Saturday, September 15, 2012
Grades: UCLA 37, Houston 6
By Peter Yoon
PASADENA, Calif. -- The No. 22 UCLA Bruins weren't at their peak form, but were good enough to hold off the struggling Houston Cougars, 37-6, Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. Here's how we have them grading out:
The passing game had its moments but seemed a bit out of sync most of the game. Brett Hundley completed 27 of 42 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions but didn't see open receivers several times. Pass protection had some breakdowns and rceivers Devin Lucien and Joseph Fauria each fumbled after catches.
It certainly wasn't up to the standards of the first two games, which is a surprise coming against a defense that came in to the game ranked No. 111 in the nation against the run. Still, Heisman contender Johnathan Franklin had 110 yards in 25 carries and the Bruins rushed for 247 yards.
The Bruins absolutely baffled one of the nation's leading passing offenses, holding quarterback David Piland to 260 yards and also pulling down five interceptions. Sheldon Price had three of those interceptions, including one in the end zone. Piland was averaging 395.5 yards passing before this game and had only one pass intercepted in 121 attempts.
Granted, Houston doesn't really run the ball that much, but the Bruins had their best game of the season up front. They held Houston to 139 yards rushing and that total was in the negative numbers until early in the fourth quarter. Not bad for a UCLA defense that was ranked No. 100 in the nation against the run before the game.
Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn overcame a shaky early season and made field goals of 35, 23 and 33 yards. Jeff Locke was up to his usual standards with four of five punts inside the 20, including two inside the 10. Damien Thigpen had a 55-yard kickoff return to open the second half and set up a UCLA touchdown.
Excellent game plan on defense for the most complete game of the season on that side of the ball. Noel Mazzone's offensive play calling certainly did enough to get the job done. Still, the team appeared to be having somewhat of a letdown game, especially after a quick score made it seem as if it would be an easy victory.