Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Instant analysis: UCLA 30, Temple 21
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
UCLA, awful in the first half, scored 23 consecutive points to beat a game Temple squad 30-21 on a chilly night in Washington D.C.
Pac-10 improved to 2-2 during the bowl season.
How the game was won: Not to discount an inspired effort from Temple, but the Bruins, who were down 21-7 before tacking on a field goal just before halftime, won because they turned up their intensity in the second half on both sides of the ball. Also, from the Owls perspective, the UCLA cause got a boost when Temple lost leading rusher Bernard Pierce to injury in the second quarter.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince led his team back from a 21-7 deficit.
Turning point: After UCLA closed the gap to 21-17 to open the third quarter, Temple drove to the Bruins 10-yard line. On third-and-2, Matt Brown appeared to dive for the first down. But the spot, which was upheld upon review, marked him inches short. On fourth down, the Owls tried to run up the middle and the Bruins stopped Brown cold. From that point on, little went right for Temple, while UCLA took control.
Stat of the game: 41 and zero. That's how many yards and points Temple had in the second half after they gained 241 yards and scored 21 in the first half.
Player of the game: UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince didn't have a great game. He missed open receivers a number of times and tossed an interception. But he was much better while leading the second-half comeback, completing 9 of 15 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown after the break. He also ran for a key first down in the fourth quarter while the Bruins were trying to run out the clock -- the bad news being he appeared to re-injured the shoulder he hurt in the season-finale vs. USC.
Unsung hero of the game: Despite tough conditions, UCLA kicker Kai Forbath connected on field goals of 40 and 42 yards. He's now made 37 in a row from inside 50 yards.
What it means: After going 4-8 in Rick Neuheisel's first year, the Bruins improved to 7-6 and won a bowl game in year two. While it wasn't a distinguished performance, a bowl win is a bowl win, and it sends the Bruins into the offseason on a positive note, which is encouraging for a team expected to take another step forward in 2010