fact that the Bruins are horrible at running the ball. Speaking of running the ball, let’s talk about stopping the run.
Hawaii’s offense will challenge the Bruins on the ground because the Aggies gashed the UCLA defense for almost three hundred yards in the first half last week. Running back Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown last week for the Warriors which should give Bruins fans pause.
The defensive line went missing in the first half which lead long A&M runs and many Adarius Pickett tackles. Jaelaen Phillips showed up in the first half but the Bruins need him and the entire defensive line to step up and stop the run.
Hawaii is a good team to see how UCLA will react and adjust to Sunday’s game. Both sides of the ball have to become more consistent to really analyze just how good the Bruins are.
I’ll go with a 31-17 UCLA victory with both sides of the ball showing improvement and good feelings going into next week when have a tricky test at Memphis.