UCLA Football Game Preview: Colorado Buffaloes



Colorado Buffaloes, Folsom Field, Boulder, CO –  Saturday, September 29, 3;00 p.m, Pac-12 Networks

LINE: UCLA by 20

The best way to describe UCLA’s football team this week is this:

Now that any hopes of an undefeated season – or at least being undefeated when USC came to the Rose Bowl on November 17th – were dashed by Oregon State, this upcoming road game will show how these Bruins respond to adversity.  

Sept. 22, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins safety Tevin McDonald (7) and cornerback Randall Goforth (3) celebrate a fumble recovery in the third quarter of the game against the Oregon State Beavers at the Rose Bowl. Oregon State won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Up until this past Sunday morning, I thought that this upcoming contest against these Buffs was going to be arguably the easiest game on UCLA’s schedule, a game that is as close to a “Gimme” as they would have.

After all, this was a team that not only lost to FCS Sacramento State at home, they had Fresno State score 35 points on them the following week – in the first quarter!

Indeed, I felt that a win over Colorado was more or less guaranteed as they have been the sad sacks of the Pac-12 Conference so far this year.

Until the last half of the fourth quarter during their most recent game, against Washington State in Pullman when they staged an epic comback and stunned the Cougars 35-34, earning their first win of the season after three defeats and gaining some desperately-needed momentum.

Which is what Colorado has as Jim Mora’s team goes to Folsom Field in Boulder lacking that same momentum, thanks to Oregon State and the fact that UCLA’s problem with penalties is now in crisis mode.

With the Bruins amassing 351 penalty yards after four games, averaging a whopping 117 yards in yellow flags per contest, (which I’m positive leads all BCS schools) I think it’s fair to say that it’s a crisis.

Add to that the fact that they are coming off a loss and will try to right the ship on the road against what I’m sure will be a Buffalo team and fan base that will be pumped; even though UCLA is a solid favorite and on paper has the better talent, I would be lying if I said that this game didn’t have me at least a little worried.

Jordan Webb is the Colorado quarterback who, like the rest of his team, is riding an upward swing right now as his 345 yards passing against Washington State is a season high, showing that he IS capable of slinging the ball, while Christian Powell is the main running back as a true freshman. Nelson Spruce’s 21 catches, including 8 for 103 yards and a touchdown in Pullman, leads the team there.

Meanwhile,  the Bruins’ Johnathan Franklin will be attempting to greatly improve on his 45-yard performance from his last outing, and Brett Hundley, although he has thrown for nearly 1200 yards to this point – outstanding for a redshirt freshman – and his nine touchdown passes has him at a pace for 27, will try and do better as far as not overthrowing his receivers.

Shaquelle Evans was a bright spot for UCLA last week with his 65-yard TD catch and his grab earlier in the Oregon State game when he beat two defenders on another long pass, but the key to the Bruins righting the ship will be in both interior lines.

If UCLA does a better job at protecting Hundley and – unlike last week – opening up holes for Franklin as well as Damien Thigpen and Jordon James, as well as put massive pressure on the Buffaloes’ Webb, the Bruins will be successful in taking out the Colorado crowd and getting their fourth win.

Provided that they do one very important thing:


That means that Sheldon Price and his defensive secondary buddies cannot commit pass interference, and Joseph Fauria cannot commit false starts like he did to kill a drive last week.

In fact, no Bruin can make mistakes like that and expect to beat a game Buffalo team; I don’t care what their record is!

Or that they lost to Sacramento State.

Or that Fresno State scored 35 points on them in one quarter.

Or that UCLA is favored to win by 20 points.

Because the alternative would be – well, I don’t even want to think about it!