Grades: Oregon State 27, UCLA 20
September, 22, 2012
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
PASADENA, Calif. -- The No. 19 UCLA Bruins had their three-game win streak come to an end with a 27-20 loss to the Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-12 Conference opener Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Here is how we have them grading out:
Quarterback Brett Hundley looked shaky at times but very good at others and finished with a career-high 372 yards on 26-of-41 passing. Shaquelle Evans established himself as the big-play, go-to guy with six catches for 148 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown. But the receivers dropped too many catchable balls.
The Bruins entered the game No. 5 in the nation in rushing, averaging 311 yards per game on the ground, but couldn't get anything going against the Beavers. Johnathan Franklin, leading the nation with a 180-yard average through three weeks, had only 45 yards in 12 carries and UCLA ended up with a season-low 72 yards on the ground.
UCLA started in zone, but quarterback Sean Mannion easily picked it apart. When the Bruins switched to man, they had difficulties with the speed of Oregon State receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. The second half was better, but Mannion finished with 379 yards passing, and Wheaton and Cooks combined for 325 yards receiving.
UCLA's front seven did a solid job of controlling the gaps and the line of scrimmage and limited the Beavers to 122 yards rushing. A few missed tackles led to long gains and Oregon State did some damage with receiver sweeps, but it was a season low in rushing yards against the Bruins.
Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn made field goals of 22 and 35 yards, but his miss from 42 yards with 7:37 to play effectively ended UCLA's hopes of a comeback. Punter Jeff Locke had another excellent game with four punts inside the 15-yard line. But the Bruins were unable to muster anything in the return game and used a timeout after lining up in a fake field goal formation.
Maybe it was coachspeak, but Jim Mora expressed concern all week about Oregon State's run game, only to see his team get burned by the pass. The Bruins looked like a team that had bought into the recent buzz it had created and it was on the coaching staff to keep the team grounded. Still, this type of performance in the past would have resulted in a blowout and, to their credit, this Bruins team never gave up.