If I had told you that the UCLA Bruins’ offense was only going to score one touchdown in their opening game against Virginia, you would probably have been very pessimistic about their chances to win. But man, who needs offense when you have a defense that can score three touchdowns, in one quarter?
Yep, UCLA’s defense scored three defensive touchdowns in the second quarter alone to take a 21-10 lead into halftime. The last team to score three defensive touchdowns in one quarter was East Carolina in the fourth quarter of a 2009 against Tulsa.
The first score happened at the start of the second quarter when stand-out defensive lineman, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, tipped a pass to dynamic cornerback Ishmael Adams; who intercepted it and ran it back for a touchdown with 13:35 left.
The second touchdown was a ‘scoop and score’ from Randall Goforth–another one of UCLA’s dynamic defensive backs–who ran back the fumble 75 yards completely untouched.
On the Bruins’ third defensive score in the second quarter, linebacker Eric Kendricks intercepted a tipped pass and ran it back 37 yards into the endzone.
As great as their defense played, it was the Bruins’ offense that really held them back. The Virginia Cavaliers led UCLA in time of possession 34:30 to 25:30, passing yards 266 to 242, and rushing yards 120 to 116. Despite winning the turnover battle, the Bruins made a lot of mental errors by committing 12 penalties compared to the Cavaliers’ four.
The Bruins’ offense did finally come to life in the 3rd quarter with a 9-play drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brett Hundley.
So the question is should UCLA be worried?
This was just a case of opening-game jitters, in my opinion. Now the Bruins have two games coming up to settle down and to clean up their mistakes before they start off conference play against the 19th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Bruins just have to be honest with themselves, own up to their mistakes, clean them up, and remember why they received so much off-season hype. If they can do that, they will still be in the conversation for the new championship playoff at the end of the season.