Sunday, October 9, 2011
Grades: UCLA 28, Washington St. 25
The 201 yards passing won't blow anybody away, but Kevin Prince's clutch play in relief of injured Richard Brehaut was impressive. Prince had two fourth-quarter touchdown passes when he easily could have gone south after a second-quarter interception brought back memories of his three-interception first quarter against Texas.
It took a while to get going as the Bruins had only seven yards rushing in the first quarter, but Johnathan Franklin started finding holes and broke some big gains. He finished with 110 yards and averaged 9.2 per carry. The team rushing total was 170, which is well below the season average of 199, but Derrick Coleman scored twice from one-yard out -- something he wasn't able to do last week at Stanford.
IN THE TRENCHES
The lines were very good on both sides of the ball. Prince and Brehaut had time to throw and time to get the ball downfield and the running backs regularly had holes to get through. The defensive front had its best game of the season. UCLA had eight tackles for a loss, four by defensive lineman, and both Bruins sacks came from the front four.
This would have been an A if the game were played in the red zone, but the Bruins still bent a little too much between the 20s and still had problems stopping third-down conversions. Still, Andrew Abbott's clutch, game-sealing interception came on third down and the Bruins gave up only one touchdown in five Washington State red zone trips.
Jeff Locke had a bit of an off night punting with a 41.8 yard average, but he put one inside the 20. He also had two kickoffs go for touchbacks. Joe Fauria and Kai Maiava committed costly penalties on special teams plays. Walk-on kicker Tyler Gonzalez was flawless on his two extra-point attempts.
The offensive game plan didn't look too hot when UCLA went three and out on its first two possessions, but the Bruins began to mix things up after that. Credit goes to Rick Neuheisel for having Prince ready when Brehaut went down. The defense made pretty good adjustments to curtail Washington State's passing game and Marshall Lobbestael, who completed 28 of 40 passes, completed only 6 of 11 in the fourth quarter.